Opinions about branding by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal

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Friday, September 21, 2012

That Leader You've Been Waiting For - It's You.

follow the leader
 Photo via Flickr
"I've been waiting for a girl like you to come into my life....been waiting for someone new to make me feel alive." - Foreigner
How much of your life have you spent waiting?

As a kid, I waited a lot. Waited for the school van. Waited for synagogue to be over. Waited for the commercials to end. Waited for the microwave, impatiently.

As a teenager I waited for high school to be over, then happily escaped New Jersey to Manhattan. 

In college there was the endless wait to graduate, then the lengthy trek through graduate school to dissertation.

Of course the kids go through stages and so you wait for them to grow out of those.

And when my early jobs were boring - as most entry-level, pay-the-bills type employment is - I waited for the day to be over.

So many people are waiting for retirement.

Are we so busy waiting, that we miss the opportunity to live?

Once somebody gave me a fairy tale book as a gift. Brother and sister find a skein of golden yarn in the forest. They tug on it and find themselves older. Curious, they keep tugging until they are old.

Election season feels a lot like that. It seems like everyone is caught in waiting mode. You can almost feel it hanging in the air: "When will X candidate utter those magic words?" "Maybe that already happened, and we missed it?"

In D.C., in fact, no sooner does Inauguration roll around than some people start their waiting all over again...thinking "Less than four years until the next one."

It is always surprising to me how many fully grown adults, seasoned professionals, with tons of experience and huge responsibilities at home and at work, turn themselves into virtual infants on the job. They are paralyzed with fear. They wait for a leader to say something, or put it in writing, so that they're never at risk of coloring outside today's momentary lines.

In any halfway decent organization the leaders will tell you they don't want you to act like this at all. What a waste of your brainpower!

Instead, truly good executives get their energy from the people. When they see frontline employees engaged in the job, they take direction from that place - a place of vitality, of life, what's working. 

Similarly, political candidates are lit up by the enthusiasm and achievements of those they serve. The energy is not in their dead words on a platform - but rather inherent to the public.

All this by way of saying, if you're finding yourself sitting around waiting for someone to magically "empower" you so you can achieve upward mobility - whether in your current job or somewhere else - just stop. 

The leader you've been waiting for all your life, is you. It's "The Wizard of Oz," and you're Dorothy, and you're wearing those red shoes. All you need to do is close your eyes, focus your mind, and say it: "There's no place like home."

Wherever you want to go, lead yourself there. Trust in the Universe to do the right thing. If you're on track with your life's mission, the rest will surely follow.

Live your life, pursue your career as you want, without waiting. The hallway monitor you remember from grade school is long gone. And the days of getting the principal's permission to exhale are long since over.