Leading

It's a privilege to lead a company, a group, a mission or just a number of people. I don't think there's a better vocation than to lead.

People think it's glamorous to lead. Not so - leading is oftentimes a lonely vocation. You have to come in every day and grind it out, spending time by yourself when the entire world depends on you. You alone have to make those decisions that may impact people's lives.

Leading is believing in the best in people. You have to default to think that people are capable of completing a task or accomplishing their responsibility. You have to give faith to people; to believe in the opposite is to set up people for failure.

Leading is thinking long term. Leading in the short term can be painful, with personality conflicts, late deadlines, and missed opportunities. But leading is thinking what the goal is further down the line, and building up tolerance for short-term turbulence.

Leading is welcoming conflict. Leading people will always cause inherent friction, leading missions will always have friction before inertia starts. Leading is welcome that initial conflict as if an old friend. Leading strong personalities is a great thing, for it makes me a stronger leader.

Leading is self discovery. The more you lead, the more you learn about yourself, your weaknesses, your strengths, and your position of impact. Leading forces you to open up yourself to change so that you can make better impact.

Leading is making mistakes. Fundamentally, you can't learn to be a leader without leading, and that means making mistakes as a leader. Leading is also about trying different things, learning fron them, and iterating faster.

Leading is changing the world. There are no innovative efforts without someone leading and changing, despite the status quo. Leading is taking the initiative and wanting to produce some change.

Leading is facing your biggest fears. You don't know half the stuff you should when you lead. You don't know the goal when you do, and half the time the goals keep on changing. And there are still a ton of unknowns left to decipher. But leading is going forward, despite not knowing.

Leading is doing something bigger than yourself. You no longer put yourself and your interests above the group, in fact, you can't. The group, company, and mission has to be bigger. You have to sacrifice and subsume your own ego.

Leading isn't a natural state to be in. But the longer you are in it, the more you realize it's not so uncomfortable. Comfort is a function of how long you are in that state, and the more time you spend being a leader, the more you are used to it.

Leading is a privilege. Welcome to being a leader.