Are You the Candle or the Mirror?

CandleorMirror-EdithWharton400x246There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.“–Edith Wharton

If you find yourself in the middle of a conflict and you realize that the other party is correct or that they have a better idea or approach than yours, the smart thing for you to do is to step back and to support their idea. For some people this is really difficult to do. Some people become caught up in the debate, or in the desire to be correct, or in the desire to be the star.

It is very alluring to be the star or perhaps we should say the candle. To be the candle is to be the one who came up with the brilliant idea, the idea that saved the project. When you are the candle you are the source of light. There you are in the center of it all. You have made the light possible. Wonderful.

Remember that the light needs help to reach others. This is where the mirror comes in. You are not always going to be the one with the best idea. Sometimes you need to be the one who helps to reflect the light. You seek to understand the brilliant idea of your colleague so that you can help to share the idea with others. Not to take credit for the idea, rather to help the idea gain the recognition that it deserves. Your goal is to ensure that the idea does not die in the conference room.

What good is a candle that gives off light that nobody sees? What good is a brilliant idea that does not get carried forward because there is nobody to take that idea and gain buy-in and nobody to create an implementation plan?

A true leader knows when to be the candle and when to be the mirror.

May your week be full of light.


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