What do I mean by positive leadership and active career management? Like many of you, I read extensively in areas that offer potential usefulness for my business and my clients. Two of the people I follow are Jon Gordon and Simon Sinek. They frequently share insights that provoke serious thought and suggest new ways to approach our lives and careers. Today I read something from each of them that I want to share, in hopes these ideas will inspire you and help you to move forward with your job search and/or career management.
First, partly off-topic, I’d like to share with those who are facing Hurricane Sandy something Jon Gordon wrote in 2004 (before a hurricane):
“What do you do when a 140mph hurricane is headed straight for your house, your business, your family and your life? This is the question I am asking myself right now. As my heart races and fear attacks I realize the ultimate truth-that security is an illusion….The reality is that no matter how much our ego clamors for control and security and no matter how much we try to create security in all aspects of our life, true security doesn’t really exist. And when we realize that we are truly vulnerable there is nothing left to do but let go of our ego covered armor and false notions of power and security and tap into the ultimate security and greater power.”
Now for Jon’s perspective on positive leadership (in his weekly newsletter): He addressed a group of middle-school students and asked them what actions a positive leader takes–and received some great answers. His article explores the idea that although kids understand we are all positive leaders, as adults we let life fool us into thinking otherwise.
Jon touches on two aspects of this concept: “Feed Yourself with Positivity” and “Feed Others with Positivity.” He offers several suggestions in both categories for taking action. Here are a few of my favorites:
I don’t know about you, but I’m motivated to work on Jon’s suggestions this week. If I can implement even one or two, I’m sure I’ll be pleased at the results those positive leadership actions deliver!
I used to like the word proactive until it got so overused it became meaningless. However, I just read a quote from Simon Sinek (Start With Why) that puts this term in a new light for me: “‘To be proactive’ is a state of being. If it is action we’re looking for, we should stop being proactive and instead proact.” I don’t like “proact” as a verb, although it means “to take action in advance of an expected event,” but I understand Simon’s point. If you consider yourself proactive but haven’t gotten around to implementing active career management, you’re only part of the way there.
Active career management also calls for the positive leadership approach that Jon Gordon advocates. It means to me that you don’t wait for others to make things happen for you; instead, you identify what needs to happen to move your career forward and take the steps needed to achieve that goal. To put it another way, you don’t sit back and hope for the best, even if you see a major obstacle or two looming in your path to success. You scope out the challenges and plan appropriate actions to counter or overcome them–and then you ACT!
So my suggestion is to begin viewing yourself today as expressing positive leadership and active career management and make that view practical in your career and in your life. I see it as a can’t-lose proposition with unlimited potential.