As I near the end of my time in my current job, I can’t help but think of so many things I would have liked to have done better. I deal with this problem all the time. I still wrestle with regrets from decisions I made in high school, through college, and all the way through the early years of working. These regrets are often tied to my taking the path of least resistance, the easier path, or one may say just the one that provided the momentary appeal.
I’m not alone in making those type decisions. Our society drives that kind of thinking. Take care of yourself first, live your best life, look out for number one, you deserve it, etc. are all mantras of our society today. The concepts of comfort, easy living, and instant gratification are all around us.
I am not here to say that there is never a place in ones life for any of those things, but I will tell you that avoiding uncomfortable, hard things is not healthy. Life is hard, and we need to be prepared to attack the challenges. That statement is even more true for those in leadership.
Leaders are follower focused and not self-absorbed. Leaders never think what’s the easy path, but rather what’s best for the people I am responsible for. Leaders don’t think how does this decision impact me, but rather how does it impact the team. Let me provide some specific examples that might hit close to home:
- Leaders don’t avoid tough conversations, they act on them timely.
- Leaders don’t accept on going performance issues, they develop a plan and execute.
- Leaders don’t ignore tough decisions, they get wise counsel and move forward.
- Leaders don’t avoid things they don’t understand, they get help.
- Leaders don’t just keeping failing at the same old known, comfortable plan, they try new options.
We all need to become comfortable being uncomfortable. We need to be willing to put ourselves in tough, challenging situations to both grow as a leader and to provide the best for the people we lead. We will never reach our potential if we don’t go through some challenging times. This concept is true in every aspect of life.
- If you want to be stronger, you have to pick up heavy things.
- If you want to be healthier, you can’t just eat or drink anything you want.
- If you want to be a better neighbor, you have to get involved.
- If you want to be a better leader, you have to be willing to do hard stuff!
Leadership is not for the lazy, self-absorbed, career climbing person seeking a soft, comfortable life. Leadership is messy, hard, and sometimes thankless. But it’s also so desperately needed in every facet of our society today. I hope you can get comfortable being uncomfortable and be the leader your followers need!
Tomorrow morning, I plan on getting up at 5AM again to work out. There’s no advantage of working out early vs later in the day. The workout benefit is the same. However, it’s uncomfortable for me to get up that early and put myself through a tough workout. It sets the tone for my thinking for the rest of the day! I want to be comfortable being uncomfortable!
For a copy of the book “Leadership Basics for Success” see: Blurb.com and search for the title. I wrote this short book several years ago to be used in supervisor leadership development.