As I write this, a new year has already begun and I am thinking, “What’s next in my life? What is 2022 looking like?” Maybe you are thinking about this too?
I am not getting old, but I am gaining gray…..wisdom, right? Let’s step forward into the year with confidence, creativity, courage, and make a difference! We often think of changing others for the better, and while that is noble, it’s even better to start with our own lives. As
John says, “You must learn to lead yourself before you can lead others.” One of our greatest and most significant challenges is the person that looks back at us in the mirror.
“You must learn to lead yourself before you can lead others.” John Maxwell
Every once in a while I like to take a moment to look back - how far did I come in 2021? I am not saying to drive forward using the rearview mirror, but as in driving, one must check the mirror to know what’s going on around you.
I realize I am fortunate to have had a corporate career that has allowed me to raise a family, and put away enough savings that I could leave my corporate job. It is unfortunate that the job became exactly that - a job. I worked for 3 companies in 33 years, and never had to move locations (other than to a home office during Covid 2020-21) :) ). I achieved a position that I aspired to, Chief Chemist, despite not having an advanced degree. And even though the last company has different requirements in order to hold the same position and title, that is only a small part of what influenced me leaving “early”.
There were several accumulating “reasons” that led to retiring early; and these are all lessons that I am using as we move our entrepreneurial footforward. Communication - Good communication is key. Of course, this is obvious, but at the moment, any communication may seem to be sufficient.
My last corporate project involved leading a team to bring a new product to the market. I’ll admit that the project idea was not mine, but it had lots of promise. The phrase “game changer” had been used, as early as 2018 - and yet, the project was put off in 2019 for the company's economic reasons. The team “gave back” $200k from its budget to support the ($30B) company. Additionally, I then prepared for the team to hit the ground running in 2020, but I could never get approval to move forward. It was June 2020, before receiving word that the project would be reviewed again for validity and purpose. I never understood (read “lack of adequate communication”) why this amount of investment and 15 months delay could keep a “game changer'' from moving forward!?
Another reason for “retiring early” is that during my mid-year review, my supervisor removed a key career goal from my company profile. Many of you already know in 2015, Kris (my wife) and I joined the John Maxwell Team. At that time, the organization had around 5,000 members (today it has over 41,000 from 169 countries around the world). We joined with the ultimate goal of having our own business, but at the start, it was to make a difference where we were. I added an intentional John Maxwell statement to my career profile in 2016. I started using masterminds with the team I led at the time, and it grew to opportunities with other plant personnel, and one of my favorites was with 4 manufacturing associates. In July, 2021 after a year of reorganization and at my mid-year review, my manager, at the time, looked at the following:
Profile statement: I would like to offer my John Maxwell Leadership training to help develop the personal growth and leadership skills of others.
and said, “Well, this no longer matters.” <DELETE>
There was no discussion. There was no request for feedback. Sure, I could have argued, but the “writing was already on the wall”, due to the reorganization process. To some, leadership is purely positional. For me, leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. (Thanks John Maxwell). I recognized that my manager was in a positional leadership role, and this review was the shortest one ever for me. He was a manager. He was not a leader.
This really brings me to my major reason for moving on.
I had reached a point of stagnating growth that was no longer acceptable - to me. It was time to change. I started the staircase climb.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Martin Luther King
Within 3 months, I had moved on. This was one of the most daring things I had ever done. Leaving a fixed (good) salary, medical benefits, 401k matching (4%) - what was I thinking?!
I was thinking - I have so much more to offer!
I have been studying personal growth and becoming everything I was meant to be so that I could, in turn, help others grow into everything they were meant to be.
In the next year, what are the MOST important things that YOU want to accomplish? For me, I want to add value to others in their pursuit to be and become everything they EVER wanted to be!
YOU have so much more potential!
YOUR TEAM has so much more potential!
“Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
Another lesson John taught me. That means it is your responsibility to lead yourself well - make the appropriate decisions at the appropriate times. And YOU have the responsibility to help everyone that falls within your “team.” This doesn’t mean it has to be done personally, rather, growing others (team leads), that grow others within the team.
How will this apply in 2022?
At Leadership Harbor, our plan and focus: 2022 - Empowering YOU!
And if we can come alongside you and your team, we would feel honored.