Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Bags Packed and Ready to Lead

Photo by Hilary The Mammal via Flickr

This week’s guest post is from a Vice President who wishes to remain anonymous. 

Great leadership is hard.  It requires a deep understanding of our own motivations so that we can inspire with the best intentions.

To lead with joy and energy, we must love what we do.  At the same time, great leaders need “packed bags”.

When we stay in a job or role because we feel we HAVE to instead of because we WANT to, we can become very dangerous.   And, we don’t do so well for our families or ourselves.

“Packed bags” is an attitude, mindset and financial scene that enables us to leave if we should.   We can give the job everything we have, take the right risks, say the right things to the right people, and still sleep well at night.  Packed bags allows me to approach my job with confidence, knowing that my moral compass is firmly in place, and I can leave if asked to cross certain boundaries.

“Packed bags” is not disloyal or disengagement.  In fact, this approach enables us to be more passionate and engaged in doing the right thing for the business and our people.  It helps to remove fear.

I have been energetically engaged at the same company for more than 12 years.  I am serious about my work and my career. I am excited about the next steps at my company… and my bags are still packed.

I worry when I see leaders feeling stuck either emotionally or financially.  This can happen when our identity is overly defined by our role at work.  Or, if we have built a lifestyle that has kept pace with the financial earnings of each promotion. It is hard to lead well from that place because we may lack the confidence to make the right bold decisions for the business and our people.

“Packed bags” enable us to…

  • Focus on results, not politics
  • Take the right risks, and do jobs that scare us
  • Be candid with our feelings
  • Provide feedback
  • Feel more in control of our own destiny

Some things that can help you keep your bags packed:

Build a sustainable financial scene

  • Resist the urge to upgrade your lifestyle each time you get a raise
  • Save bonuses and long-term incentives
  • Consider paying down long-term debt

Stay relevant

  • Diversify your knowledge and skills
  • Build a professional network
  • Never burn a bridge

Have a reflective practice

  • Find some outside activity that gives you peace (prayer, meditation, running, yoga, writing)
  • Understand what makes you most happy in your work
  • Consider reinventing your job to include what makes you most happy

Overall, keeping a bags-packed attitude will benefit the company through better decision making and more energetic leadership, and lead to a life with less stress.

If you’d like to be heard, but aren’t sure how it will be perceived at your company, publish anonymously on The Idolbuster.  Inquire here.

Comments

  1. The author of this post is Karin Hurt, who claimed her authorship on her blog Let’s Grow Leaders the day she announced her resignation from the corporate world.
    http://letsgrowleaders.com/2014/03/31/5-reasons-quit-day-job-pursue-dream/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-reasons-quit-day-job-pursue-dream

  2. Michelle Marie says:

    Thank you Karin for sharing you thoughts, beliefs, and values so freely and transparently. I found this post while reading your post 7 Reasons Collaboration Breaks Down . . . I just kept following links 🙂 While all of your posts are very helpful and insightful, I found 5 Reasons I Quit My Job To Pursue My Dream absolutely inspiring fueling the courage to listen to the still small voice within me. Then I click another link and landed here and this post resonates. Best to you always –Michelle

Trackbacks

  1. […] You might also like: Bags Packed and Ready To Lead […]

  2. […] more leaving?   I asked, already knowing the answer.  It’s tough to leave the security of a well paying gig.  I continued with my line of […]

  3. […] When I was in my late twenties with a small baby and a big mortgage, my husband lost his job. My salary could not cover the mortgage payment, let alone the other expenses, and our entire savings had gone to the down payment.  We ate a lot of noodles.  That early experience taught me to never let my lifestyle outgrow my savings.  I vowed to save enough that my bags could be “packed,” and not be overly dependent on any company.   I shared this philosophy anonymously on Greg Marcus’, Idol Buster blog, in my 2012 post, Bags Packed and Ready to Lead. […]

  4. […] When I was in my late twenties with a small baby and a big mortgage, my husband lost his job. My salary could not cover the mortage payment, let alone the other expenses, and our entire savings had gone to the down payment.  We ate a lot of noodles.  That early experience taught me to never let my lifestyle outgrow my savings.  I vowed to save enough that my bags could be “packed,” and not be overly dependent on any company.   I shared this philosophy anonymously on Greg Marcus’, Idol Buster blog, in my 2012 post, Bags Packed and Ready to Lead. […]