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It ain’t perfect

As my regular readers know, I did a soft launch of The Human Leader™ blog just before Christmas.  Since then, I’ve written a couple of articles to limber up, played around with some media and shortcodes and in general had some fun on the test drive.

Now, if your reading this on an email, and you haven’t been to the site, you might not know that it still needs some work. Wait, if you haven’t been to the site, what’s the holdup?  Get on over there and see it!  If you are reading this on the site, you know there are some things that still need to be done.

Some might say I should fix it before I post anymore.  They could be right, and my first inclination is to present a perfect site to everyone.  But honestly, part of being a human leader is to stop trying to be perfect. I will fix it, but it has to fit in with the rest of the to do list (which better be soon!).

In the meantime, I thought it was about time to explain what The Human Leader is all about.  Now, you can go to the about page to learn some of the history, but today, I want to delve a little deeper into why I am doing this.

 Two and a half decades…, seriously?

Put simply, The Human Leader is the result of over 2 1/2 decades of learning about leadership, implementing leadership, failing in leadership and discovering that leaders are not born, but developed over time.

26 years ago, I started my first entrepreneurial venture.  I had graduated college with an engineering degree and was working in the consulting division of the biggest of the Big 8 accounting and consulting firms (for you old folks, there is now only the Big 4, due to mergers and one huge implosion called Enron and Arthur Andersen).

I was making good money and learning and growing. I was figuring out the stock market, trying some investments here and there and always looking to earn more income, trying to reach that magic number I needed for secure retirement. Yes, even in my twenties, I was planning for the golden age of retirement, which I calculated was going to be about age 45.

And I wasn’t content. I didn’t like my job. I liked the people I worked with well enough, but I didn’t like being the low person on the totem pole. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was supposed to.  And I thought, “I’m not going to make enough to retire at 45 so I’m going to do this for the next 40 years? Shoot me now.” “Someone should make me a Partner in the firm, I can do what they do.”and on and on.

So when a friend showed me an opportunity to stop trading time for money, after moving past my initial skepticism and doubt, I jumped in.

I read the books. I listened to the successful people in the business. I went to the seminars, I bought the latest training items. I listened to motivational talks, I learned sales techniques and did everything I was supposed to do.

And guess what, I never made a dime on that business.

Here’s the thing.  I would see these successful men and women up on stage and just know I would be joining them some day. There was a book every month that would come in the mail and I would read it and think, “This is it.  This is the missing piece for me. I would get a cassette tape in the mail every week (for you young folks, a cassette tape is something that people used to play in their cars while they were driving). I would listen to the cassette and think, “This is it. As soon as I do what she or he says, my business will take off.”

I spent lots of years and lots of hard earned money believing that somehow I would finally make it happen, but I never did.

All the books I read, all the techniques I learned, all the talks I heard, were wonderfully motivational, instructional and inspirational, and many of them were helpful.

Those books gave lots of awesome information on things to DO to change, new habits, things to say, techniques, etc. But, beyond the standard list of “do these things for 21 days and then you have a new habit”, there was virtually nothing in there about HOW to truly change.  Or WHY, even when you have tried as hard as you possibly can, you still fail.

So I did what any normal, healthy, person does.

I decided it wasn’t my fault (while believing deep down that was and that I was a big failure).

What I didn’t know then was this: while motivation, inspiration and instruction are very important for success in any business, they are not sufficient.

[shareable]Motivation, inspiration and even instruction are not sufficient for success – in anything.[/shareable]

And as I look around today at all the information about success, winning at work, winning at home, winning at life, winning at winning and on and on, I find the same thing is missing that was missing all those years ago.

Being the type of person who always wants to know why, I decided to study psychology and theology to figure out why some people succeed and some people fail; Why do some people rise to the top and others sink to the bottom; and most fascinating to me of all is why some people make great leaders and others, well, not so much.  What is the secret of a great leader?  Are they born or made?

I fully believe I know. We’ll dive into that next time. But just to allay any fears, it has nothing to do with positive energy and the universe. And I’m not stopping here because I wanted a teaser (although that is a secondary benefit).  I want to get this out there so you have some time to think about it.

So that is part 1 of why I started The Human Leader.  More next time.

[reminder preface=”Question:”] What do you think the secret to successful leadership is?[/reminder]

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