Millions, including myself, have been inspired by Simon Sinek’s TED talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” where he brilliantly teaches us about the power behind the leader’s BIG WHY. The video serves as a great trigger to reflect about why we decide to stay associated to certain people or businesses and is mandatory viewing for people I work with.
Many professionals I talk to externalize the opportunity and do not assume the role as an Advancing Leader worth following. Very few are ready to define their own BIG WHY and share it with the world. I recognize the struggle as it took me years to define my own BIG WHY and make it visible to others.
I sometimes refer to my own breakthrough by using the analogy of salmon swimming upstream to spawn. The salmon battle their way upstream through difficulties convinced that this is the right thing to do to secure their offspring. It makes total sense if you are a salmon.
I always believed that I was a salmon and did my best to contribute by going upstream to optimize the spawning experience.
After returning from a year’s sabbatical from corporate I gradually realized that I in fact was a cod fish and that my BIG WHY was grounded outside of corporate, playing by my own rules. By changing directions and going down stream, I have given myself permission to align better with my BIG WHY.
Let me introduce you to another cod who has inspired me and continues to inspire an increasing number of followers. My client was a full time regular employee as an in-house graphic designer for many years. Her responsibility was to generate ideas and develop graphic design elements online as well as offline. By nature, she was always looking to become masterful and build new skills to expand her contribution to her employer.
While there, she took numerous initiatives and invested significant amounts of her time and energy in building skills within strategic brand management and interactive design. She realized how things were related to each other and that the true effect was found in a holistic approach. She felt a huge responsibility to transfer knowledge to management and made many attempts to influence the direction and decisions. The response was low at best and her frustration grew as she knew she could add tremendous value if permitted.
Her “cod moment” was when she realized that she was in fact assuming a passionate but ignored “Brand Manager” position, with no mandate to act according to her strong beliefs. She recognized the huge potential for others in combining the strategic, tactical and operational elements in her area of expertise.
Today she is on a mission in her own business to help corporations and entrepreneurs embrace branding challenges successfully.
She provides her services in 3 different languages, her customers are located in an increasing number of countries, and she is soon to launch her own packages online, making her content available to professionals anywhere. Her BIG WHY is contagious as she plays by her own rules and always educates her stakeholders and customers in branding matters.
Professionals who share their BIG WHY with the world often make leaps in their professional lives and attract more of their ideal customers. When educating their surroundings, their BIG WHY in business becomes contagious. By playing small and ignoring your cod moment, you are doing your ideal customers a disservice.
Have you already had your own “cod moment” to help define yourself as an Advancing Leader? Or do you feel like you are swimming against the current? Feel free to share below!
***If you like this topic, you will love the Virtual Leader Conference coming up September 15-21, 2014 where more than 20 Advancing Leaders and experts are sharing their BIG WHYs and success strategies to empower other Advancing Leaders. You are welcome to join us on demand and free of charge via http://vlc14.katycaroan.com