Because of my IT management role, I recently had the opportunity to complete a leadership profile, and this was my result:
This “Maverick Leader” description seemed fairly spot-on for me, especially the part that says “You’re always full of new ideas, and almost a little restless” and “If something starts to feel familiar, you’ll probably start experimenting to see whether higher goals can be achieved.”
Yep, that’s pretty much me in a nutshell.
Somewhat related, on a friend’s recommendation I just picked up a copy of Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You, which is not a book that I would have selected for myself. It’s a bit too “business-y” for my usual taste, but I actually found it a fairly satisfying read. One thing he mentions that particularly resonates with me, is this:
If you just show up and work hard, you’ll soon hit a performance plateau beyond which you fail to get any better.
That’s one reason why I am constantly stretching myself with new goals. I dislike that space of mastery where there’s nothing new or different on the horizon, where there’s no stretch and pull. I don’t even mind trying something new and failing at it, because for me there’s so much pleasure in the attempt.
One other point that Newport makes that I’m somewhat convinced about now, is that telling someone to “follow their passion” is likely to lead to failure, and it’s far better to gain skills than to chase a dream.
This NGram analysis traces the rise of “passion” literature, to show how the idea has percolated into popular culture since the publication of “What Color is Your Parachute” and other similar self-help books (certainly this message has become a popular one in the last decade!):
Reading this book has caused me to reflect on my professional journey. A lot of those steps have been ones born of passion. But even more have been pragmatic choices that led to job security and financial health, and I have learned to love those steps while I’ve pursued them with the same vigor as the very “passionate” ones.