I turned 40 this year. I suppose your perspective on this number depends somewhat upon which side of the hill you’re on, but, statistically speaking, I’m halfway through my 80.2 years averaged by the U.S. Census Bureau earlier this year, so I’d better get busy.
This isn’t a bad thing, by far. In fact, most 40-somethings tell me that 40 is the guidepost for re-evaluating one’s progress and affirming what it is you really want or need. So, I’ve embraced this year — like every other — as a blessing and an opportunity to get clear about my life’s purpose and how I intend to live out my second half.
What does this have to do with leadership? There’s nothing like a milestone to crystalize the presence of change in our lives. And with change comes the need to measure our performance, assess our intentions, and offer answers to deceptively simple questions that end up being highly consequential to the way we lead. Am I hitting my goals? Am I retaining relevance? Am I challenging myself? Am I making a difference?
Some of these questions can be answered internally, but, for others, we need insight from trusted advisors. When did you last talk with a fellow colleague or mentor about your contribution to the industry that you’re attempting to influence? When was the last time you found yourself on a steep learning curve? The last time you looked at your individual development plan? If it’s been a while (I’ll admit it has been for me), then there’s no need to wait for a milestone — create one. There’s no time like the present for a 360° assessment on life and leadership. So, before the year is up, I plan to step back from my projects long enough to gain the perspective I need to live my bucket list and effectively manage my leadership brand.
I encourage you to do the same and share your discoveries with me on the new NELI.net. I hope you find that you are on track toward your goals, aligned with the perception that others have of your leadership, and in great shape to create the future you imagine for yourself, your family, your community, and your organization.
Mentioning milestones, CareerFOCUS Magazine is celebrating two of its own this year — 25 years in circulation and the presentation of the 20th Annual Eagle Awards. For the 20th consecutive year, we, in collaboration with the National Eagle Leadership Institute, are thrilled to recognize women and men who exemplify Leadership in Forward Thinking. We salute them and their organizations for lifting bold ideas and setting a higher standard of leadership, and I invite you to meet this year’s class in the November/December edition of CareerFOCUS Magazine.
Live long and lead well,