Tag Archives: leadership

Do. Be. Get.

do be get 2So often we want to get something before we will be the person who will do what it takes to earn it.

I heard this sentiment recently in a training I was giving when I asked the group “what are some of the goals you want to achieve?” One participant said “make more money” as often people say. But when I pried more into the logistics of that worthy endeavor she expounded on a less-worthy vehicle for reaching said endeavor. “I want to be paid more, then I will take on more responsibility.”

She meant well. I know she did. But the problem with the statement is it’s like saying “I want to be smart, and then I’ll learn” or “I want to be a best-selling author and then I’ll put my ideas out there”.

And yet, we do this so often in our professional space. We ask for the raise first as if that is the key to unlocking our work-ethic and our potential. It’s not.

Think of an actress who wants a million bucks per episode. If she doesn’t have the audience, the accolades, or the acting chops to back it up, will she get it? Nope. She must first show that she has mass appeal and broad talent, then she will get offered the big bucks.

See we must do something (acting, performing as an indispensable asset, leading without being asked) before we can be something (an actress, an indispensable asset, a leader), before we can get something (the big paychecks, the promotions, the responsibility and the corner office).

Don’t fall into the get-be-do mentality that is rampant in our culture. This is the mentality that says you can work hard when you get paid for it, or you can get followers when you get the leadership position, and you can get happiness when everything falls into place.

These are all traps set out by the victim in attempt to recruit more victims. They are hard traps from which to pry yourself. And they create a vicious cycle of resentment, bitterness, and it’s-not-fair disease. I know, I’ve been there.

They are cancerous to a work environment and one’s family. But, sadly, the person they harm the most is the person who capitulated to them in the first place.

If you aren’t getting what you want, ask yourself what kind of a person do you need to be to get those things. And then ask that person what she needs to do. Then do those things—every single day.

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Dance Like Everyone Is Watching

snap (1)My daughter had her first dance recital this weekend; she’s four. I loved watching her and all of the students get out on the big stage with the bright lights shining onto them, facing a huge crowd of over a thousand people. They danced their hearts out for us; well… some just stood there watching their classmates. And, some forgot their steps. Some were off-beat. But, all were perfect.

Yes, perfect.

Why? Because they were perfect for exactly where they were supposed to be with what they were supposed to know given their experience and training—or lack thereof—to date. Perfect for who they were and where they were.

Contrast that with my youth where, by the time I was jealous of all of my friends in sports and dance and theater, I was simultaneously too embarrassed to start from the beginning. I was all too aware of my clumsiness and awkwardness to submit myself to the torture that would be—GASP!—making a mistake.

There are many things I never started and to this day I regret robbing my younger self of those opportunities.

How often do we put too much pressure on ourselves to achieve perfection and not nearly enough pressure on ourselves to start? How often is the fear of learning something new greater than the joy of it? How often is our own stage fright robbing us of a standing ovation?

My daughter was one of the ones who danced a few seconds behind the more experienced girls. She didn’t care; in fact, I’m pretty sure she didn’t even notice. To her, it was about the experience and the experience was fun.

When I asked her if she wanted to dance again next season she responded with an emphatic grin and nod. She’s not painfully aware of missing her steps; she’s not self-conscious; she’s not afraid of starting. And if I have any influence, she will never learn those things.

It’s time we dance like everyone is watching. Time we get out there on the big stage, under the bright lights, in front of the big crowd. Because we’ll have a lot more fun than those who stayed home. And when we’re done, we might even be willing to do it all over again.

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