Your leadership story has one key word: your. It is not re-writing the scripts or techniques from the greatest of leadership experts or simply applying what the greatest leaders of all time did. It is your story full of the greatest of your successes, failures, shortcomings, wins, inspirational moments and accomplishments. Your leadership story begins at birth to now. There may be themes found in those leadership moments of youth through high school and college to today.
There have been some great triumphs in my story and times of mishap or less than ideal outcomes. Let me recap some of my moments here and perhaps give you a framework to consider those successes and failures to help inform today.
1. Backyard Hotbox: I was age 11. I have always wanted to create something from nothing. A weekly ritual of mine as a youth was getting on the phone and calling neighborhood friends to organize a game of Hotbox. Though this was no ordinary game of hotbox where you throw the ball in between two bases and the runners must simply run in between. My adaptation was using the front yard as the location of one base and the back yard as the location of the second base. The ball had to be thrown over the house repeatedly. Themes: Innovation and Creation. I love to innovate and I love to create. Those two themes I carry forward in my leadership today.
2. Called a Loser: In Elementary school teachers posted a label of ADHD on me because they did not know what to do with my great desire to innovate and create. In fact, I had a teacher say this to me, “Chris you are a loser and will never amount to anything.” Theme: I wake up each day with a desire and drive to win and more importantly see others win.
3. House Chaplin: For some reason, members of my fraternity nominated me to be the chaplin of our house. This meant inspiring others week after week. Theme: Inspiring others is a value of mine.
4. Convincing Myself: This strategy does not work by the way. I spent 7 years convincing myself that I was happy in the financial services world. I was making good money and successful, yet I was unhappy. Theme: Do not lose yourself in your attempts to reach your dreams and goals. It leads to misery.
5. Promotion: Executive Director of Sales and Advisory Services title went right to my head. I suddenly had power. My intention was to use it for good and sometimes I just liked having authority. It is true what they say about leaders you have a chance to make a slight move that makes someone’s day or could make someone miserable. Theme: I am in process.
6. Flourishing Today: The vision of Open Pivot is to see leaders in the world flourish so that their business creates exceptional results. As a result of this vision and pursuing this vision, I am flourishing in my work for the first time since graduation. Theme: Leadership is a journey.
So what about you? What are your leadership key moments? What themes are you leveraging and what themes have you left behind? How about number 4? Are you trying to convince yourself? It does lead to misery.