May 24, 2023
I saw this prompt last week and it started a discussion between myself and my youngest son. He is now in his early twenties, so he’s not that young, and he has been working full-time for over a year now.
His job is now adding more duties to his workday and pushing to put him in more of a supervisory role. I am enormously proud of him for sticking it out on all those days when he wanted to quit. I knew he had it in him to be successful, he just needed some encouragement.
As I sat there thinking about what to write about this topic, I thought back to my own career, personal, and work life.
This is what I know and have learned so far, if you want to be a leader then you have to be a follower first. Being a follower is where you learn the most about what kind of leader you want to be.
Leadership is not just a title given to you, leadership is earned through the people willing to follow you and your vision. There are a lot of leaders out there that tend to forget that.
I also know that people will not be willing to follow someone that has not walked in their shoes and done the work too. As a leader, you have to be capable, knowledgeable, and willing to do the same work as the most inexperienced person on your team.
We have all been there, whether in the workplace, school, communities, or even our households, we have all had to deal with good and bad leadership.
I have always been comfortable with being in the background, creating things, or being that support person that kept things running or moving smoothly. Doing so and becoming the expert in whatever I was doing made me inadvertently a leader by default. I would end up being that person people would seek out for guidance or answers. I would be the one who would train others. It was just something that naturally fit for me.
This is what my whole military career was based on, being that reluctant leader. I did my job, did it well, and received many accolades for my work. Then I retired and started working in the civilian sector and that is where it changed for me.
In the last ten years since I retired, I have been through so many positions that it pains me to admit failure. I would still be that go getter and become the expert at what I was doing in whatever job I was in, but in the civilian world, it is about competition. Competition for that next promotion, raise, or the company’s bottom line. Sometimes people would seek out and use any weakness you had, against you.
I was already in the midst of changing my whole life by getting divorced, becoming a single parent, and dealing with my own mental health. This was my weakness and I did not know how to combat it within the workplace. I did not know how to play the game and actually, I really did not want to. I just liked doing my job but that was not good enough, so I struggled.
I forgot to use what I learned while in the military and I gave up or gave in way too much. I know the majority of it was depression and anxiety but there were still parts that I could control but I did not. I would be angry or unreasonable, and my expectations of others were too high.
I would be reminded that not everyone works like I do or has the life experiences that I had. As the saying goes, “I could not see the forest for the trees”.
Today, I am starting over with a new career path by learning new skills and combining them with my previous experience. This effort will hopefully lead me to at least part-time or remote work. That is the plan anyway, it is still a work in progress.
One day, I will fill some leadership role somewhere but if not then I will be fine. I will continue moving forward, working on my goals, dreaming those dreams, and meeting those aspirations.
That is what life is about, creating those memories, one moment at a time.
Thank you so much for stopping by.
Have a fabulous week!
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always!