What can Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen teach us about leadership and life?
They are both highly skilled and competent at their craft. Until November 2009 Tiger Woods epitomized impeccable discipline, honor and integrity, and unquestionable dedication to excellence. Thanksgiving night his life and reputation came crashing down literally and figuratively. He admitted his transgressions, promised to do and be better. Eighteen months later he is still trying to find his game in golf and life and redeem his name and openly admits it’s an ongoing process.
Charlie Sheen, in contrast wears his dysfunction with pride, loudly proclaims his narcissistic superiority and continues his self destructive path. Sheen and Woods are two people with very similar downfalls that resulted in massive negative publicity and exposure of human frailties. Yet, their responses are very different.
We all have a dark side. Owning and embracing our dark side and resultant wounds can be the very path to our unique brilliance! There is no doubt our failures are our biggest teachers if we will heed and read the lessons.
Post-its were discovered by a mistake in trying to make another adhesive. Steve Jobs relates how his incredible painful split with Bill Gates was the very event and catalyst that led him to his deepest passion – and made him pretty wealthy to boot!
You get the point …what seems like our worst or darkest night can lead to a great light — even to transformation that reshapes our entire perspective on life and can be a blessing in disguise. The phrase ‘make your mess your message’ is often true — our wounds, pains and challenges can and often do develop new strengths and deeper resilience that would be missing from our life without these events.
So when you fail or encounter one of those dark nights or winter seasons consider these three touchstones as points of potential light:
It’s Always Darkest before the Dawn
Trust there’s a lesson on the other side and find comfort in knowing there are lots of footprints to follow or provide light on the path to success. Winston Churchill said ‘the problem with experience is it can be wasted on a person’. Your life is speaking – listen!
Listen to Yourself
Go within and allow your inner guidance to guide. Your deepest and best answers are inside YOU – not some counsel, article or book ‘out there’. If you can quiet the noise in your head – you might hear the lesson of your heart. The longest trip we ever take is from head to heart and it makes all the difference!
It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek support and guidance. Allow others to help and support you in your journey. This is often the biggest void in people’s lives. They think they have to go it alone and admitting they don’t have the answer will permanently mar their reputation. Let people care for you. It is very likely they have wounds that shaped their life in brilliant ways.
Relax and join the human race — even people with massive wealth and fame aren’t immune from the “F” word. Only when we own our darkness can we truly embrace and trust our brilliance. So get over yourself and your failure and allow your brilliance to shine through!