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When You Lead But Don't Feel Established Yet

It’s one thing to have earned a position. It’s another to feel established. Is your feeling grounded in reality? Discover the traits of those who are, and who are not yet, established.

In my work with technology leaders, I continue to discover a main culprit behind their discouragement: the frustration of feeling as if they are not yet established.

There is a difference between feeling established and feeling as if you have arrived.

Charles Garfield, a student of achievers, says, 

“Peak performers do not see accomplishment as a fixed state, nor as a safe haven in which the individual is moored, completed, finished. Not once have I heard a peak performer speak of an end to challenge, excitement, curiosity, and wonder. Quite the contrary. One of their most engaging characteristics is an infectious talent for moving into the future, generating new challenges, living with a sense of more work to be done.”

You are striving for peak performance. In one sense, you know that you will never arrive, that there is more to be done.

But what about becoming established? What about the sense and security of knowing that you are in place and that people know your true place?

How do you know that you are not yet established?

…you are not yet established. And that can frustrate you. And it can negatively impact the peak performance you seek.

When you are established:

You are established when you are maturing as a better professional, a better leader of others, a better executive among executives and a better expert in your industry.

So what do you do?

To become established, there are two traps to avoid and three strategies to employ.

First trap to avoid: You look at your development as something that happens along the way. You take courses assigned to you, register for different programs chosen for you, and hopefully are surrounded by leaders from whom you can watch and learn. That’s a trap. Instead, be intentional about your development. Don’t let it come to you. Go get it!

Second trap: You prioritize knowledge over wisdom. Knowledge is good, but wisdom, which is the application of knowledge, separates realized greatness from potential greatness. It’s not enough to know stuff; you gotta know what to do with the stuff you know. You need to be a “So what” artist.

To become established, focus on four specific calls to action:

  1. Get into a group of peers, a small community, that advocates for each other and is a positive source of counsel and development.
  2. Get a coach, but not just any coach. Get an advocate who knows how to draw out the best in you, pour in the best of themselves and resource you.
  3. Take courses focused on being a better professional, leader, executive and expert.
  4. Settle on a personal brand, the one thing you want to be known for. It is what will set you apart. I’m known for being bold. I have a friend known for bringing a different perspective. I have a friend known for his integrity. I have another friend known for his loyalty. All sorts of things are true of us, but what is the one thing above all things that stands out about you? If it stands out about you, it stands out above others.

I know you are a peak performer. Now it’s time to be an established executive. I can help.

When You Lead But Don't Feel Established Yet
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Photo by:
Casey Horner

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