Preparing for your future now
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
This quote is attributed to Abraham Lincoln. Is it true for you?
Today I was speaking to a 30-year-old who is in an entry-level employee position. He said for the first time, he's considering a leadership position. I asked him why he was considering it now? His answer was not surprising, “I am getting older and I need to make more money. Becoming a leader allows me to earn more.”
Although a true statement, I question the motive to move up and lead others. There is so much to being a great leader, why wait until you are 30?
When I was in the first grade, my teacher, Mrs. Hudson, asked me to be the Fire Marshall in our class during fire alarms. My role was to stand up and lead my classmates outside and away from the building. It was a role I never had to execute, but it was a big deal that she asked me to do it because I felt important.
At age 24, I was hired by a Florida landscape company to be the Project Manager of a beautiful 5-star hotel resort. I was given a title, six weeks of on-the-job training and off I went.
Are you waiting to turn 30 years old? Are you waiting to be asked to be a leader? Or are you wanting a title before you can lead?
Some teammates don’t know where they are going in the workplace, but you can start creating a better future for yourself by making it. How? Well, first start with some simple steps to prepare yourself.
First, start thinking like a leader. Get around leaders and ask them questions about leadership. What did they do to get to where they are? What books are they reading? Who are some of their role models?
Second, use personal time for personal growth. Leaders are learners. I read books and listen to audiobooks to continually sharpen my mind and attitude. If a plant is not growing, it is dying. People are the same way on the inside. If we don’t grow, opportunities to move up pass us by.
Three, look for ways to help your current boss during the day. Leaders who help leaders can become great leaders in their own right.
Fourth, don’t sit on the sidelines hoping one day you will be recognized; get involved. Ask questions and be solution-focused. Be the person who sees a need and fills it. Is no one taking on the job of cleaning up the breakroom? How about you? Leaders lead themselves first. Create a better future.