I used to think of January as the month after the craziness of the holiday season, where I ease into the year, setting goals and repacking my bag for what is to come. This year, however, I’ve started off at a much brisker pace than I anticipated, and it seems I am not alone. At last week’s Leadership Atlanta Women’s Summit, I kept hearing the exchange, “this can’t be the last Friday of the month already!”
Now that I have my own business, it seems that my mind is harder to shut off. I think about Signature, our graduates, our new participants, and my employees constantly. When I’m working out, driving, hiking, and even sleeping, I’m thinking about the business. Often, my best thoughts occur during these activities. Until recently. Now, my personal life to-do list has taken over my unconscious thoughts, mixing with and disrupting the productive business ideas. It feels like trying to separate salt from sugar.
“I’m sorry,” she told the event coordinator for her industry association. “I can’t make it for the panel. Another VP just scheduled a meeting for me, and I’ll have to be traveling internationally that day.”
I’ve seen this movie… hundreds of times. After running leadership programs for accomplished women leaders and interviewing more than 1000 female executives, I see some noticeable differences between those that are driving up the ladder and the ones who make it to the top. I can, fairly accurately, pick out those that will be successful based on simple things, such as how they manage their priorities.
I recently traveled to Copenhagen as a speaker for the Signature Leaders program. One of the best parts of the meeting for me was listening to the many things the speaker panel had to say about their biggest leadership lessons. Here are a few of the highlights when asked about the biggest lessons each had learned:
I arrived last night in Chinandega, Nicaragua to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my daughter, who is on staff for the mission-based organization Amigos for Christ. It was almost midnight when I arrived. I found a bunk amidst 50 sleeping women in the common room.
At 5:00 am, the sound of a lone rooster called out, breaking the early morning silence. I rose and went to the rooftop deck to watch the sun rise over the Nicaraguan mountains. In that quiet moment, I was thrown back to my first visit here, more than three years ago.
Topics: Setting Priorities