I attended a leadership symposium a few days ago. The guest speaker, Dr. Nick Hall talked about many things during his presentation. One of the things he spoke about struck a chord in me. He spoke about the fear of failure and success. In one of my previous blogs, I talked about the ‘F Word,” (failure). During my graduate studies, I researched, read books and looked toward subject matter experts on this particular topic. Saying this, I have never really thought about fearing success prior to Dr. Hall’s presentation. It was thought provoking. He spoke of fear as the emotion of the future and due to the inability to predict the future; it can have an effect on your ability to advance. This was powerful for me, because I have never really feared a possibility of failure, so I didn’t connect with failure personally. This is not because of an inflated ego, but because of my own unique definition of failure. I have always associated failure as only a step toward success.
I discovered an interesting fact that I have been reserved at times, as I did have some fear of being successful and the unknowns that came with success. How many of you thought about the fact that if you got that promotion, it included additional responsibilities, additional hours away from family, added stress, and an increase workload? How many of you had to consider the balance between promotion and sacrifice? Whether we are willing to admit publicly, there is a high probability that most of us have contemplated this in private.
Dr. Hall also talked about personality traits and generational differences and how we view life, work, family, etc. With generational differences and more women in the workplace, balancing work and life is becoming extremely important. Past sacrifices, such as children being postponed to pursue careers, extended work hours, missing important family events, and multiple relocations to other areas around the U.S. and foreign countries are less attractive to the next generation.
Do we indulge so much into our work life that it becomes interconnected with our personal life? Is the interconnection so great that there is little distinction between the two? Is that good or bad?
My common HR answer is, it depends. I love what I do and chose this profession because it has the ability to influence the entire organization and its most valuable resource; it’s employees. I also have a passion to lead, coach and mentor others to reach their full potential. My work life and personal life is highly interconnected, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Over the years, my definition of success has changed from earlier in my career. The focus is less about me but what impact I can have on others. Personal recognition and achievement has shifted to inspiring others to excel.
I measure my own success by how many others that I can help reach the next level that they aspire to achieve. It’s ironic that my most significant leadership experience goes back to my military service where it was instilled in our training that mission first, people always. People can only be lead, not managed. When it comes to managing, it is strictly reserved for resources. This means that you can only manage resources. I’ve learned and transitioned from tactical leadership to strategic leadership.
The principles are simple. If you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of you. When you inspire them, they go above and beyond expectations. Whether it is a fear of failure or success, fear is a natural emotion. So much can be achieved when we move past the fear and challenge ourselves and inspire others as well.
After all, inspiring others was the purpose I created my blog.
~ Joseph Conrod Sr. SPHR