The Leadership-Jacket Connection

16 10 2013

Unsure man in coatCritical Leadership Skill Numero Uno: The ability to translate thought into action.

In entrepreneurship, you cannot park in neutral and brain your way to success. Action is an inevitable necessity.

For years now, I’ve been trying to pinpoint the source of all that action. What makes a leader step up, when everyone else is stepping down?

Is it courage born of big decisions and masterful business moves? Life altering determinations? News worthy choices? Popular media would have us believe so.

However, my observation-based conclusion comes to: “Not really.”

In fact, I would argue that the essence of leadership is born of HABIT. Yes, habit. And that habit is formed largely from the small, seemingly irrelevant decisions that literally make up our day-to-day lives.

YOU SHOULD WEAR A JACKET

The other day, I couldn’t decide whether a jacket was warranted. For the three minutes I would actually be outside, the decision was truly insignificant. But in the millisecond of thought I actually devoted to the cause, I could imagine two, potential consequences to a faulty choice:

1)  I wore the jacket, was too hot, and had to lug it around the rest of the day. Inconvenient.

2)  I didn’t wear the jacket, was too cold, and suffered a few minutes of discomfort. Also inconvenient.

This is grossly simplifying the alternatives, but you catch my drift. It’s the level of decision-making that we are faced with every minute – even every second. Should I pick up groceries now or after lunch? Should I run the yellow traffic light or wait for the next green? Should I take the stairs or the elevator? Should I approach that person or this one?

In my scenario, I couldn’t decide, asked my husband for his input, and wore a jacket on his recommendation.

Now, can anyone tell me why the above sentence is an outright lie?

Anyone?

Because, in actuality, I most certainly COULD decide. I can ALWAYS decide. So, to turn the above into a truth:

I was unwilling to accept responsibility for the results of my decision, asked my husband for his input, and wore a jacket on his recommendation.

WHY WE DO IT

Fear. Habit. Laziness. Low self-esteem. It’s infinitely easier to choose a scapegoat than a course of action. When we pass the baton, a wrong decision becomes “not my fault”. But what do we lose in the process? Control. Self-esteem. Learning and growth opportunities. Freedom.

TAKING BACK THE REINS

How many times do you catch yourself defaulting to the decision of another person, group, or (heaven forbid) “fate”? I’d wager that you haven’t given it much thought. Why should you? Those trivial decisions are vastly unimportant in the grand scheme of your life.

BUT, I believe that THESE DECISIONS ARE WHERE LEADERSHIP IS FORMED. From a habit of answering your own questions. From a comfort with shouldering your own responsibilities. From an understanding that being wrong WON’T END YOU.

Take more knowledgeable peoples’ input into account, by all means. But let the final decision be yours.

YOUR CHALLENGE

1 )  Observe the actions and interactions of those in your life who are leaders and those who are not. See what happens when a minor decision has to be made. It’s downright enlightening.

2)  Evaluate the little, daily decisions that you’ve been giving away. If you can’t find a darn good reason for doing so, take back the reins! Leadership is waiting for you on the other side.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you. Not much.”  ~ Jim Rohn

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC. All Rights Reserved.





Are You an “Oh, Crud” or “Carpe Diem” Entrepreneur?

11 11 2011

Proactive v. Reactive LeadershipIt’s the age-old story of an entrepreneur and a business idea falling in love. At first, it’s pure magic… customers are lining up to partake of your newness and ingenuity. Your sales drawer is bulging, your employees are enthusiastic and everyone wants to be a part of this “good thing”…

… Then the “honeymoon phase” ends, and one of two things happen:

  1. The rubber hits the road  – OR –
  2. The s**t hits the fan.

What decides the difference?

Proactive v. Reactive Leadership

There are, for all intents and purposes, two primary styles of entrepreneurial leadership. The first is the “Carpe Diem!” (Seize the Day!) approach. The second is the “Oh, Crud”.

Carpe Diem Entrepreneurs think ten steps ahead of their customers, their staff and their competition. They recognized pitfalls and make preemptive moves to avoid them. They recognize opportunities, and are among the first to take advantage of them. And most importantly, they are creative. They try new things – if it works, they run with it and, if it doesn’t, they make a course correction and keep on keepin’ on. They are proactive leaders.

Oh, Crud Entrepreneurs are the polar opposite. They tag along after their fellow business owners, copy-catting ideas half-heartedly. They fear innovation, because they’re never at the forefront. They only take action when they have no choice. And the only waves they make are little ones in the bathtub at home. They are reactive leaders.

You can readily imagine which style of business ownership survives AND THRIVES long term.

DMT Challenge of the Week

Think back over your entrepreneurial activities this past week. How many of them were launched from a spirit of adventure, and how many from frank necessity? What’s one “carpe diem” activity you can add to your roster for next week?

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”  ~ Steve Jobs

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

All content on this site Copyright © DMT Artistry LLC. All rights reserved.





Ode to Self-Employment

17 06 2011

Self-employment is remarkably revealingOperating your own business is about as revealing as traipsing through the mall in your skivvies.

People learn – YOU learn – an uncannily large amount about who you are by the way you handle self-employment. You can clothe your business in any perception you care to create, but when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of how you offer and follow through with your service, the truth will out!

Because the reality of it is that, for every 2 hour lunch break, mid-week vacation or impulse purchase, self-employment demands double overtime to make up for missed time and opportunity. How you do – or don’t – embrace that responsibility, speaks volumes about your devotion to self-employed success.

The “high-schooler-on-spring-break-in-Cancun” style of self-management results from a critical failure to recognize this, and that’s why being self-employed purely for the sake of being self-employed is a recipe for disaster!

But when managed correctly, there’s so much to love about being “master of your own destiny”. It creates accountability. And accountability fuels motivation. Motivation drives creativity. And creativity is the bread-and-butter-and-meat-and-potatoes-and-ice-cream-sundae-with-a-cherry-on-top that a true entrepreneur lives for.

It’s what I live for.

I love knowing that a glowing testimonial is the direct result of my time and effort.

I value the opportunity to make mistakes, learn from them and evolve into something better, without biting my nails over managerial disapproval.

I thrive under my own values and standards, because I am behind them 200%.

I enjoy the flexibility of working as inspiration strikes – whether that be 2 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning – rather than when the time clock demands.

I empower myself to make decisions and act on them.

I even appreciate the days when my heels are dragging because, in the process of questioning my sanity, I always wind up reaffirming my enthusiasm for what I’m doing… and dive right back in!

There is, of course, a reason I’m able to enjoy all of this… that reason is my clients. My clients will ALWAYS receive the highest standard of service from me and my business. Consistently exceptional work is what ensures and insures the future of DMT Artistry and the career and lifestyle I’ve chosen.

So banish the image of a couch potato selling “the next big thing” between Price Is Right episodes and hours-long gossipfests. That’s a hobbyist.

The true self-employed will be the ones who get visibly excited “talking shop”, who amass a die-hard following, whose businesses evolves daily, who keep popping up on your radar, who are just… driven.

“The meek shall inherit the earth”, my foot. If I were you, I’d put my money on the entrepreneurs.

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com