Since the start of my career, I have always had small physical symbols that helped me remember various things. Honestly, for a very long time, I pretended that I didn’t do this.  However, as I’ve witnessed this technique help others and acknowledge the difference that it has made for me, I’m now encouraging leaders to have symbols.

My symbols change over the years but there are a few key ones that made quite a difference:

  • An appreciation card given by a conference attendee: I hold this card when I want to remind myself to be vulnerable.
  • A rock with the word laugh inscribed on it given by a team member as a goodbye gift:  I hold this when I want to remember that bad times are temporary.
  • A flower card note of encouragement from my team: I hold this when I need to remember that leadership may be lonely but not invisible.
  • A small note with just “motto” written on it by a team member:  I look at this when I needed to remind myself that some people suck but I can take the high road.

These are all small and I can easily carry these with me or keep them on my desk.  Self talk can get anyone but these little symbols can help quickly get me back to where I need to be in order to keep moving forward.

Do you have a symbol to help you? Should you?

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