Changing Direction.

Direction.               I’ve been witness to people who lamented their professional position in life.  The root cause could be anything from wages, people, hours or the work itself.  The bottom line from all of those unhappy situations was the people were unsatisfied.  Something about their path was not fulfilling their personal desires.  Let’s be honest.  Sometimes we have to get over our personal desires in order to fulfill our obligations (i.e. pay bills).  What if you could change your situation? Would you? The optimist in our hearts yells YES, but the realist (or pessimist) in our heads keeps us from jumping off the proverbial cliff.

               This post is going to focus on the leader. Turn the above scenario around to someone in a position of leadership within an organization.  It is hard to consider leaving such a position.  However, there are times when for the good of the person or the good of the business, it is time to part ways.  Working hard and earning a position of leadership is a commendable accomplishment.  To transition those leadership skills to a new organization is a tough challenge.  Instead of being comfortable with the people and processes, starting a new opportunity is sort of like learning a foreign language. There is also a sense of proving oneself all over again–not always a positive aspect of change, but it can be. That fresh start and new ground may make all the difference in the world to the leader.  In that regard, it is exciting and thrilling to see the potential and the promise that a new opportunity holds.  

                Where does that opportunity lay?  It is not an easy task to figure out, because our heads and hearts are sometimes conflicted between what we should do and what we want to do. I believe that part of the overall success of great leaders comes from self-awareness: people who spend time understanding their own motivations and desires and figure out where those particular personal elements fit into the world. Those people are envied, because they are able to turn their passion into a career, which alters the entire landscape of the work environment.  When we feel satisfied or fulfilled by our contributions, our overall attitude toward work shifts.  Not to say every day is roses and sunshine, but the overall purpose of our efforts is valuable, which in turn adds value to us as people. 

                  To bring this point to a close, leaders should not fear changing their surroundings or breaking out of their comfort zone.  However, my recommendation is to find that one opportunity that makes your heart flutter, because that is where you will truly succeed.   

-Lori Buresh

CEO, The Professional Development Team

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  1. #1 by Dr. Dan Price, DM, PMP on February 19, 2013 - 4:20 pm

    Lori,
    Good thoughts! Your comments caused me to think back to when I worked in the IT industry at MCI and as a COO of a software company. Many leaders in the technical realm really don’t want to be leaders or managers (There is a difference.). Sometimes, IT folks enjoyed doing the technical work and didn’t enjoy the “people side” of the business. However due to their technical expertise, they were promoted. It became a problem for the organization and the individual. The leader became unhappy and sometimes left the company. Now the company lost critical expertise and still needed to fill the position left behind. Organizations need to be careful when it comes to leadership and the preferences of highly skilled individuals. Sometimes it is best to leave people where they are and let them contribute in their “comfort zones” instead of moving them into leadership.
    Dan

  2. #2 by brownbearrealestatecom on February 19, 2013 - 4:35 pm

    Thank you Lori. You always manage to give us food for thought. In order to add to your insight by way of personal experience, I also find that if we can manage to center on our Self, who We Are, and recognize that comparisons to “others” or even “outside” measurements in defining success can not only stand in the way of our success but serve to limit our success entirely. This is further evidenced by the way in which we can choose to “compete” in not only constructed games but in many life opportunities. We can create opportunity where all involved benefit and succeed. Upon discovery, let us be mindful and create that where all derive benefit and succeed. Change is a valued ally in all of this creation. If we recognize the full value of our Self and contribution in all that we do, that being who we are in all of this, we have in fact discovered the “flutter” you descibe as the success we seek not only in what we do, but who We Are.

  3. #3 by Dean Johnson on February 21, 2013 - 4:02 pm

    This is a great topic that is very relevant during these “turbulent” times. I am referring to turbulence not only in an economic sense but in the deep changes that we are experiencing during this stage of our existence. By “stage in our existence” I am reference history and broader society and its generational impact. We are experiencing dramatic change that is driven by IT and related technologies, much like industrialization affected broader society and the lives of its individuals. Add to that the economic “crisis” that is driven by significant structural changes, including the changing geo-economic landscape. We are experiencing a transformational period in our history much like the one that took place about 100 years ago. So, enough of the background of my comments…

    All of these factors intersect with our personal desires to live a fulfilling life. As we are exposed to many more “things” in life, something that is greater for each new generation, we are exposed to different ways of fulfilling our desires and purpose. As we live longer and healthier, our options are greater – we can undertake more actions to fulfill ourselves as we have more active stages in our life…making transformational decisions.

    I began to undertake such a transformational period several years ago, as I felt that I was not living a fulfilling life. It has taken several years, actually, and I am living that transformation in its current and ongoing state. The question remains, when can I actually say that I have transformed. I left the global business development world, one in which I dedicated myself professionally for a quarter of a century [or 25 years, whichever sounds longer ;-)]. I was living an excited professional life, working with businesses from different countries and industries, while traveling and living in different countries. But deep down inside, something was missing. I went through a process to find out what that was. This process involved personal development tools like Stephen Covey’s “The 8th Habit” and spiritual teachings from Eckhart Tolle (your conscience is a critical part of your transformation). I am now working in the space of “human capacity building,” focusing on personal development. The individual has to find his/her solution. I lead people through a same/similar process that I went through, except this one is more defined and less trial and error. I don’t lead people within an organization, like I used to. Rather, I lead people externally through a network of organizations.

    • #4 by The Professional Development Team on February 21, 2013 - 6:45 pm

      Thank you for your insightful comment Dean. Do you think a more refined approach works better for personal transformation or should we go through some experiences and learn through fire? Admittedly I would love to have had advice during some of my more memorable mistakes but I wonder if I would have really listened. Would I have ‘transformed’ into who I am today without those lessons learned? I can definitely see value in leading people through methods to find self-awareness and I’m a big Covey fan. Sort of like the chicken and the egg.. do we need self-awareness to find our personal solution or by plowing our personal path forward do we find our self-awareness?

  4. #5 by Dean Johnson on February 22, 2013 - 3:28 pm

    I like your reference to chicken-and-egg. I believe that both are relevant and, to what extent one leads the other, depend on the individual. Looking back at my experience, and knowing myself, I am not sure that I would have listened to someone’s advice. I may have listened to a certain extent and also stumbled my way through this process. But that is me. I believe that people in general could use coaching in this process – to help them through self-awareness and then to implement whatever it is they wish to transform. Coaching is growing as a tool, initially limited to those who can afford it, but will be expanding to another market segment. It is part of our evolution as a society and its individual members. Not to get too caught up in “high level” thought, this is the next phase of our evolution as people and society – seeking to satisfy a need.

  5. #6 by brownbearrealestatecom on February 28, 2013 - 6:10 pm

    By way of a possible answer to the Professional Development Team question: “Do we need self awareness to find our personal solution or by plowing our personal path forward do we find our self awareness?” I suggest recognition to be most helpful in all things. When we recognize who We Are we can direct intention and motivation mindfully. A mindful objective is a fast track to success professionally as well as personally. The pitfalls we experience without awareness can often delay or prevent desired objective. I would also comment that if you do not know what you want to accomplish it is difficult to know when you have accomplished your objective.

    This then is the primary objective: Know who you Are. In this knowing you will experience the connection to all things. The investment in personal awareness is where creativity and vision lives and is the key to all that we seek.

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