A dear friend of mine from my high school days passed away this week. It was sudden and has taken all of us by surprise. I have been exceptionally moved by this. Reflecting on the news of his passing and reliving some fun memories from our shenanigans in high school, I found my mind going to a place I didn’t expect.
I don’t want to dishonor his memory by making his passing about “work”, but there is a glaring lesson that just screams at me from this whole affair. My friend was only 39 and we haven’t seen each other in a number of years. I began wondering what plans he had going, what dreams he was working towards, and those types of things. Then the thought struck me. What if, as a leader, I’m leading like tomorrow is guaranteed?
I wanted to dismiss this as being overly emotional because of the loss of my friend, but I just couldn’t shake it. I have to wonder if we don’t allow ourselves to become too “comfortable” in how we do leadership. If you know me at all, you know I’m not talking about the tick box routine at work. I mean how do we lead ourselves…our lives. How are we leading our relationships with our partners, kids, friends, and colleagues?
Aside from that, how are you leading that passion that once burned so deep in your gut you just couldn’t sleep? When was the last time you had a sleepless night because of passion for what you do or for your leadership? Maybe it’s time we stir the embers a bit on our leadership and make that an ongoing element of how we choose to lead. A sense of staying fresh, fiery hot, and ready to lead like there may not be a tomorrow.
I know that I have been a bit slack in some areas where I could be more diligent (and by diligent, I don’t mean “busy”). I could have taken action on something and I crafted the cheap, but seemingly indefensible, excuse of “Now is not the right season for that.” While you may have quieted the urgings of others, you’ve also fooled yourself and dampened that fire that drew you to leadership in the first place.
We have given much of our time to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other things to share our ideas and thoughts on leadership, but I can’t help but ask (mostly myself) if now isn’t an opportune time to experience a personal renaissance in the grit and passion of my leadership. Some of you who know me personally might say that I’m plenty passionate, but I know that there is more that I can bring to the table. I know that my well runs deep. Much deeper than I’m dipping my bucket. Let me encourage you to look inwardly and see if a personal renaissance needs to be a part of your own leadership development. Find your fire and set the world ablaze with it.