Every leader must make a commitment towards growth. There’s no middle ground in leadership. You are either growing or not. Living or dying. Plain and simple.
When a leader feels as though they have reached the point that they do not need to grow, that is called complacency. Complacency is coasting. Rick Warren says, “the problem with coasting is that you’re headed downhill.” The only direction complacent leaders can go.
On December 17, 2019, I made a personal commitment towards growth. After staring at the giant of starting Leadership and Main for years, one simple social media post slayed the giant. I planted the flag and said coming January 4, 2021, Leadership and Main! That small step propelled me forward with no chance of going back.
Maybe this post will inspire you to write. It could also inspire you to take on whatever giant that is standing in the way of your leadership growth. For me, I’m grateful I committed towards growth. Without that commitment I would have missed out on this incredible journey to share my story and the wisdom that so many others have poured into me over the years. A journey in which I have been able to connect with people across the United States and even other countries.
Today, I wanted to share nine brief leadership lessons from my writing journey:
Progress Over Perfection
I planted the flag, because if not, I would have never started. The website was ready to go earlier that year, but I had one thing that left me paralyzed. The aiming for perfection.
I also had one person tell me that I needed to have forty posts in the queue before I started the blog. If I subscribed to that theory, I would have never started. That was not achievable for me. I started to focus on progress over perfection. One foot in front of the other is the best way to commit to moving forward.
Write In the Moment
Now, I set aside Sunday nights to write in the moment. I believe it makes my writing more heartfelt, real, thoughtful, and impactful. I have tried writing in advance, but it never really feels the same. The end product just doesn’t carry the same weight.
Let it Come to You
It is easy to try to force things in life. In writing you can force topics or use cookie cutter content. What I have found to be the best topics are the ones that just come to me. Whether it is late Sunday evening staring at the computer screen, a concept coming to me driving down the road, or someone saying something to me that sticks. Most of my best ideas come in space that I intentionally create. Yours will too.
It Reads Differently to Everyone
The crazy thing is I can wrap up a post and feel like it is the best one yet. It may get less traction and doesn’t generate any feedback from the audience. Then, there are times that I will put one together and struggle with the final product. Some of those posts generate more reads, shares, and comments than the ones I feel good about. It just means writing speaks to people differently.
The More Personal the Better
One area of feedback I received from another blogger that I follow was, “the more personal, the better.” He was directly speaking about the content I produce. Now, with each post I try to add some personal content that relates. Personal makes it relatable. Relatable connects.
Don’t Overthink Grammar
With all due respect to my former English teachers, perfect grammar is not required. I have a proof-reading process where I read it, Shannonreads it, then I read it again. If it doesn’t get caught by me or her as a second-grade teacher, then it is good enough for release! I’ve learned the effect of incomplete sentences to drive a point home. Heck, I’ve even used one-word sentences for emphasis. Your style makes your content authentic and genuine. Be you and write your style.
I am accountable on two fronts. The first is to the subscriber. I committed to post a blog every Monday at 7:15 a.m. and I will do just that. At times, it has been tough to fulfill that commitment. I have also had friends like Mike Linch, George Manners, and Dallas White provide guest posts for those weeks where I am on vacation or traveling for work.
Two, everything I write holds me accountable from a leadership perspective. If I am going to write it, I need to live it. It is not always easy and I fall short often, but it gives me something to strive for. In his book 41, George W. Bush writes that his father used to say, “preach the gospel at all times and use words if necessary.” We can speak and write all we want, but people will follow our actions.
Write Any Form You Want
A lot of times when we think about writing, we think about books. I did for a long time, so I decided to go the shorter route, develop smaller bits of content each week. Improving your writing skills can be as simple as journaling or handwriting thank you notes. Every time you write, you get better.
Writing Helps You Remember
I am a note taker. I always have my Remarkable 2 with me and write things down. It helps me remember. Whether you are writing a blog, book, or journal entry it helps your brain remember things that you hear and see. Writing is learning.
As I did, you can stare at the giant for way too long and nothing ever gets done. Giants just get bigger and scarier the longer you look at them.
In the story of David and Goliath, the Israelites stared at the giant Goliath for forty days. He even gave them a couple of opportunities a day to come down to the valley and challenge him, but they would not. They were paralyzed with fear by the sheer size of the giant.
It took an undersized boy named David to commit to deal with the giant. He just started walking, right down to that valley the giant was standing in. One step after the other until he met the giant head on and took him out. For good!
What is the giant standing in between you and your growth? Whether your goal is to grow in writing, public speaking, to read more books, be a better person, get healthier, it starts with your commitment to growth. Forward progress, one step at a time.
Next week’s post will make fifty! That Monday is also significant because it is my fortieth birthday. Looking forward to sharing with you a special post entitled, “If I Disappeared Tomorrow.” We will look at our lives through the perspective of if we disappeared tomorrow, would anyone notice? Grateful for you and your support of this blog!
Ordinary to Extraordinary Intersection
Are you serious about your commitment to growth? What is the giant standing in between you and your growth? Are you ready to walk into the valley and slay the giant?