What I learned in the boardroom – The Early Days
One of my first jobs out of college was as an analyst with a Fortune 500 company, and this job was also one of my first lessons on leadership.
My dad had worked for this company for a number of years, and so I had an “in” there. (Not to mention I had earned a partial college scholarship with this same company).
Rewind. I remember in my sophomore year of college needing to pick a major as I was running out of time after flip flopping on making a decision for months and months.
It was in that moment that I first began to realize that I could think “big picture” and “long range vision” and still be ok. And that I didn’t have to have all the details “figured out” in order to move forward.
What I did know was that I wanted to own my own business one day and that a good foundation in practical knowledge would probably be the best route. So, I set out on a Finance route and a few years later I had my Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance from the Stetson School of Business and Economics at Mercer University.
An Unexpected Promotion
After a year after starting my employment with this Fortune 500 company, I was promoted to Financial Analyst and I quickly found myself in the monthly executive review with the CEO and COO and company along with other members of the executive team.
My role there was to provide financials, stats, trends and analysis on company and industry performance indicators and to answer additional questions to the best of my knowledge along with the other key team members of the Finance department.
I was terrified to go in that boardroom. I was still wet behind the ears and did not have a ton of confidence. Often I wondered what in the world I could possibly offer as I rarely felt prepared for these meetings.
I had this mental picture that these executives were light years ahead of me intellectually and success wise. I couldn’t understand how I even got to be in that room, but there I was.
Even Leaders Are Uncertain Too
One day the COO looked at me and asked me if I could go back and do some research to run some scenarios for her. She said, I just don’t know and I’m wondering if you could put together something that could help me find my answers..?
I was like what!!! She wants the answers from little old me?
I guess at that moment I realized that leaders don’t have all the answers all the time.
In fact, LEADERS are in the positions that they are because they GO FIRST. That’s what a true leader does.
They take a step in a certain direction based on the information they have at that moment. They don’t know all the steps. None of us do, yet we must still move ahead.
Leaders also create the space for others to step up and learn who they are in their process.
Little did I know that this job out of college would be one of the most powerful initiations for me on my leadership journey.
Some Food for Thought
What I do know is this…
We all have a natural leader inside of all of us. Every single one of us each day has our own individual initiations and callings to step deeper into the unknown. At some point you just have to be willing to GO FIRST. Without all the details. Without the guarantee or certainty that things will work out.
The deeper truth here and what I hope that anyone reading this will take away is this:
That things will always work out when you are willing to accept the risk of things looking differently than planned.
There’s magic in the mystery and growth in the uncertainty.
Leadership happens outside of the boardroom and is an inside job.
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