Leadership

3 mindset shifts for frustrated, overwhelmed new leaders

Elle Kaplan
Caiaimage/Sam Edwards | Caiaimage | Getty Images

Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Good. That means there's probably change occurring in your life and there's a good chance you're changing with it. Often during challenging times we do the most learning and growing. 

There's no shortcut to success. There is no cheat sheet, no springboard allowing you to dive straight into your completed goals. If there were, it probably wouldn't be ethical, and wouldn't feel satisfying in the long term. As the old saying goes, the ends don't always justify the means.

That said, it's easy to get impatient with yourself and forget that change is difficult. In tough moments, consider that every great leader and innovator felt the same doubt and impatience you are feeling. The key is learning how to cope when those feelings arise so you can move forward.

Here are three ways to change your mindset and when things get tough.

What you're feeling: Alone and isolated

Your action plan: Seek gratitude

It's easy for leaders to feel isolated. But remember: No one ever achieved greatness alone. Consider the employees, colleagues, clients, and customers who help you every day and who helped get you where you are. Take a moment to be thankful for everyone who supports your mission.

Let the thought of the people you've invested in refocus you. In Simon Sinek's TED Talk on "Start with Why" in 2009, one of the most popular TED Talks of all time, he says, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it." Remind yourself why those around you believe in you and your mission. Find a way to tap into why you and your team are all working so hard. Understanding the 'why' can help you worry about what's most important and more easily forget other distractions stealing your attention.

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What you're feeling: Overwhelmed

Your action plan: Find small wins

Set smaller milestones for your biggest goals. This keeps your eye on your target while giving you a sense of accomplishment as you move forward. For example, if you're reworking your business plan and are daunted by the entire task, set aside 30 minutes every day to work only on that plan and nothing else. You will ensure that your plan is always in motion and you won't feel overwhelmed.

Take some time to reflect at the end of each day or each week. Think back to what you accomplished and ask yourself what you learned. How can you act on what you learned this past week to move forward toward your goals? Don't forget to celebrate these smaller wins because they will carry you forward.

What you're feeling: Imperfect and off-track

Your action plan: Forget perfect

You may believe, without even being aware of it, that the path to success has only one track or one satisfactory result. This is a recipe for failure. While you can control your drive and your focus, the world around you is unpredictable and has other plans.

Be flexible in how you define success for yourself to focus on things you can control. Find pride not just in the things you've accomplished but in the ways you reacted to changing situations. Place some trust in yourself and your work. Remind yourself that if you work hard and keep learning, great things will happen – sometimes things you couldn't even have imagined.

Elle Kaplan is the founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City, serving high-net-worth individuals. She is also the chief investment officer and founder of LexION Alpha.

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