Friday, January 3, 2014

from "ex" to success

I was listening to an entrepreneurship podcast this morning that started out like most other entrepreneurship talks: "I got tired of what I was doing, left that, and started something else..."  I began thinking about the people I know, and realized many of them are "ex" something or other - an ex-CPA, an ex-fighter pilot, an ex-sales person, an ex-CEO - and the list goes on and on.  I am an ex-band director, who has found great joy in this role as Dean of a business school.  The thing is, none of the people above, including myself, ever disliked what we were doing before.  We weren't looking to get out, but we may have perhaps become a little bored.  Entrepreneurs (and I would also suggest "leaders") are by nature starters...we like to start things...we like to build things...we like ideas...we like growth...we like energy.  And when those things begin to wane, it is time to ask the important question, "what's next?"

I have come to understand that the answer to "what's next?" doesn't always have to be a new career - it can be a new way of living out your current could be a new assignment within your current could be a new way of thinking about how your organize your work within your current could be a new way of thinking - or a new way of living.  Whatever it might be, moving to the "new way" means giving up something form your "old way" - which means you are now an "ex-something or other."

The New Year is always full of possibilities (no matter what Mark Twain might have said).  It is a time to become an "ex-something or other."  Here is my personal list of things that we as leaders might consider becoming an "ex" in:

  • become an ex-micro manager
  • become an ex-late to meetings person
  • become an ex-complainer
  • become an ex-gossiper
  • become an ex-expert
  • become an ex-over eater
  • become an ex-worrier
  • become an ex-controller
  • become an ex-procrastinator
  • become an ex-skeptic
  • become an ex-_____________________
To step up our leadership, we need to develop new (better) habits...and to do that, we need to rid ourselves of old habits.  Just as many entrepreneurs take the jump from one career to the next (often with much fear and trepidation), so leaders must make the same jump, giving up the old and embracing the new.  Will it be difficult? Will it be scary? Will you wonder whether it is the right thing to do?  Will it feel as if you don't really know what you are doing?  You know the answer to these questions, so just go ahead and do it.  Not only will you find your joy and passion,but those around you will be better off for it as well.  Enjoy the journey!

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