Nov 5, 2012
Moments in Time
When I was 21 years old, life was staring at me and I couldn’t even blink. I had no idea what was ahead of me. Taking on marriage, fatherhood and trying to figure out “what I wanted to be when I grew up” was a lot to take on all at one time. Can you relate?
Knowing the next move is always a mystery, and life seems to provide endless complications. Economic complications, personal complications, professional complications. Nevertheless, there was a choice to be made. No matter where you are in your life, your path is yours to decide. When I realized that I had the opportunity to make some changes, I saw a set of actions that propelled me forward on my journey. These defining moments are what led me to write this book, and share my experiences with you. Perhaps my journey can help you with yours.
At the ripe old age of 21, the stakes were high – but my determination was greater. I was determined to rise above my circumstances – circumstances that may not be that different from the challenges that you are facing today. While I can’t say that I had a clear path, I had a clear decision. In order to change my situation, I had to decide to move past the status quo.
There was a time when I looked at the pieces of my life, and stopped asking “Why me?” I realized that looking outwardly at external factors (like the state of the economy, or slow data rates, or even my own personal missteps) was a mistake. I had to focus on the things I could control, and change what I could for the sake of my family, and my future.
It may sound silly or immature (I’ll leave other adjectives to you to decide), but I consciously committed to move forward with a relentless pursuit of “Greatness.” While we each define greatness differently, the bottom line is all of us desire to achieve it. Just starting my twenties, I don’t know if I had a clear definition of “greatness” – but I knew I needed to move forward, and turn my situation around. Today, I’m still finding out what “greatness” means, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever reach it. But, the greatest thing that I can share with you is the way I have made changes along my journey. That’s really what this book is about: sharing my experiences in a way that can make your journey more productive and rewarding. My hope is that my observations and insights, whatever they may be, will help you tap into your own personal leadership skills.
The journey to greatness is worth getting excited about. It’s been my experience that this journey is as much an internal one as a pursuit of a destination or goal. Leadership can happen at any level, and leadership skills exist outside of titles and roles. So keep your eyes on the road ahead – because your defining moments are out there just waiting to be realized.
Why The Past Matters
It is often said that the past is just that, “The Past” and there is no point in looking back.
I don’t think there is a saying that could be more wrong.
The past is like a vault full of riches that we can all learn so much from. Greatness comes to those who learn from the past, and create a future that’s based on a fresh perspective.
One of the signposts on the journey ahead: “He who has never failed, has probably never attempted to do much.”
It is in our many attempts to accomplish many things that we will succeed. But success is hardly guaranteed.
Failure is where you will find your compass. My failures are the source of my success. And coping with the inevitable disappointment is the way you will define your career, and your character.
I believe that failure isn’t truly a failure, if you learn from it and take action – you’ve got to keep moving forward. Failure itself was a lesson that would help that helps you make the next attempt a success.
“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” – John Burroughs, American conservationist
You must always drive forward in your career, but you cannot and should not ever blatantly ignore the past. You can not deny the expertise of other generations. You can not deny your own expertise, and your own intuition. Within the past lie moments of great instruction; in the future you will realize the fruits of your learning.
This Book Is About Y-O-U
So enough about me. What I really want to talk about is you?
Of course your story isn’t fully written, and that is why you are reading this book. If you are a Millennial (like me) then chances are your story is just beginning. But new beginnings – and new perspectives – are not generation-specific. Understanding how to manage and lead across generations is a skill that we all need to learn.
So this isn’t a book about Millennials, really. It’s about a Millennial perspective – in fact, a Millennial CEO perspective – but you got that from the title. My story is about someone who has worked with all the generations before him, and plans to work with every generation that comes next. Regardless of where you are in life, the choice to be great is your own. And remember, that age is a state of mind. If you are an ineffective jerk, that probably has more to do with your personality than the date on your birth certificate. Wouldn’t you agree?
Ultimately, this book is about personal effectiveness. Can you get things done, when you need to? Can you inspire others, when you need them? Can you harness technology, when your business demands it?
You can be certain that your impact will be limited to how well you can influence others. Influence is the centerpiece of leadership. Influence is what many Millennials lack; but this belief needs a makeover. The leaders of tomorrow are those who understand the secrets of influence.
While the stories that inspired much of the content here may be based on my experiences, these lessons in leadership, social media and personal effectiveness are universal. Look inside your organization – in fact, look into every organization with a heartbeat – and you will find a need for leadership. What’s your story, when it’s time for you to lead?
I believe that your success in business (and in life) will be dependent on three things:
- Social IQ – are you savvy in the ways of social media? How about just plain ol’ social skills, in real life?
- Operations – are you effective when it comes time to “get it done”?
These three subjects comprise the main sections of this book.
- Leadership: At the very highest level your journey will start and stop as fast as you can lead. Leadership is more than just how you motivate others, but your entire approach to human interaction. No matter how much you believe that you can do something on your own, you cannot. We need each other, and you need others to accelerate your journey. The ability to influence those whose life you touch will directly affect your ability to accomplish anything you aspire to achieve. So, how do you make the connections that matter?
- Social and Technology: The world is quickly getting smaller because of the rapid proliferation of technology. The ability to connect with just about anyone on earth is now at our fingertips – changing the way we work, interact and live our lives. Technology has leveled the playing field, and made every industry smaller. Your ability to reach your target audience has become easier, but not necessarily simpler. You have the opportunity to embrace technology and use it as a spring board to your success. However you must be cautious! We are all more exposed than ever, as technology brings our connections closer than ever – sometimes, even too close for comfort!
- Operations: The application of your leadership and your social influence to drive the results that matter. Throughout my career, I have seen that a strategy is only as good as its execution. You have to operate within the context of leadership and social awareness, but apply those skills in a way that creates results. This section of the book will share some of the more difficult lessons I have learned, as I’ve applied (and attempted to apply!) my most significant strategies.
Throughout the book we will explore how these cross-generational topics can influence your journey, and lead you toward your own personal greatness.
As you navigate through the book, I challenge you to put yourself in my shoes. Why couldn’t you be the Millennial CEO? And, if you are from a different generation, don’t let your birthday keep you from being effective with everyone you influence. Today is the perfect day to start being more productive, and more deliberate in your pursuit of greatness.
Think about how you would handle a situation I bring up or how you may be able to apply a lesson that I perhaps had to learn the hard way. While the knowledge that I have gained through experience may make up the words on the page, it is your application that will resonate as you continue to create your story.
Are you interested in being one of the first to read “The Millennial CEO?” Drop me a line and I will put you on a priority list to receive a first release copy. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org