My dad passed away from his third battle with cancer decades ago. I remember shortly before he died how he put his hands squarely on my shoulders, looked deep into my eyes, and shared a mantra I have carried with me ever since. “Don’t let the bastards out there get you down.”
It’s been seven months since I elected to take an off-ramp from the work that served as my bread and butter for thirty years. The deeper I dove into the leadership structure of my industry, the more alarmed I became at the demonstrative behavior from those with the most power to promote positive change. Is it possible that leadership roles actually undermine our ability to lead?
Lesson learned: Bullies aren’t just lurking on the elementary playground they are sometimes disguised as leaders.
I Didn’t Elect Your Wife
In an effort to give back to my community I am volunteering. There’s an abundance of non-profit organizations that need serious boots on the ground support to accomplish their missions. In this work, I have seen the very best in my community but also wonder about the pressure our leaders are under and how they choose to problem solve various challenges.
I’ve seen strong men and women who for whatever reason are not so strong when their spouses want to get in the game with them. Should elected public figures allow policy to come from the bedroom as opposed to the boardroom with spouses writing their scripts for them?
Lesson learned: Not all leaders are empowered personally which affects their leadership professionally.
It’s Time To Move On
Leaders who are truly inspirational learn from their experiences. They grow, evolve and adjust. There is a generation, both young and old, with management titles that lack insight into themselves and others. How do we put the brakes on a culture of entitlement in the workplace?
Three words people – Get Over It. You had a rough childhood? Someone didn’t appreciate your ideas at the last meeting? You were passed over for a promotion you were counting on? I’m sorry. In the immortal words of Fleetwood Mac, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, yesterday is gone. ” I’ll walk forward with you, it’s the only direction left to go.
Lesson learned: Play nice and move on.
Time is a Great Teacher
If anyone had told me seven months ago that so much of my life would be different now I’d have said they were crazy. My work life? Different… My physical abilities and health status? Different… My friends and family? Thank goodness – solid and strong. Who I am as a person? Even stronger…
My greatest learning that I feel compelled to share is that each of us must take a serious inventory of what we really value. What are you willing to fight for and what are you willing to let go? What will your legacy be and how will you regain your personal power to make decisions that you own and are proud of?
Lesson learned: Take control of your life and not someone else’s and remember it can all change on a dime. Will you be ready?