In Action, Change, Leaders

“Live with fewer things that have greater meaning.” – Dominique Browning

One of the constant battles for leaders is how to spend our time doing things that really matter. We get pulled in so many different directions by so many different people and events that we often fail to address important things, strategic things, future-oriented things. Which means we fail to do one of our most important jobs as leaders – build a future for our business.

Part of the problem is we sometimes feel that as leaders we have to be everything to everybody or somehow we’ve failed. If we can’t solve every problem, or if we can’t come up with every great idea, or if we can’t mediate every conflict, then we’re not good enough. We’re not the leader we’re supposed to be.

That’s garbage. No one can do all of those things. No can anyone reasonably be expected to do all of those things. Yet we chase after all of that noise. One of the big reasons is that we’re part of a society that has decided that busy = successful, that the more stuff you take on the more successful you are. Never mind the fact that taking on all that stuff usually means that you’re not doing any of it exceptionally well.

Get out of that rut. Figure out what’s really important, where your unique abilities lie, where you can have the biggest impact, and stay in that space. Find somebody else to do the stuff you can’t. We’ve convinced ourselves that lots of unnecessary things are necessary. There are meetings you don’t need to have, emails you don’t need to write, phone calls you don’t need to make, projects you don’t need to do.

The hard part is to convince yourself that you get to define what needs to be done. There are things you might want do, or things other people would like you to do, or things you think probably should be done, but those things don’t actually need to be done. What is really necessary?

Creating your vision is not optional. It needs to be done. Thinking strategically is not optional. It needs to be done. Having crucial conversations with people who matter is not optional. It needs to be done. If you choose not to do those things, then you’re choosing not to have a business in the future. And if you’re not going to have a business in the future, then what’s the point of trying to do all that other stuff?

Success as a leader doesn’t mean doing more stuff. It means doing the important stuff at a really high level. Does that describe you? Or are you currently failing?

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