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Leadership Freak: “Nuke Plan B!” [MEME]

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Life is richer when failure matters.

Folklore says Hernán Cortés burned his ships when he arrived in Mexico. There was no turning back. Alexander the Great burned his ships when he arrived in Persia. It was kill or be killed.

The fear of failure makes success necessary. It doesn’t sound noble, but the fear of failure drives people toward goals that seem unreachable. Leaders who create escape hatches use them.

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Drivers and Passengers

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You are either driving or you’re along for the ride.

Driving, you get to determine speed, route, lane changes, stops, and ultimately, your destination. For most, it also means you have the final say in what comes out of the speakers and cabin climate control.

Along for the ride, you get to look out the window, adjust your visor, check out what’s in the glove compartment, read, eat and sleep. If the mood hits you and your driver right, you can also have some decent conversation.

It’s the same when you go into work. You’re either driving or you’re along for the ride.

If you’re driving, you are pushing your destination, influencing your route, making stops and lane changes that support where you’re going, and you insist on having a say in the climate and culture of your workplace.

If you’re along for the ride, you follow others’ direction, focus on the work you are handed, keep your head down and your ears open for the workplace drivers, and make your destination the end of each work day and work week.

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Drivers operate on the optimism that by taking control you’re less likely to end up on the back end of a five-car pile-up. Passengers operate on the premise that someone else can take charge; they feel safe putting on their seat belt and relinquishing control.

We all have to be passengers some times. But who wants to spend their entire driving career doing whatever they have to in order to not be in the driver’s seat? No matter how hesitant or afraid we may be, we all have the desire to drive.

As a working professional, you have the vehicle and the license to drive. Why not push yourself to rack up some hours behind the wheel? Start with some short trips. Expand your radius as you build up experience and confidence.

Find a buddy or two also seeking more drive time and encourage each other along. Share the driving. Coach one another. Why drive alone?

Someday when you look back over your career, you’ll be glad you decided to drive.

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