April Fools Day is a recognized day where pranks are pulled on people and the prankster then shouts, “April Fools!” People unknowingly are tricked and are only aware of the prank until they are tagged to be fools for falling for the joke. It’s done in fun, sometimes a bit harshly, usually embarrassing. Fortunately, April Fool’s Day is only one day a year.
But don’t think it stops there. On a regular basis, you fall for all sorts of trickeries. Every day; all year long. You are the butt of deceptions and you don’t even know it because no one is there to tell you, April Fools! So I guess I’ll have to say it. But first, what are the false notions you fall for every day of the year?
Some April Fool’s Trickeries
• Looking out for yourself first is the only way you will get ahead. April Fools! While it is true that you are ultimately responsible for your career, it’s not true that your career is all that matters. You will need many people to contribute to your success.
• You can’t rise above your feelings of inadequacy or incompetence. April Fools! Actually, you are only bound by your feelings to the degree that you believe them to be true. When they come upon you, think April Fools! and redirect your thinking to what is more accurate.
• Feedback that you don’t like to hear should be either dismissed entirely or taken as wholly true. April Fools! Feedback from others is just that—feedback. You have to decide what to do with it. Its value is not whether it is true or false, but how it can be useful to you.
• The firm’s “tone” or “feel” isn’t your responsibility and “they” should do something about it. April Fools! In fact, your behavior and attitude not only contribute to whatever you don’t like, you reinforce it. It’s yours to do something about, not just “them.”
• Because you haven’t been tagged a leader, you never will be. April Fools! Actually, leadership is first and foremost a competency that is both learned and practiced. While some are more natural with those behaviors, all can learn them.
Here’s the kicker. You have your own, customized deceptions that you fall for daily. Of the hundreds and hundreds of professionals I’ve coached, the ones who are willing to acknowledge the hoaxes and learn to break through them are the ones who zoom ahead. The rest just sputter in their disappointment.
Today, and every day forward, don’t be fooled by the deceits and dishonesties that hold you back. Instead, shout April Fool’s! and let them go.