Lead and stand out for what you believe in
It’s amazing when you are questioning and in pursuit of better all the time, what nuggets come your way at the right time. When I left Ireland I questioned leadership especially the political leadership of a country, which had been thriving albeit not always on real economic levers, but artificially hyped ones. In some ways it was the very lack of leadership and vision that made me lose interest and faith to remain in a country where the economy and policies only seemed to go in natural free-fall. I had been asked on more than one occassion to enter the political arena and even with the minor glitch of my actual nationality, I questioned my own leadership ability and vision in this setting.
It is amazing though that some of these questions still follow you around, no matter where you go and what is equally fascinating is that the answers usually pop up in the least expected moments. A few weeks back I was randomly tv-channel hopping and stopped at a movie, where the main moral of the story was something along the lines of ‘You were born to stand out’. It was one of those interesting bolts that to me meant ‘I am born to stand out, so stop trying to fit in’. Truly I never felt I fitted in anywhere, but I have been afraid to stand out and played a smaller game, which I always regretted after.
Then a short time after another gem of knowledge came my way in a typical ‘when the student is ready, the teacher will appear’ kind of fashion. The lesson here being, that leaders stand for what they believe in. That I have often found hard to do, although I have always had very strong and equally outspoken ideas, hence I wouldn’t have a blog or wouldn’t have occassionally put my foot in a thorny issue by expressing what everyone thought but nobody was courageous enough to speak out loud.
Well here is my stance, I believe in the pursuit of excellence and making a mark in this lifetime. We only have one, so why waste an opportunity. In my work I have always and continue to strive to be the best at what I do and along the way I make mistakes that will utlimately make me better and more informed for the future, but it may temporarily slow me down, but it will not stop me. It also means that under no circumstances will I settle for mediocre and that goes from mediocre politicians, to mediocre living, etc. Hence I have always had a full schedule with things I enjoyed from sports, to writing and to charity or volunteering. Now I am just a little more selective and living in a new city still finding out the routes to this fullness. But I guess the search for my apartment was definitely a clear sign mediocre wasn’t going to be acceptable and 600 applications later I live somewhere beautiful.
So the question to you is, what do you believe in and are willing to take a public stand for?
In a way all I am suggesting is that you do what the big leaders in our lifetimes have done, such as Martin Luther who had his dream.., or business leaders like Branson, Jobs, Gates or Buffett who all have something they clearly stand for and publicly vouch for. In this economy more than any other time do we so need leaders to step it up a notch.
In my leadership quest I will continue to strive for excellence and demand it from people all around me and when they don’t feel this is appropriate then the choice is pretty easy step out of the way or get with the programme. Either you have a track record of achievement and excellence or you savour the realms of mediocrity and to be honest I think that is exactly what has been wrong with recent economic policy makers too much fear of change and not enough forward thinking to keep challenging the status quo especially when that meant making unpopular decisions or challenging the majority when their choice was blatantly wrong.
I am glad that we always have the opportunity to start again and revise our stance, when our first option may have been wrong or an approach failed. The worst would be to ignore the signs and keep going regardless. Whatever you do, if you like me have a leadership bug that keeps wanting to show up, stop trying to fit in and stand out….stand out for what you believe in…
Looking forward to hearing from your leadership stances…
In the mean time I will get back in pursuit of excellence and lead with my belief that I aim to make a difference in everything I do. How about you, you know you want to…I dare you!