Launching: Part II – Three Steps to Personal Leadership
Step #1: Know Yourself Intimately.
Before you launch your personal vessel, doesn’t it make sense to know everything about it, from stem to stern and from port to starboard? Be clear about your personal operating systems, your strengths AND weaknesses. When you are launching your own ship, you will want to develop a strategy for learning more about what you don’t know you don’t know! Many people put on a Captain’s hat without having the necessary knowledge and skills to reach their destination without running aground or getting lost at sea.
You see, it’s my opinion that before you set sail in any direction, it would be best if you know everything you can about yourself as the captain of your destiny, a metaphor for your life.
When my husband and I bought a membership in Sail Time a few years ago, we immediately went through a thorough orientation about the equipment on board, especially life-vests, first aid, GPS and the ever important instructions for the use of the Head! So, before launching your own personal leader-ship, get to know yourself inside and out!
Step #2: Be Clear About Your Destination.
In order to launch your personal leadership you need to know where you are headed and why. You might be surprised at how many people cannot (or are afraid to) clearly tell you where they want to go next. My own personal experience of selling my first business without a clear picture of my next career move was much like launching my ship with no motor or wind! I don’t recommend it unless you like sleepless nights and stress-filled days. FYI, this is where I could have used a good coach, and, in fact, ultimately found that path to my second career.
Recently, I had the occasion to talk with a young man at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. He was in his mid-30’s, had a seven year old son, came from a good family, had reasonable education and 17 jobs! in his lifetime….and was still looking for the next. Clearly, he was adrift and rudderless. I offered him a free assessment and some coaching just to help him get some direction in his life, along with some clarity of what he might need on his journey to help him reach his destination.
Step #3: Continue to monitor your internal and external operating systems (inside of the larger context of the environment surrounding your vessel).
Earlier this year, my husband, Chris, and I chartered a 46’ Hunter sailboat for a 10 day adventure in the Virgin Islands with five of our grown children. All but one on board were experienced sailors and Chris and I (first mate) had sailed our own Hunter model for over a year. Nevertheless, the charter company insisted that the Captain and I partake in an extensive, 3 hour briefing of every aspect and function of the vessel before we were allowed to leave the slip. We take this for granted, for safety purposes. Why would we not use this same detailed monitoring of our own operating system throughout our journey?
A. Equipment Check: Think of systems and procedures as your own personal operating manual. It needs to be updated as you go. When I first started sailing there was no such thing as GPS; now I wouldn’t go out sailing without it! We all have an internal guidance and navigations system if we take the time to tune in to it.
B. Weather: Check for changes in the weather! Sometimes it’s easy to be lulled into thinking the boat can steer itself! Whether you encounter a small tropical storm that passes or a hurricane, you need to be ready for the challenge with the right skills and discernment to make appropriate responses. If we are to learn from the sailing metaphor, heading straight into the wind is rarely the fastest way to the mark. Often the shortest route requires us to tack back and forth. “Calm seas do not make good sailors”, and rough water will test your sailing skills. And then, there are times when the best thing to do is pull into port and batten down till the storm passes because the risks are simply too great. Good leaders must also learn to exercise good judgment.
C. Monitor Yourself: As the Captain, you may determine to abandon your course setting all together and look for new horizons! Perhaps you have seen a bigger vision for yourself as a leader of others. In any case…. these are among the many choices we get to make when we take the responsibility for being the Captain of our own Leader Ship.
Are you fully launched as the leader in your own life?
If so, how’s the journey?