I had a wonderful 25-year corporate career working for start ups to fortune 500 companies. The last 12 years, I spent at Microsoft; a place which became my second home and where I had a large extended family. I loved my job, colleagues, leadership, products and Microsoft’s mission. I didn’t think I would ever want to leave! With retirement on the horizon and a child learning how to live with Tourette’s Syndrome, change was inevitable. I decided to retire early and refocus.
Never had I imagined myself as a true entrepreneur. With the opportunity to spend a lot more time with my youngest son, an imaginative engineer, we set out on a journey to start a new business. Tinkr, a business innovation lab for STEM students, was formed. Shortly thereafter, a second business took shape and I found myself knee-deep in the thralls of entrepreneurship. Having led teams the majority of my professional career, I found leadership had taken on a whole new purpose. I had to lead myself in new ways, coach my son and hone new skills working with a new community. Through this journey, I have benchmarked 7 personal principles which, I believe, have become critical for cultivating leading from within:
- Believe in yourself. Don’t let negative self-talk and doubt destroy your spirt. Believe in your abilities, your experience and ingenuity to rise above obstacles and pave your own success.
- Face fear and get over it. Fear is paralyzing. Push yourself out of your comfort zone by setting small goals and staying focused.
- Be the absolute best version of you. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else. Make progress in getting better every day.
- Work hard and don’t expect others to hold your hand. No one is going to do it for you. Be proactive in establishing the resources to help you. Lend a helping hand to others and be generous in sharing your knowledge.
- Fail, learn and move on. If it doesn’t work, learn from it and keep moving forward. Don’t regress and dwell on the “good old days”.
- Love deeply. Open your heart. Embrace family and friends with great fervor and undivided attention. In this circle, you will lead and be led.
- Have crazy fun. Need I say more?
This book had the most profound impact on how I embraced leadership