If you live near a river, you know that it has narrow and wide points. Typically the river will start out fairly narrow and widen as it continues the journey to its final destination. Early settlers often traveled and crossed over our rivers to get from one location to another. Surely they discovered that some points of the river were easier to cross than others. This same concept applies to personal leaders—if you need to change direction, cross the river BEFORE it gets too wide!
Both our business and personal lives are filled with times where we can easily change direction. After all, life is a series of opportunities and choices. Early on in the decision-making process it is easier to change course because there are many options. As time passes, the human tendency is that our methods, thinking, and habits become more fixed. We can find ourselves lingering on the river bank long after we should have crossed. How can we cross the ever-widening river? By changing what we are doing that isn’t working or doing what we know is right.
The risk and price of crossing a river increases as it gets wider and deeper. If we hang around too long on one side of the river, inertia can take over and direct us. Something that started out small can be quickly and easily solved or redirected. But large problems that have been growing in intensity and misdirected energy for far too long will require much more time and energy to fix.
Think of your own personal and professional life. What decisions have you been avoiding? What opportunities have been missed? What problems have been growing larger over time? Strong personal leadership demands honesty, humility, and self-reflection. All leaders make mistakes or poor choices at times. Mature personal leaders are strong enough to own up to their mistakes without finger pointing, and they change course or direction to remedy the mistake. Remember, action now is easier than reaction later.
What if you take a look at your current situation and realize that you are already facing a raging river that seems too wide to cross? Don’t lose hope. You can’t turn back time, but you can make a change starting NOW! If you are willing to pay the price, the river is never too wide to cross. This may involve many more steps and be more complex, but with resolve and perseverance you can take the steps to resolve the problem and change course.
As personal leaders, we are all creatures of habit who can get distracted and caught up on seemingly urgent problems, ignoring others as we continue down one side of the river. Be diligent in spotting the need to change direction before your river gets too wide.
Are you interested in developing your personal leadership skills to be a more effective leader personally and professionally? We can help. Leadership Excellence offers personal leadership development in Cleveland and Medina, Ohio. We also provide personal coaching, executive consulting, keynote speaking, and many other services. Contact us today for more information on how we can help develop you, your management team, or your staff for measurable results. Not sure what is right for you? Schedule your free, no-obligation 15-minute quote with Greg, our Cleveland business coach.