04 Oct Leap!
The original name for this post was “The End.” I’ve been a word person my whole life and it seemed ironic to me to name the first post “The End.” But even though The End is what allowed me to make this beginning, I am at the point where I only want to look ahead and so I think of it as the leap forward instead of the end of the last chapter.
After nearly 20 years with the same company, I decided to make a change. That decision to leave took somewhere between 2 days and 5 years…depending on when you start counting.
First, I have to state clearly that I had an amazing career at a special place that encouraged taking risk, failing, and unparalleled levels of empowerment. So nothing written in this blog or this posting should ever be perceived as a negative against the company…only a positive reason to seize a different future.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Leap and the net shall appear.” Since I leapt, I have found that to be incredibly true.
My goal of this blog is to give insights into leadership, marketing, business, and my journey in all of these areas. But first I want to share why I’m here. So to kick things off, here are the top 5 reasons I decided to leap and the takeaway I hope you get from each one…
- There are nets outside your comfort zone.
I attained great success at my company. I contributed record profits in two business units (in my first year at each of them) and I knew my job was super secure long term. But I needed to prove to myself I could be equally impactful in a different environment. Takeaway: Comfort zones are made to be broken out of. There are nets outside your comfort zone.
- Listen to your gut and your heart–they know what you want (and what you don’t).
I was in the process of renegotiating my compensation. And when I realized it would require me signing a contract of 3-5 years, that kept stopping me. Takeaway: Your gut and heart know what you want (and what you don’t) so make your brain–and your mouth–listen to them.
- Know when to get out of the way and let the next generation take charge.
One of the toughest obstacles for me was leaving the people that worked for me. I was a CEO of a $70 million subsidiary with about 45 employees…some who’d been with me for 15 years or more. And I don’t take lightly that many of those people made a choice to leave other positions or accept a job with us because they wanted to work for me/learn from me/be part of the team I built and the culture I created. Takeaway: As a leader, you have a responsibility to your employees but it does not override your responsibility to yourself. Second takeaway: If you aren’t 110% committed, you are no longer the best leader for the team. Get out of the way and let the next generation take charge. Trust that you left them a strong foundation and they will do great things…and some amazing things you never would have thought of.
- Listen to the people around you.
My father used to say “When 10 people tell you you’re drunk, lie down.” (It was a metaphor!) Well, a LOT of people have been approaching me about consulting or taking on other jobs. It was clear that, even though I had a great gig, there was more for me out there and I had to seize the opportunity. But instead of lying down, I needed to leap! Takeaway: Listen to the people around you. Sometimes they know more about what you should do (and shouldn’t do) than you realize. And you may be sending out signals that you’re ready for something different without even knowing you are.
- Create movement and watch what happens.
When you are “stuck” in one part of your life, it brings “stuckness” into other parts of your life. More importantly, though, the opposite is true. That’s why when you start a new hobby or visit a new place, it impacts how you think…how you do your job…how you approach your relationship…everything. Even if things are going well, you may be in a rut and need something new to impact the rest of your life. It’s why I love New York City. Its energy gives me energy. It makes me more curious and smarter. Takeaway: Change begets change. Growth begets growth. When you move things forward in one area of your life, you create movement everywhere. If you are stuck somewhere, create movement anywhere and watch what happens.
So there you have it…a glimpse into how I got here. But more importantly, I hope you got at least one takeaway that is valuable to you.
I’d love to hear feedback – let me know what I got right or wrong, share your ideas, or let me know other topics you’d like me to cover. Please leave a comment, send a tweet to @jeneratemktg, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
p.s. So this is WAY more than 99 words…but it is the last one that will ever be this long. Promise!