These are 3 stumbling blocks young leaders struggle with as the world changes rapidly, according to this entrepreneur and management consultant who wrote a book about them

Entrepreneur and management consultant Kayvan Kian (39) spoke to thousands of young leaders in about eight years about how to deal with a changing world. In this way he found out what their stumbling blocks are and what he himself encounters. In his book What Is Water? Kian offers possible solutions. How do you bring meaning into your daily life? And how do you deal with uncertainty and dreams and goals that don’t seem to come closer?

These are questions that Kian saw over and over during the sessions of McKinsey’s Young Leaders Forum (YLF), which he founded in 2012. This is where young leaders from all over the world come together in small groups. It concerns a broad spectrum of entrepreneurs and managers, coming from the public but especially the private sector. They work for corporates as well as for start-ups and scale-ups. “They are apolitical events with leaders who want to bring about positive change and help each other.”

For example, he learned to better distinguish what he can and cannot influence, so that he no longer has to waste hours on things he cannot control. “In all those years I have benefited a lot from it myself.”

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Advice from Epictetus and Bruce Lee

So it’s time to put things on paper. Because, the consultant noticed, a number of stumbling blocks kept coming back. To approach those in his book, he drew on the Stoic philosophy and knowledge of great thinkers; artists, scientists and performers. In the book he cites the Stoics Epictetus and Seneca just as easily as modern influencers. Think, for example, of the late martial artist and actor Bruce Lee and mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani. “Many of their ideas are big and compelling, and people think: What can I do with this? Meaning is, for example, an important theme that they touch on. You can think about the meaning of life for a lifetime, but in my book I make it practical. How can you bring meaning to a meeting or telephone conversation?”

Addressing what you can control is one of the basic lessons Kian offers to help you survive in an increasingly unpredictable world. In his book he summarizes that world with the abbreviation VUCA, which stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. “As far back as you go, the Buddhists, Romans, classics, they all struggled with the theme of uncertainty.” It is timeless, Kian just wants to say. At the same time, of course, there are periods when things are shaken up more than usual. There is always uncertainty, but recognizing it remains difficult

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“The last few months in which the corona pandemic is playing have been different from the past ten years.Young people experience this as uncertain and ambiguous. They wonder what is right action and what is not. And how well can you actually put things in a model? In any case, it is important to express those uncertainties,” says Kian.

Because according to him, many find it difficult to acknowledge that they find this uncertainty difficult.

“They are afraid of not being strong enough. But that’s not the point. It’s how you deal with it. Ideally you would like to change the context immediately: fight poverty, create world peace… Great ideals. But at this At this moment you first need a way of thinking and skills to keep you going. Because if you find it difficult already, it will be a very difficult marathon. This book will help you become stronger so that you can work on your ideals in the first place” , says Kian.

Only he didn’t want to launch a doctrine with fixed steps you have to take to become successful, as many management and self-help books have been built. “A leader who already feels overwhelmed will not get anywhere with another to-do list. This book reads rather like a menu of all kinds of ways of thinking, letting you discover gifts you already have and which you can use to become more skilled. You can apply this when you want, when you need it.’You dive right into the doing’

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A condition for the solutions to be described in the book was that they have been tried out in practice. All the ideas in this book have been tried by Kian or others. “You dive straight into the doing, into the application. For example: How do you not interpret things more negatively than they actually are? You can read whole theories about this in different books, but I go into the approach in this book.”

In order to prevent them from judging an event too negatively, Kian allows readers to test these along three lines: from personal to non-personal, from general to specific and from permanent to temporary. Three questions are asked for each line so that the reader can place the event on it. The intention here is that a realistic sketch of the event is rolled out, which the reader can contrast with his or her original interpretation of it. The 3 most common stumbling blocks (and their solutions)

Business Insider asked Kian to share with us the most common stumbling blocks and possible practical solutions to them. These are three obstacles young leaders face. Recognizing a struggle

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“This often stems from a personal insecurity,” Kian says. “People think: Maybe I’m not good enough. Everyone is calm and calm, but I don’t feel it that way.For example, say: ‘I sometimes get busier than necessary and miss a sense of purpose’.” Kian compares this to physical needs. “If you’re thirsty, you say that too. Why not do that with mental needs?”

Yet this is easier said than done, because it is not always easy to formulate your feeling of unease. Kian recommends keeping a diary on paper or in your head, so that it becomes clear what is going on at home, work and other places. “Once formulated in your own words, there’s no getting around it and that can be a huge relief.” He himself knows people who nowadays think aloud on their way home, and in this way get to know for themselves where the problem is. Putting the stumbling block into words for yourself is one thing, but how do you convey it to others? Not everyone speaks the same language, literally and figuratively. “When someone says: ‘You have to be more empathetic’, what does that mean? In the past we sometimes got stuck in abstract, good-sounding terms. I found that very annoying. Yes indeed, I need meaning, but what does that mean? in? Maybe I think I’m doing a really good job while the other doesn’t think so at all.”

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To make sure you don’t talk past each other, you can develop a common language, according to Kian. “I hope my book can help with that. For example, meeting people to read a few chapters and then talk about it. You might as well use another book or a common interest, as long as you get a sense of how the other sees and defines things.”

2. Wanting to realize ideals and wishes too quickly

“Many people have great ideals and wishes, but they overlook the step from where they are now and actually get there. Yes, you want world peace, that may happen someday, but not today and not in an hour. you won’t change much.”

Here, according to Kian, it is important that you focus on the things that you can exercise control over at the moment. First ask yourself what you have one hundred percent influence on, Kian tips. “Start before you think big. If you value close relationships, you may envision that others will be there for you. But how much influence do you have on that? Probably not very much. You can’t make friends, family or colleagues are there for you, but you can be there for them. Let go of what you have no influence on, but resolve, for example, to offer a listening ear to others.”

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3. Too much focus on what isn’t there (yet)

“Many people have a strong emphasis on external positives and in many cases that is money, for example.According to him you can draw a lot of strength from negative energy, from a lack of something, but it can just as well be paralyzing. By just seeing the external flaw, he says, people tend to forget what they can do. “Your character is built in difficult times and lasts a lifetime. The Romans also said: your thinking helps you now and in the future. The older you get, the wiser you become.”

Kian recommends being aware of the virtues you possess, such as courage, patience, tolerance, and generosity. “Use them for yourself and others. If you train values ​​like these right now, you will also build resources with which you can hopefully face a crisis a little more carefree.”

But isn’t it difficult to ignore an acute or acute lack of money?

According to Kian, you don’t need to put less emphasis on this. It’s about emphasizing other things as well. “This does not replace ‘it is good if my company makes a profit’, that thought remains. But it is good to remember that you build up much more than, for example, a company that will or will not make a profit.”

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Author: Jobly