Some people think leaders are born. Others believe (myself included) that leaders are made; shaped by their experiences.
They say hindsight is 20/20. Your leadership experiences and observations have likely taught you much over the course of your career. In life and leadership there are probably things you wish you’d known or figured out sooner that would have saved you time and pain along the way.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your leadership career? This is the thing you wished you’d known when you were younger, and would have made your leadership career easier and better.
If you could leverage your wisdom to make a change earlier in your life’s trajectory, what advice would you share with your younger self?
In a letter to her 20-year-old self, Oprah Winfrey advised, “see yourself with your own eyes.” She claimed her younger self “spent too many days and years trying to please others and be what they wanted [her] to be.”
I recently published a leadership series based on the article Top 5 Regrets of the Dying as documented by a palliative care nurse. Not surprisingly, among the biggest regrets were these: Wishing that they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not what others expected; wishing they’d not worked so hard; wishing they’d stayed in better touch with friends; wishing they’d had the courage to express their feelings; and wishing they’d let themselves be happier.
I asked my executive coaching clients to share the important lessons they wish they’d learned earlier.
They see these as important lessons not only for themselves, but also as sage advice they can coach their employees to implement sooner.
- Listen more
- Be yourself (authentic)
- Take risks and don’t be afraid to make mistakes
- Be open and curious
- Don’t worry what other people think
- Have confidence
- Underpromise and overdeliver
- Be proactive
- Always ask questions (because there are no dumb questions)
- Keep learning
- Do what’s right, not what’s easy
- Focus on opportunities instead of problems
- Demonstrate humility
Here’s the advice I’d give my younger self: HAVE FUN! I spent too long taking things and myself way too seriously. Laugh every day. Enjoy the journey!
What is the BEST piece of advice you would give your younger self in JUST TWO WORDS? Fill in the blanks in the comments section below.