Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast! What does it take to be successful and grow into the leader you want to be? When I got my first job, I didn’t think I was going to be a leader. In this week’s episode, David McGlennen and I discuss my personal growth journey and how I got to where I am today. Tune in to learn the one thing that set me up for success early in my career, the benefits of working for a great company, and my best advice for new leaders.
I used to hide from my story, but now that I know it can help empower others, I love sharing it. I grew up in southwestern PA. My parents both battled different diseases and were disabled and unable to work my entire life. When I thought about what I wanted to do with my life, my mission was just to get a good job so I could help my parents. But the day I was going to go to college, I got the call that my dad was going to have surgery again. So, I dropped out. I ended up getting a job as a truck driver at a Fortune 500 company and worked my way into leadership from there.
The Value of a Great Company
Who I am as a person lined up well with the corporate culture. They walked the talk when it came to leadership, and that is so important in building cultures. They poured a lot into developing me. You can work really hard and not ever have great success. You will succeed when you work hard, develop yourself, and have great people around you. My company gave me great leaders who let me learn from them and reproduced who they were in me.
"You have to allow people to borrow your belief in them. So many leaders don’t see it in themself, but someone else sees it in them." - David McGlennen
Q: What is your favorite thing about your company? How have they helped you grow? If you are an entrepreneur, what do you want your company culture to be known for? What are you actively doing to make that dream a reality?
Advice for new leaders
Most new leaders get promoted because they were great individual contributors. You have to understand that it is not just about what you can do anymore. It is about the people. Leadership is a people business. There is a fine line between having people who work for you and having people who don’t want to let you down. Inevitably, you’re going to ask a lot of them. The only way you will have earned the right to make the bigger withdrawal is if you’ve made a big investment.
However, you cannot sacrifice your standards. The biggest pitfall for new leaders is a lack of assertiveness or an unwillingness to have tough conversations. The people who make the most impact are the ones who are the toughest.
Q: Describe a time when you or someone you know sacrificed their standards in order to please people or keep a friend. What was the result? Now describe a time when you saw someone fail to invest in their team? What were the consequences? How do you think you can strike a balance between being assertive and treating your team as individuals?
What has been your growth path since starting your business?
The two biggest growth areas for me have been checking my confidence and my fear of failure. I learned that I had to manage my self-talk. I was so afraid of losing everything. That didn’t change until I started acting like the entrepreneur I wanted to be. I started reflecting on past wins, and I got around people who believed in me.
I also had to learn to reserve judgment on the present until it becomes the past. I was taking the present and saying, “This pandemic is going to get worse. No one would expect me to win now.” I was letting it happen to me instead of letting it happen for me. But really, the pandemic was one of the best things to happen to my business. People needed coaching and morale boosters! They needed me!
Q: What is your biggest growth area? How have you seen yourself improve in that area over the past year? How would your life and career look different if you had not grown in that area?
How can people prepare for what is next?
It’s not if an opportunity comes up. It is when. The question is, have you prepared yourself to be the obvious choice? If you want to be the obvious choice, you have to be accountable, keep getting better, and engage your motivation.
Q: Describe a time when you knew that someone was the obvious choice. How did you know? What made them stand out from the rest of the candidates? How did other people see them?
Think about your own story. Is there anything you have been hiding from? How could telling your story help other people? Challenge yourself to share your story with someone this week in a way that encourages them in their pursuit.
What motivates you? There are two kinds of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivations are things like money, a car, a nice office, promotions, prestige, etc. Intrinsic motivations are things like pride in self, stability, contributing to a higher purpose, helping others, etc. It’s not bad to have extrinsic motivators, but it is the intrinsic motivators that will help you keep moving forward when you face adversity. Think about how you can connect your job to your motivation. Write down the things that motivate you and put them in a place where you can see them every day!
What kinds of things do you say to yourself? Take a moment to write down some of the negative things you say to yourself. Then, reframe them and come up with something that you can say to combat the negative thought. Read these positive thoughts several times a week so that they are fresh in your mind. The more you replace your negative self-talk with positive words, the more confident you will begin to feel.