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Be smart about the path you choose

At the core of effective leadership is preparation and – the greater the goal the greater the preparation! When successful leaders are studied, their habits often demonstrate a two-to-one ratio of preparation to execution. Whether we are called to business, politics, education, art, medicine or other professions, the price tag required for long term success cannot be lowered. Unfortunately however, in the new norm of our fast paced world thorough preparation is often compromised which ultimately impacts the quality of results.

We often admire the achievements of many credible, upstanding, ethical and successful leaders but how many of us are prepared, equipped or willing to pay the price that these leaders endured. Our greatest challenge is not lack of opportunity, but being ready when it comes. How many times have you missed leadership opportunities or any other opportunities for that matter simply because you were not prepared? I have missed quite a few!

Another consideration … It is not enough to get prepared, we must also stay prepared. In this information age, knowledge is doubling by the minute. So, if we don’t keep learning and growing, we will end up with coping skills that no longer work with the new challenges we face. The leader of the future will be rated by his/her ability to anticipate challenges and problems rather than dealing with them as they emerge. Are you prepared to lead this charge?

Remember also… all leadership paths are not created equal. One of the most important questions you must ask yourself is “what am I preparing for?” Make sure you choose your leadership and career path wisely. If you are still searching for ways to maximize your personal excellence, consider the following:

  • Invest one hour now to write down clearly the leadership, career or life goals that really matter to you at this point. Don’t be surprised if things that were important to you in your earlier years are no longer important to you now as your priorities may have changed.
  • Never make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings. One leader I know got excited about an international job offer and uprooted his entire family to a new country and culture…within a couple of months of the relocation, he realized he made a big mistake. Outside of the salary, he and his family were not enjoying the role, the move or the opportunity. Lesson here … many times success and happiness are not only about the money!
  • Anticipate changes in your goals. Your present feelings and opinions are not permanent. New experiences are coming, new relationships and partnerships are ahead so stay conscious.
  • Here is my challenge for you … Permit the unexciting dreams of yesterday to die. You might not agree with me on this but here goes … STOP pursuing goals that no longer inspire and excite you. If you are in a different place in your life right now, why do you feel obligated to keep trying to obtain an irrelevant goal? A mentor once said to me “If the horse is dead … dismount!” Over the years I have gotten better at acting on this recommendation and it has served me very well.

When you regularly assess and evaluate your leadership and career journey, you put yourself in a position to unclutter your life of the unnecessary and proactively prepare for the future ahead. The result … you build the stamina to effectively lead your life, lead a team, lead an organization, and perhaps even lead a nation.
So, are you equipped for your leadership ride … if not, what is your game plan?

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