08 Sep The Leader’s Voice: Insights from PRIDE’s Leadership – You
It’s Up to You
In “The Leadership Voice” on August 17th, Aarthi shared with all of us the thought that the greatest treasures lie buried in graveyards. I’m confident this concept got us all thinking about our individual untapped potential. It is true that our days are finite and one day, they will run out.
Many people spend their entire life trying to avoid this fact. They fill their lives with frantic activity, bouncing from task to task. No matter how successfully they perform in their work, as they close up shop for the day, they are left with the question, “did the work I did today really matter?”
Others are incredibly successful, vested, and highly compensated for their work. However, over time, they’ve grown stagnant. They sense that they have something more to give, however, can’t quite put their finger on why they’re stuck in first gear.
This begs the obvious question: How do you set in motion a course of action that will allow you to unleash your best, most valuable work? It’s easy to get lost and wake up many years later asking yourself, “who am I, how did I get here, and how do I go back?”
You have a unique contribution to make to the world.
You possess a one-of-a-kind combination of passions, skills, and experiences. There is something you bring to your work that no one else could. If you relinquish that power, then it will never see the light of day, and you will always wonder “what if?”
No one else can make your contribution for you.
Waiting for permission to act is the easy way out. Everyone has to play the hand they’re dealt. This means that you can’t make a habit of pointing fingers, blaming others, or complaining. As painful as it can be, unfairness is baked into every aspect of life. To make a contribution, you must come to terms with it and refuse to be a victim.
Your contribution is not about you.
You cannot function solely out of a desire to be recognized for what you do. You may be rewarded with accolades and riches for your work. You may also labor in obscurity doing brilliant work your entire life. More likely, you’ll fall somewhere in the middle. Cultivating a love of the process is the key to making a lasting contribution.
Avoid comfort. It is dangerous.
If making a significant impact were easy, it would be commonplace. It’s not common because there are many forces that lead to stagnancy and mediocrity. Organizations often make it easy to settle in, providing you with a good salary, a nice title, or a sense of stability. But the love of comfort is often the enemy of greatness. Greatness emerges when you consistently choose to do what’s right, even when it’s uncomfortable.
Take a stand. Don’t shape-shift.
You are better positioned to make a contribution if you align your work around your values. Don’t be a mirror, passively reflecting the priorities of others. You must dig through the rubble to the core principles that guide your life. Then commit to engaging your work with a clean conscience. If you don’t stand for what you believe in, you will eventually lose yourself in your work.
Your understanding of your “sweet spot” develops over time like film in a darkroom.
Too many people want to come out of the gate with a clear understanding of their life’s mission. There is no one thing that you are wired to do, and there are many ways you can add value to the world. However, these opportunities will only become clear over time as you act, giving you clues as you experiment, fail, and succeed. You have to try different things before you will begin to see noticeable patterns.
You must plant seeds today for a harvest later.
What you plant today you reap tomorrow or farther down the road. It’s important to structure your life around daily progress based on what matters to you. This involves building practices and activities that allow you to plant new seeds each day, with the knowledge that you will eventually see the fruits of your labor.
We all have unique talents. Work to avoid comfort and take action today to unleash your greatest treasures. I leave you with the following quote.
Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
About the Author:
As managing director of Pride Technologies of Ohio, Michael Krieger provides clients with unrivaled expertise in business process refinement and performance consulting. As an expert facilitator and service consultant, Michael has partnered with many companies to advance their approaches to Project Management, Networking, Compute Strategies, Procurement and end user service delivery models.