Byron's Babbles

Getting Untwisted

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Self Awareness, Twister by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on February 27, 2022

This past week in a leadership development gathering I was reminded of a game that I had not heard mentioned or thought about for years – Twister. If your not familiar with this game that came out when I was three years old, basically you give a spinner a whirl and then have to put your hands and feet on different colored circles on a mat. Oh, and did I mention, there are multiple players on the same mat. The person who can keep from falling wins. It’s quite a contortionist game. Anyway, during a discussion of whether leading was like chess or checkers, one participant said, “Actually, a lot of days it’s like Twister.” Let the discussion begin!!!

You know I couldn’t leave that alone. I asked the participant to dig a little deeper. She explained how chaotic the game was, just like our lives at times (okay, all the time). Also, the game is a physical illustration of how we encounter twists and turns in life. Every day as leaders we are asked to make moves that are uncomfortable and many times it is hard to keep our balance (there’s a play on words). Because we were talking about focusing on self this really was a great metaphor. Think about all the thoughts that represent the spins: doubts, fears, struggles, insecurities, home vs work, and on and on. Then throw in the moves others are asking you to make. It can be overwhelming.

Much of this Twister deal we bring upon ourselves; or at least let be brought upon us. So, how do we get untwisted? This is where the focusing on self comes in. I’m a big believer in positive self talk. We need to show ourselves the grace and compassion we show others. Sharpening our skills for well-being is something focused leaders do. Also, we must not let others spin the dial. I am reminded of something I wrote in Don’t Join The Circus: “How many leaders have we seen lately that bend over backwards and in odd ways trying to be everything to everyone?” We can’t be effective if we are all twisted up. So let’s work on focusing on taking care of ourselves and making moves that make a difference for others, not just get us all twisted up.