Weekender: Keegan-Michael Key on Perceiving Challenges

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Welcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a peel of thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why just the peel? Because it’s the weekend!

Have you ever seen a leader throw a temper tantrum over the minorest of minor issues? When this happens, it is clear that the individual has experienced a temporary lapse of what really matters. While this is bound to happen to anyone, the leader cannot afford to damage their reputation or appear petty. Keegan-Michael Key offers a perspective that may help.

Comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key is best known for his television work on Key & Peele and MADtv and his recent movie Keanu. In a recent conversation on the podcast Off Camera with Sam Jones, Key discussed how maturity and experience have changed the ways he views life’s daily challenges.

At the end of the day, in our industry, it’s always just a series of challenges. So the difference is, do you look at the challenges as opportunities or do you look at the challenges as problems. And that is something that as I’ve gotten older, I’ll get into a weird mode where I’ll say, ‘alright, the stakes are really high this time.’ No, no, no, no. Why? Why weren’t they higher here? The issue or the challenge is just a challenge. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a $50 million comedy or you’re doing a play at a 60 seat black box. How do we decipher and give clarity to every moment?

What an interesting view on maintaining perspective. If we can view setbacks as nothing more than challenges, it takes some pressure off knowing that the stakes remain manageable. Then, in the moments when we feel like we’ve stumbled, our frustration might not feel so frustrating or maybe it won’t last as long.

Glitches are bound to happen, but your mindset can affect the impact they have on your confidence, attitude, and behavior. With a dose of perspective, your newfound Zen-ness can provide some inner peace and set the tone for your entire team.

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