I was listening to It’s not about the bike by Lance Armstrong.  It’s sad that he destroyed all his credibility with doping.  It taints the story, but there is something to walk away with.  The first is all professions are an endurance race with moments of doubt and the desire to walk away. The second going pro isn’t sexy. You have to love the drudgery of doing the same thing and trying to get better at it. Third, you still have to put in the work. Doping or not he had to work.  He had to push his body and with the drugs he pushed it even further.  Most of us don’t have that kind of tolerance for pain. We hit a certain limit and we choose to back off.

Let’s apply this to leadership:

  1. Leaders will have to put their personal view of glory aside and get down and do the nitty gritty work of building a team. They will have to have the commitment that they will be leading for a long time and that the team they start with won’t be the team they finish with.
  2. Leaders will have to spend time alone. They will pull their hair out and have to dig deep. Reading, researching, and planning are not sexy, they require patience and looking at the down side; not just the potential gain. They will have to tweak the way the work is done. There is a lot of testing to get something to work.
  3. Leaders will have to endure people. You will want to walk away.  There will be opposition. There will be insubordination.  There will be pitching the vision to the same people over, and over and over, and it will never end.  Most leaders give up on the vision, when they just needed to get better people.

Every path we choose, we are leading ourselves.  We have a vision for our lives, even those that settle.  The path of not going for it is the same as going for it.  “It” being the better life;  The pursuit of a small business, starting a freelancing career, or making a move to lead a team.  There are people who endure jobs they hate, they aren’t fun or sexy, they put in the work, but will never get paid out what they have put in.  Life is about the choice we make to do something worthy of the only thing we have; time.