I love a good plan. It’s great to have it all mapped out….to know where you are going and when you will get there. To have your forward progress all lined up is a responsible approach and a winning strategy!
And then there’s real life.
I think sometimes that not knowing the destination or the outcome becomes a psychological barrier to forward movement. Making small decisions becomes more difficult because of a concern that this tiny choice is going to lead down some great, unchangeable, permanent path…
…and that sounds scarey!
I was once offered the Assistant Manager job at a hamburger joint in Austin, TX. My initial reaction was to reject it. I did not aspire to be the manager of a hamburger restaurant.
Now it’s important to understand that at the moment I was rejecting this offer I was a directionless, college dropout. I did not have a clue as to what I wanted to do with my life. Flippin’ burgers in that very same restaurant…well enough, apparently, to warrant some consideration for the Assistant Manager job…was my station in life at that moment.
I was talked into taking the position by a gentleman who, to my surprise, turned into one of the most influential mentors in my early career life.
He was the new Manager of the hamburger restaurant and I was surprised at how well he was doing managing our team. I was surprised because he came to us with ZERO experience in the hamburger business. He was a retired member of the military and therefore, I thought, not hamburger restaurant material.
What I thought I knew before I met him, but had never seen in real time and did not fully appreciate, was this idea that leadership is a skill that transcends circumstance. In other words, his leadership skills were far more important than his experience with a spatula.
He talked me into taking that job and it was my first experience in a paid leadership position. It was an early step toward my interest in, and education about, the world of leadership.
An education that continues to this day, though to what end I do not know…..
…except to say happily forward.