Moving toward more grounded leadership

Contented: satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.


Part of being grounded is knowing that I have what I need at this moment, and when challenges or opportunities arise, I can meet them with confidence.

Another word for that is contentment.

When I live from a place of contentment, it’s harder for people to pull my chain; knowing that I have what I need (in terms of talent, money, time, etc.) keeps me moving forward even when I’m facing a difficult challenge or when I’m stepping out into the unknown. It might look like confidence, focus, or unflappability from the outside, but what I see on the inside is it takes lots of practice to create and maintain.

When I talk to clients about fostering contentment (through gratitude journaling, seeing the world as working for them rather than happening to them, and letting go of judgments about particular outcomes), they can get uncomfortable. They start to worry that I’m taking away their drive.

“Part of the fire in my belly is my need to prove to everyone that I’m good enough; I’m better coming from an underdog position – it keeps me motivated!”

Don’t confuse contentment with complacency!

Living from a place of satisfaction with my situation does not mean I don’t have a fire in my belly! I can still have goals or visions of more impact and achievement.

But living from contentment means I’m more likely to be motivated by my goals. When I had a chip on my shoulder, I often worked on something to prove that I could do it, or to earn a favorable comparison to someone else. Those endeavors frequently exhausted me. But when I’m acting from contentment, I’m more likely to choose challenges that align with my deepest desires – and I’m way less likely to get burned out or violate my own healthy boundaries while pursuing them.

What if, just for this week, you looked for all the ways things are working out for you? Write them down on a notecard or post-it as you notice them. Then, at the end of each day, re-read the list. Notice the gratitude that is created from that list!

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