Ready or Not? Do I Really Want That Management Gig?

You’re the best at what you do. You’re a technical genius. You skip to work. And now you’re feeling pressured to move to the next level. You’re honored, and humbled. It would mean more money.

But, you see what your boss goes through. All those people problems. Questions of job security make you queasy.

You are not alone.

Ready, Set Go, Management Here I Come

 A few signs you may be ready

You…

  • believe in the organization’s mission and values
  • are the go-to guy for your peers
  • always fill in when the boss is away
  • find filling-in fulfilling
  • ask great questions
  • have a vision
  • are fired up
  • enjoy inspiring
  • want to make a difference
  • want others to succeed
  • you’re scared (that’s okay)
  • ?

Oh, No, This is Not For Me

Some signs it’s not the time

You…

  • want them to do it your way
  • disagree with senior leadership most of the time
  • find helping a hassle
  • are most attracted to the money
  • dread filling in
  • LOVE the technical parts of the job
  • hate stress
  • crave affirmation
  • detest meetings
  • need a fixed schedule
  • abhor change
  • ?

An Attitude of Ordeal or Adventure?

Today I begin a month-long speaking tour at kickoff events around the country, 5 events this week. As I pack my bag for this 6500 mile trip, I’m feeling excited, optimistic, energized and nervous.

“Cock your hat. Angles are attitudes.”
~Frank Sinatra

I believe in large team “kickoffs” to inspire, energize and align. We pull together all 500-1000 people in each location to share vision, strategy, and goals. Each one is a bit different. There’s always strategy and slides but each team takes a unique spin to recognition, costumes, dancing and songs. it can get pretty interesting.

Serious silliness inspires and motivates.

But there’s always the downside (see Face Time or Face Time). Time away from family, complex childcare, airport food. Each week we have choices with our attitude. We can view our life as an adventure or an ordeal.

The Attitude of Adventure

This week is an adventure because…

  • It’s a great platform to inspire leadership at all levels
  • We will touch many hearts and minds
  • We get to talk about strategy and how folks fit in
  • My team and partners are working hard
  • Silliness at work is fun
  • Creativity begets creativity
  • We will learn much, and each kickoff will improve
  • Every kickoff will be different
  • Recognition matters
  • ? TBD

The Attitude of Ordeal

It’s an ordeal because…

  • A gazillion hours on airplanes
  • Everything stuffed into a carry-on for tight connections
  • Missing parent’s day at school
  • Getting 5 am childcare, when my husband has overnight firefighter shifts
  • Airport food
  • Finding time to sleep or exercise
  • I’m worried about my mom
  • My “day job” carries on there will be much work to do on airplanes, evenings, and weekends
  • ? TBD

The truth is every day has elements of adventure and ordeal.

Attitude matters.

I’ll post updates of the adventure on the Let’s Grow Leaders Facebook Page

The View From a False Summit Can Change Your Course

I thought I was at the top.

I glanced with pride at the view of the long staircase disappearing down the mountain. It’s been a dream of mine to climb the Pikes Peak Incline, the steep, mile-long staircase at high elevation. I was glad to have scratched that off my endurance sports “bucket list.” Just as I climbed the last few steps, a voice came out of nowhere, “It’s a false summit.”

I quickly turned around and saw a fit guy sitting on a rock sipping from his water bottle. He smiled, “you’re only about two-thirds of the way up.” I climbed a few more steps, and stared over the boulders that had been blocking the view. He was right and he seemed to enjoy delivering the news, “but you have choices. You can always head back down now on the Barr Creek trail or keep going that way to the summit.”

The sun would be setting soon. I was hiking alone, and I had a 3 hour drive ahead to an important conference.

I stopped to consider the view.

We’ve all been there. We set a goal. We work hard to achieve it. And, just when we think we are done, the view changes. New circumstances, new information, and unanticipated disruptions lead us to reconsider. Is this was I wanted to accomplish? Do I still want this, or is there something bigger? Are there other paths to consider?

When life gives you false summits, stop and consider the views.

View Your Accomplishments

Don’t get discouraged. You’ve already accomplished a great deal. Just because there is more elevation to climb, don’t discount the steps you’ve already trod. Take time to breathe and celebrate what you have accomplished. Every plateau is an opportunity to rest and reflect.

View Your Options

Continuing to climb along the same path may be the perfect choice. There is also value in considering what’s available on the alternate routes. What’s for you on the switchbacks, or behind those other boulders? What and whom did you leave behind? Should you consider heading back down? What are the opportunity costs of each decision?

View Your Heart

What does your heart say? What feels right? How’s your energy? What are you climbing for? Which path will offer new experiences and growth?

View Your Resources

Who’s walking with you on this path? Who would (or could) join you on the alternative routes, who might you meet along the way? Do you have enough resources? How can you best prepare for the journey you chose?

The Journey Continues

Sometimes when we get where we think we are headed, the view changes. What we thought was the end-game offers new beginnings. Don’t just keep climbing without consideration. Each path offers different rewards.

On this particular journey, I did keep climbing and the summit was spectacular. Well worth the trip. I took the 4 miles of switchbacks down, also meaningful.

Are you standing on a false summit?
 

Missy Franklin: The Cincinnatus of the Olympics (a guest post from Greg Marcus)

My favorite character from Latin class was Cincinnatus – he was a farmer who became Dictator to lead the Roman army against invaders, and then returned to his farming life after the war. The fame and glory did not prevent him from continuing to be who he wanted to be, and he willingly gave up almost absolute power to return to a simple life. Cincinnatus was revered as an exemplar of civic virtue, someone willing to work for the greater good without accumulating personal wealth and power.

“I am pleased to present a guest post from Greg Marcus.

After ten years as a scientist, and ten years as a marketer, Greg Marcus, Ph.D. is a stay-at-home dad and author. If you are interested in more of his writing you can find it by clicking here, or you can find him on linked in.  Greg reminds us of the constant choices we make as we pursue our dreams, and balance them with the rest of our lives”

Missy Franklin is not a general, but a swimmer on the US Olympic team. Unlike many Olympians, she elected not to leave home and move to a training center to work with a high-powered coach. She stayed with her childhood coach, and in fact turned down endorsement deals to maintain eligibility for her high school swim team.

I think its safe to say along the way, some thought her crazy for not making the most of her talent by moving to California, swimming full-time, and getting the best coach available. But Franklin showed that a move to the next level of achievement does not require sacrificing who we are, or the people in our life. And I strongly suspect that without her family, Franklin could not have achieved what she achieved.

Franklin won four gold medals and one bronze, in London, second only to Michael Phelps in total medals. Now, Franklin is faced with a choice – does she go back to the life she had, swimming for her high school team and then on to college, or does she take advantage of the millions of dollars in endorsement deals that she could get as an Olympic Champion? For now, she is leaning towards college because she says that is what will make her a happy girl, but she will consider all the options. It’s a real dilemma.

One of these choices represents a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Power of Yes

“Yes-let’s said Tigger, bouncing a little, even though he had no idea what was to be begun. He liked to be asked to do things, and he liked to be asked to do them first, and he always said “yes,” because it is much more interesting when you do.”

-David Benedictus, Return to the Hundred Acre Wood

As leaders (or community members, parents, friends), deciding where to spend our physical and emotional energy can be daunting. So much of the self-help literature seems to be teaching us how to say “no” to the wrong things so we have more time to say “yes” to the “right” things.

That makes sense.

What can be more difficult is knowing the difference. Sometimes the most illogical opportunities can provide the most fascinating experiences. Sometimes the growth comes precisely because the opportunity is out of our comfort zone, or because we have to completely rearrange our lives to make room for it.

Yes can be scary. 

Yes leads to opportunity.

A Story of Yes

I recently got involved in writing and directing a children’s musical for our church. An out of the box “yes” project for me for sure. On the surface, there was absolutely no room in my life for this, but it was an amazing experience. The kids and volunteers were fantastic. I must say, we put on a heck of a show.

But then, came the real “yes” or “no” question. We had performed the show one evening, deconstructed (and thrown away) most of the set, and a few weeks had gone by when I got a call from my minister. “Would we reprise the show for a church service?”

Everyone who knows me well and cares about me had the same reaction, “say no.” They saw how the show consumed me the first time. On the surface it did not make sense, the logistics of pulling this off again, with the kids out of practice, many of the volunteers gone, limited set. Something made me say, “yes.”

What happened next was one of the most magical moments of my year. We found enough of the set to make it look fun, the kids all stepped up to practice like crazy on their own, they managed themselves backstage without a lot of parent volunteers, the congregation was absolutely packed and the kids had a blast and received a standing ovation. As I was standing there after the service, I had tears in my eyes and thought, “I almost said, no.”

Sometimes saying no can prevent us from stretching ourselves or working past the surface difficulties. I will surely still say “no” to many things, but I have learned the value of thinking well and deep before I do.