“Don’t blow it,” she says.
I am at a convention for CIOs. CIOs, or Chief Information Officers, are the tech executives who are blessed with the job of trying desperately to deliver Tiffany-level design with Starbucks ease for the 50%-off-the-sale price at Walmart.
It can be a pretty thankless job, so we get together to commiserate. We also go to try and remember the bigger picture.
It’s easy to lose yourself in the flood of complaints sent to a helpdesk, unrealistic expectations and downright lunacy you experience in technology. It can strand you in permanent firefighting purgatory if you aren't careful. As soon as you put out one fire, three more flare up.
It takes skill to not lose hope and go find a more rewarding job at the corner quickie-mart.
Anyway, Linda is one of my mentors. She is this classy, Australian lady who has mastered the balance of warm on the outside, tough as whalebone on the inside. I want to be like her so I take her advice seriously.
“You waste your time in the details because it is safe down there. You don’t have to look up and face anything. You don’t have to stretch yourself because you can hide behind the excuse of too much to do,” she said. “You’ll never do great things until you have the courage to delegate the details and commit to the bigger vision.”
Her voice sears like a laser through my gut and the world around me slows down.
“Don’t blow it," she says under her breath. "You have an opportunity. Go grab it.” And then she drifts off into more casual conversation.
She’s right. Painfully right.
It takes effort and focus for me not to get sucked under by the "Dianoga" of emails, daily reports, employee complaints and sheer tactical overload.
(Dianoga... remember that scene in Star Wars when they were in the trash compactor with the one-eyed thing trying to drag Luke under? That's a Dianoga. Blech.)
You’ve probably heard this quote from Stephen Covey, but it bears repeating:
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say 'no' to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside. The enemy of the 'best' is often the 'good.' "
It’s easy to get pulled in a thousand directions and not make progress toward anything.
What gets in your way of your larger vision?
What is your bigger “yes”?
Find a way to keep that “bigger yes” smack in front of you, pulling you toward it like a tractor beam in a bad sci-fi movie.
“You’ll never do great things until you have the courage to delegate the details and commit to the bigger vision.”
The more often you can home in on your goal, the more likely you are to make it happen.
Do one thing today that puts your goal front and center.
Set a reminder in your phone, put a note on your toothpaste or have your children make you recite it before they will give you coffee in the morning.
Any movement you make toward your goal, no matter how small, is a movement toward a career that will bring your success and will fill you up.