The picture above is a word cloud of my clients’ and colleagues’ responses to this question: “What’s the first thing you think of when you think of me?” 



I have it on my wall in my office and I get to see it every day. When I’m having a tough day, just a glance can really lift me. And it’s not just because of the words I see on the page. It’s also because I know that those words have come from people who have experienced what it’s like to be around me when I’m at my best.



“What’s the first thing you think of when you think of me?” is one of the five questions in my Superpowers exercise. It’s a core part of the Change Makers curriculum and I reckon it should be a core part of any leader’s practice. It’s well worth doing for yourself sometime. 



We all need reminders of our brilliance. In cultures obsessed with not enough and where problems are allowed to overwhelm possibilities, we can lose our essence, both individually and collectively. When we operate from what makes us awesome, the world opens up. 



As the leading social psychologist Barbara Frederickson says, “positivity doesn’t just change the contents of your mind…It widens the span of possibilities that you see.”



Focusing on your brilliance pays off in organisational life just as much as in your personal life. Last week I facilitated a session with the executive leadership team of one of New Zealand’s highest-profile public sector agencies. For the past 18 months, in the midst of them navigating some of the gnarliest challenges the country has faced in recent times, we’ve met every quarter to invest time in growing the health of the team. First, they focus on what they’ve achieved, and what they’ve learned from how they worked together to achieve it. Then they turn their minds to present and future challenges, and explore how they can apply their collective brilliance to what’s in front of them. It’s inspiring to watch. They are one of the most effective leadership teams I know.



It starts with deciding to own your brilliance. You’re more than enough. Know that, and own it.





Like this post? When you’re ready, here are three ways I can help you further:

  • Sign up to my ‘Thinking from the Edge’ newsletter to get tips, insights and early release information that I don’t share on the usual social channels. Delivered weekly to your inbox.
  • Get my book, Change Makers: How to make your mark with more impact and less drama. It’s available here.
  • Check out the Change Makers Programme – a programme + a community to help you make your mark with more impact and less drama.