“Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.” – J.K. Rowling
I can’t remember the last time I was in a meeting or having a conversation with leaders and one of them used words like “fate”, or “destiny”. Those aren’t the kinds of words that typically get used in a leadership team meeting. Those sound like the kinds of words you read in a novel.
That said, some leaders talk about those things all the time. They just use different words. They say things like, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be”, or “I guess it just wasn’t supposed to work out that way”, and on and on. As though they had no impact whatsoever on how things turned out. They’re just along for the ride.
Great leaders don’t think that way. When great leaders look at events or circumstances, they do so with the idea that they are responsible for the situation they’re in. They approach things with the idea that their choices and actions helped create their environment, and that their choices and actions can create real change.
How do you think about the things you face on a daily basis? Do you believe that you’re just along for the ride? Or do you believe that the things you say and do have a real, meaningful impact on the world around you?
Think about specific things that you face as a leader. If someone in your organization who has a lot of potential leaves to go work somewhere else, do you just say, “Well, I guess that person just wasn’t a fit”? Or do you think about what you could have done differently that might have encouraged them to stay?
What about if you lose a key customer? What about if things go poorly with a key vendor? What is your response? Just as importantly, what response do you communicate to your team? Are you creating an organization whose number one characteristic is learned helplessness? Or focused action?
You have the opportunity to impact your organization. You have the opportunity to impact your career. You have the opportunity to impact your community.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that are beyond your control. It means that there are so many things you can control that you don’t have time to worry about that other stuff. Your choices and actions matter. Make them count.