Mediocre leadership sucks for the mediocre leader
Simply going through the motions day-after-day can make anyone want to crawl back into bed when the alarm goes off. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: If you are looking for a different experience of leadership, it starts with you.
I had some vanilla days
There were days when I supervised that I simply want just to get by. I’d watch the clock and pray no new fires would start. I wanted to fade into the woodwork.
I had some butterscotch ripple days
There were other days that I was on top of the world and loving what I did. Looking back, it was when I figured out something new, had a positive experience of dealing with staff or gained new insights into my leadership style that I felt high-spirited. When I was acquiring new skills and insights and developing myself were the days when I was high on life. Those days were obviously way more enjoyable.
We tend to hid
The difference is when we are on top of our game, when we are pushing ourselves and excelling is when life is much more satisfying. Too often what we are simply looking for instead, is to get by. We’re hoping no one notices us. We’re hoping to fly under the radar.
Yet, we hate not being noticed
When we do, and we get passed over, neglected or ignored, we are frustrated. We complain that no one encouraged us to apply for the new positions or take the trip to promote the company. It’s crazy isn’t it? We want to hide out unnoticed, and we want to shine all at the same time.
Hiding creates misery
In reality, it is when we camouflage ourselves at our desks hoping no one will notice us, is when we become miserable. Remember the song in Sunday School: “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine?” That is the secret to fulfillment in leadership. You find way more delight in leadership and in life when you shine.
The way to love leadership is to shine
Outstanding leadership is when you become your best self. When you are absolutely in love with what you are doing the exasperating and maddening times are way easier to manage. They are not easy. There is some satisfaction in getting through them. It’s because you know they are pushing you to grow and develop even more.
Consider the Olympian
Think of an athlete who is running through drills, challenging themselves with growing new muscles in their body and mind. The competitor must avoid the chocolate cake and go to bed earlier. All of this is not always easy for them, but because they’re passionate and actively engaged in what they’re doing it somehow seems more manageable.
You are in training
When you embrace excellence, you see your common duties and the mundane day-to-day jobs become your classroom. The desire to outshine yourself and endeavor to better than you were the day before, infuses life with a little bit more excitement. Rather than “What will I have to face today?” you’ll awaken with an attitude of “What will I learn today?”
Becoming the master
The best way to consider this is to think about becoming a master. Right now you’re likely an apprentice. An apprentice is learning. They are watching others so that they can gain new skills. A trainee makes a lot of mistakes. However, they take the time to learn from them. As a student, they are continually trying new things because they want to become more and be more skilled.
Move from apprentice to expert
The apprentice watches her master asking questions, learning and accepting guidance. Gradually the apprentice becomes the skilled worker. Over time, they become the one that everybody looks up to. After years of work, they transform into the expert. Eventually, they become the master that others look to for wisdom.
Adding color to life and leadership
The apprentice continually grows and develops which means, no more mediocre. It is the addition of color and flavor. It requires the apprentice to step outside their comfort zone and learn new things. What do you need to do to move from the newbie to the master, from the apprentice to the expert? You need to practice outside of your comfort zone. You need to try new things. You need to learn.
Experts put their time in
Research has shown the experts are made not born. It takes about 10,000 hours, ten years or a decade. But not a decade of doing the same thing over and over and over again. It is 10,000 hours of stretching outside your comfort zone. If you want to become an exceptional leader you must work at learning new skills constantly.
From apprentice to exceptional leadership
If you want to move from a mediocre experience of leadership to an exceptional experience of leadership, you will need to grow your skills. Consider what it is you need to learn to be your best. Find it. Practice. Step outside of the camouflage and shine!
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.