During one of my recent consulting assignments, I was in a meeting with the COO of a $3 billion company and a few folks on his executive team. This was a multi-hour session with lunch, etc. During the afternoon – after the coma inducing affects of lunch might have otherwise passed or worn off – I excused myself for a trip to the restroom. The company’s COO must have had the same idea. A conversation ensued as we walked back to the conference room. What follows is a rendition of his words that lie somewhere between verbatim and paraphrased. The point is, his thoughts are clear even if I don’t have it right word for word.
‘Boy, sometimes you just need a break from these things. The mind wanders and it’s hard to stay focused’
These words just rolled over the tongue of a very esteemed Ivy League educated, C-Level executive of a huge – and handsomely profitable (though privately held) company.
It struck me at that moment that perhaps many people with aspirations of the proverbial corner office might be disillusioned into thinking that career success requires constant demonstrations of superhuman abilities. On the contrary, as I learn more and more about what makes people sustainedly successful (the adverb is key) it is a clear and present sense of sell-awareness. They know themselves very well and they are comfortable with that knowledge.
Maybe they do possess a trait here or there that is sometimes considered super-human. That is not the point. The point is that they know exactly who they are and they maximize their impact and contribution within those boundaries.
The take-away here is that should you aspire to excel, don’t try to be super-human or the person whose place in which you wish to occupy. Rather, know and accept the person you are and be the best at being that person. You will excel as the world receives you much more openly for this reason – no one, and I mean no one, dislikes authenticity.
The COO who is the protagonist earlier in this article is, by his pure humanness, the quintessential executive in my view. He is not super-human, but his humanness is super.
As always, comments are welcome.
Thanks for reading – have a Great Day!