What an experience I had! I just came back from my first trip to Las Vegas. Crazy things can happen there, right? The Hangover trilogy depicts the epitome of Vegas craziness. My crazy story has to do with leadership. What? I know, not many people equate Las Vegas stories with leadership skills, but then again, how many people do you know that went dune buggy racing in the desert? That’s what I did with my business coaches and some of the people in the mastermind group.
This was an optional event, I didn’t have to go, but I asked myself: When was the last time you did something for the first time? I didn’t have an answer, so I knew it was time to shake things up. We have to keep challenging ourselves with new experiences, otherwise we stop growing. So, I signed up!
Yes, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect and I made the mistake of going on the dune buggy website to see what it was all about. Of course, their videos were extreme! As a result of watching them, I considered backing out. Instead, I stopped watching the videos! I am so glad I went. This is what I learned while speeding through the desert.
Whether you are leading yourself, your business or your career, here are four leadership lessons we can all implement:
1. There are NO rear view mirrors on a dune buggy. You don’t need them because your focus is on the trail ahead. It doesn’t matter what is happening behind you, or what the others are doing, your focus is and should only be on the treacherous trail and the dune buggy ahead of you. * To be a successful leader, we need to stay focused on the road ahead. We can’t rest on our laurels and shouldn’t dwell on our past mistakes.
FOCUS on the future.
2. During our 10-minute orientation, they told us we don’t need the brakes. “Drive it like you just stole it” was the advice we were given. The point was to keep moving because we were chasing our guide. When you chase after something, you don’t need brakes. * In our personal and professional lives, the only way we can achieve results is to take action. Thinking about making a move, or studying our strategy does not get us any closer to achieving our business goals.
3. The terrain was so rocky and rough (I expected more sand), that we had to learn a new way to hold the steering wheel. We needed a looser grip and to place our thumbs on the outside of the wheel. There were times I only had my palms on the wheel, or totally let go (which is so not like me!). Holding on too tight can result in sprained or broken thumbs and an inability to steer the buggy. * Being in total control of every career or business situation is not always possible. To be successful, we need to adapt to new and changing environments.
4. There were several times I couldn’t see a thing, due to sandstorms or because of the hilly drop-offs (yes, we all went airborne a few times!). We were taught to follow the buggy in front of us. This was probably the scariest for me because this meant I had to trust the guide, someone I just met 10 minutes ago. Trust is difficult for me because I crave certainty, and I want assurances, and guarantees. * In the dune buggy, as in business, life and careers, there are no certainties. You have to find people, who have been successful and are a several steps ahead of you so you can learn from them.
Have Faith in others.
In summary, to be successful as a leader of ourselves, our businesses or our careers, we must:
1. Focus on the Future – Don’t worry about your past.
2. Floor it – Stop thinking about what you are going to do and Take Action!
3. Be Flexible in new environments – we can’t control everything;
4. Have Faith in others – hire coaches, employees, and business partners, who are steps ahead of you to show you the way.
I am so glad I am connected with this adventurous group of business professionals. They challenge me to take risks I wouldn’t take on my own. Who do you have in your life that challenges you?
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Doris Braun, Leadership Development and Executive Coach, helps women business leaders promote themselves, transition to new leadership positions and take on new career challenges. Follow her on www.LeadershipSolutionsforWomen.com and Twitter @dorisbraun.