“No matter what you have done in your life, the world is changing, and you must change too. You must have the humility to accept that it doesn’t matter how successful you are, you must continue learning and growing.” – Guilherme Loureiro
I hear a lot of leaders who are my age and older complain about younger employees. It’s the typical generation stuff: young people don’t work hard, don’t care enough about their careers, don’t want to do anything, etc. Certainly some employees may demonstrate some of those characteristics, although some of those complaints are the same things old people have been saying about young people for 10,000 years.
When they’re done complaining about their younger employees, those leaders will usually talk about how hard they’ve always worked and how they’re still working hard every day. And I’m sure in most cases they probably have worked hard. It’s the “still working hard every day” part that sometimes is in question.
I’m not suggesting that those experienced leaders are only working half days, or that they spend their afternoons taking naps in their offices. However, a lot of experienced leaders are not providing the value they’re paid to provide. They’re doing the things they’re comfortable doing, and that’s about it.
If you’re a leader, even if you’ve worked hard for 20+ years, even if you’ve been wildly successful, you never reach a point where you’re allowed to get and stay comfortable. Allowing yourself as a leader to remain in your comfort zone is a form of laziness. The world is continuously evolving, and if you aren’t evolving with it, then you’re not doing your job.
Think about your typical week. How much of it is spent doing things you’re comfortable doing? Maybe some of those comfortable things have been part of your routine for years. Is there someone else in your business who could do those things? If so, then not only are you denying someone else the opportunity to grow, but you’re preventing yourself from tackling new opportunities and challenges.
The point is this: At the risk of insulting some people, the reality is that a lot of experienced leaders are coasting. They think they’ve arrived, or that they “put in their time”. They’ve stopped changing and growing and are essentially just waiting to retire. And they think they’ve earned it.
They haven’t, and you haven’t either. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that trap. You don’t get to stop evolving and changing and trying new things until you’re dead, and you’re not there yet. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, and don’t take your foot off the gas. You’re not at the finish line yet.