Maybe you can relate to this: do you ever feel like you’re driving the car down the road while the car is still being built? As the leader of your team, you must set an example, so perhaps this article will help you keep up your morale and motivation––internally and externally.
Pause to consider. You may find these three little words help you encourage employees who are feeling the same pressures.
Once you’ve accepted the change that is coming, and found a way to keep moving toward your goal, the fun can really begin. Your inner explorer will come out and help you. It is true that trying new things stimulates different places in your brain, including parts of the pleasure centers. This helps you keep pressing onward. That endorphin rush can keep you motivated. Why else would extreme sports be exploding all over the world?
Many great authors have used the quote, “Courage is not the absence of fear” in one way or the other. Explorers need courage. Leaders need courage! We are the explorers of the new century, seeking out new ways to keep our people employed and our businesses open. This is critical territory that we must claim. We must keep searching and stake our claim when we find the new ground. Our industry and our staff depend on us. Leadership is a frightening burden to begin with, so we need to call on our most basic survival instincts to push us forward when times get tough. We’re in good company. Our predecessors, who built this great country, surely felt the same way.
How do we find the next new thing or answer? The same way we always have: we speak with others in our field, keep up our education and do our research. Today’s generation does the research on the Internet and not the library, and our classes are often online instead of in a classroom, but the process is the same. We chat with our fellow industry peers by e-mail or text or telephone instead of going to so many meetings. This may not be quite as fun, but it is effective. Regarding meeting face to face: a study several years ago indicated that visual, physical contact with other humans causes an increase in creative thought, because all five senses can be engaged. So, just in case they are right about that, you might want to keep going to “real” meetings occasionally to keep your right brain stimulated.
The adrenaline rush of speeding past the fear of the unknown is well documented in each of us. Most of us have had that moment in our own lives where we felt the joy of being courageous and getting results. So think of the next phase, the new product, the next technology or the new workflow as an adventure to begin right now. Enjoy the moment for what it is: another day, another adventure, another chance to change your part of the world. Managers have that joy every day, because we directly influence the lives of others. If they see that spirit of adventure in action in you, maybe they’ll just catch it from you!
Lisa Harrington is vice president of IRMI, and is responsible for all aspects of marketing, conference management, client services and sales. Previous engagements include COO and acting CEO of the Network of Vertafore Users (NetVU), and over 10 years as vice president of education for the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. She has more than 30 years of experience in the American Agency System as a leader, author, and trainer. Ms. Harrington resides in Southlake, Texas with her husband and many four-legged loved ones.
For more information about Lisa’s book, Taking In Strays: Leadership Lessons from Unexpected Places, please visit www.TakingInStrays.com.