Monday, December 29, 2014

Doing what you can…

One of my favorite parts about this season is all of the gift cards that I receive.  Most people know now to just give me anything that can get more books into my arsenal.  I’m pretty tight with my money, but when it comes to personal and professional development, my mentors have always told me to spend as much money as I can on materials that will help me develop my skills.  Such expenses are investments.

Of the many leadership books I’m reading right now, I recently began one that has some pretty sweet anecdotes.  The book, in fact, is a compilation of awesome stories that pull a bunch of leadership understandings from each instance.  One quote that I recently came across was the following:

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can.” ~S. Smith

This reminds me of way back when I first began my professional leadership journey.  When Kevin Cobb brought me on to work for him some 20+ years ago, little did I know that I would be entering a leadership journey that would last a lifetime.  It was then that I ran across some of my favorite leadership authors.  It’s not that I was looking for leadership principles necessarily, it was just that those were the kind of books that I would gravitate towards.

The above quote reminds me of the struggles that I went through early on in my leadership journey.  I felt so insignificant in what I was doing.  Even though I was given a lot of leeway and authority, I still wanted more.  I want to the destination without the journey.  But, Kevin helped me understand that working with what I had at any given moment in time was exactly what I needed to be applying.  It was that principle I took with me and was reminded again today, so many years later.

I guess my question is: are you doing what you can with what you have in the present?  I do a lot of leadership development with people of all ages, professional status, and the like.  What I continue to find is the frustrations that people have because they want to be doing more.  What that relays to me is that these people want more influence.  But the only way that you get more influence is to do what you can with what you have.  Are you doing that?