Part of being a leader, of being an executive – and we are each the CEO of our own life, is doing the important work and letting go of, delegating the rest. As CEO we decide the focus and major imperatives at any given time. If I am not a strong CEO, then the Board, the market, the wind and the daily circumstance will decide my path and I will blindly go along not realizing how off course I have become. In my analogy, we have a Board of Directors who supports us and gives us latitude, or better yet, we are also Chairman of the Board. We do not do this in a vacuum and we can seek input for sure, but at the end of the day, it is our decisions that count.
We see the bigger picture and how each decision either takes us toward or away from those imperatives and our vision. If it takes us away, even if it is a wonderful and worthy thing, we have to say no. For saying anything other than no does harm to the very thing we decided to do. Perhaps the goal is to be revised, but that is another discussion altogether. Perhaps the scope must be redefined for the allotted time period but if the goal is the goal then anything else is distraction.
The difficulty in saying no arises from fear. I have done so many things in my life because of some sort of fear of not doing it. Fear that I would offend, fear that I would let someone down, fear that no one else could do it as well as I could (boy, is that a big load of self-important drivel, but it is okay I know better now), fear that I would miss out if I didn’t. Pair this with a misguided belief that somehow I could do something that no one else could or should do and that somehow, despite the facts, it would end up being a good thing if I could coax that square peg into the round hole. That got me a nice big bag of trouble…and some excellent learning and growth experiences.
So let’s drop the fears, let’s be true to ourselves, let’s maintain focus on what moves us forward and makes the best use of our talents, skills and unique magnificence. Isn’t that what we are here to do? Let’s embrace the journey and the process and let us find the joy in living true and excelling at the level that only doing just that can produce.