Saturday, January 31, 2015

But I Was Here First

The best entrepreneurs have the humility to recognize that they could one day be surpassed in terms of talent, knowledge, performance and quality of service or product.

The best entrepreneurs have the humility to be lifelong learners. They recognize that everyone knows something they don't.

The best entrepreneurs have the humility to admit that the "good old days" were filled with issues of their own and that change doesn't have to be a bad thing.

If you were here first, have the humility to use that fact to your advantage. Don't allow it to become a crutch.

Originally published August 2013

Friday, January 30, 2015

You Don't Get To Play Dumb

There's a current leadership trend I find disturbing: leaders downplaying their intelligence as though it's some sort of crutch rather than an asset. The disclaimers of, "Now, before you think I'm some sort of egg-head . . ." or the self-effacing, "Aw, shucks, I'm no genius, I'm just one of you . . ." are becoming more common.

Well, I'm smart and I want people as smart as or smarter than I am to be leading me. So if you're going to call me dumb and then call yourself dumb, you're not someone I want to be learning from.

We can't expect perfection in people (it doesn't exist anyway) but we also shouldn't settle for false modesty. If you're smart, own it. If you're talented, own it.

There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but pretending to be someone or something you're not doesn't empower anyone, including yourself.

True humility doesn't hide its gifts.

PS: Being smarter doesn't mean better. Beware that ego trap.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Waiting On the External

The mark of mediocrity:

"When X happens, then I'll to do Y."

We are never in control of the world around us and there is never a right time for anything. Waiting until a list of external factors lines up to start something is a surefire way to live a life fueled by distraction and ultimately regret.

Originally published March 2013

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On Expectations of Capacity

True leaders ask hard questions. They don’t necessarily love tough conversations, but they don’t shy away from them. And they push you to be better, whether you believe in your capacity in the same way they do or not.

You may underestimate yourself, but a great leader won’t. How we lead needs to reflect this as well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When The Rah-Rah Fades

It’s the end of January and, for many, the rah-rah high-energy that a new year brings is fading.

I’m not here to tell you how to get your groove back, but instead that sometimes it’s okay to just have a day. Not every day has to be spectacular, not every day has to be over the top positive and cheerleaderish. A day can just be a day.

It’s important to remember on days like this to take care of yourself and others as though the day were one of your favorites. This doesn't mean acting like a fake-it-till-you-make-it pollyanna, but rather not letting things slide. If you work from home and don't have a specific business-required dress code, dress in whatever way makes you feel most empowered (for some that’s yoga pants and a top-knot, for some that means a dress and heels), eat well, and tackle your to-do list.

The people who make it in the long-term — who avoid burn out — are the ones who allow days to be whatever they are and show up regardless of whether they feel like it or not.