Too many people want the glory of leadership without factoring the guts required even to begin the journey.
Leadership, at its core, is about making progress toward an intended destination—a destination that is new, different, and some place you have yet to arrive. You aren’t leading if you are repeating the same thing over and over again. That’s called management.
Management presupposes that you’ve been there many times. You know every turn, every obstacle, and every bump in the road. If you've been down a particular path many times before, then there is very little surprise along the way. It's predictable, efficient, and effective.
YOU CAN’T LEAD AND NOT BE COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY.
But if you're going to lead yourself—and others—then you must understand that uncertainty, risk, and surprises will surely meet you along the way to your intended destination. Too many people want the glory of leadership without factoring the guts required even to begin the journey.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been faced with a situation and had no idea how it was going to work out. The bigger the organization, the higher you go, the more complex the challenges you will face. And at the moment when that challenge becomes real, you won’t know how it’s all going to work out. But you do know that with a solid framework, a strong team, and the courage to move forward, you will overcome whatever you are facing right now and whatever you will face as you progress.
SO, HOW DO YOU MOVE FORWARD WHEN THE PATH ISN’T CLEAR?
Go back to your passion story. Why are you doing what you’re doing in the first place? Do you still believe what prompted you to begin? Can you still visualize where you want to be and what you want to accomplish? This is your foundation, and it needs to be strong.
Build a framework. When you can't be sure about what's ahead, you have to let go of the security of a destination and lean into the strength of a proven framework. That will ensure you are aligned and integrated with your thinking.
Find a mentor. The Creator designed you and me to live in community with each other. You need an outsider’s perspective to ensure you are thinking clearly and are well aware of your blind spots along the way.
Give yourself permission to fail. The pressure to get it right the first time can be so great that it can paralyze you. Don't let that happen.
Have fun! Seriously. Life and leadership shouldn’t be serious and intense all the time. Embrace the risk—it’s the soul of adventure and the biggest adventure of your life.
You can move forward even when the path isn't clear. Even if you have to work yourself up, leap. The great paradox is the biggest risk is not in moving forward it's in staying still. The world around you is always shifting. The only safety and security you'll ever know are when you are reaching for something that doesn't yet exist.