Watching the Olympics this past summer reminded me of the price we pay as leaders. I may not be an Olympic athlete but I strive to be an Olympic leader. In other words, I go for gold every time I show up to lead. It seems that every time I commit to excellence there are two enemies that try to defeat my attempt. If I am not focused on leading with excellence I am defeated every time.
Enemy #1 Procrastination
Procrastination will cause great leaders to become average leaders. Leading takes time, preparation, and communication. If you have waited to the last minute to initiate a project, delegate a task, gather a group, or communicate a message the likelihood of excellence in the project, delegation, gathering or message is slim to none.
In our fast paced technical world it is easy to wait to the last minute to prepare or initiate. Facebook, texting, twittering, and other connection systems make is easy to connect. It also makes it easy to procrastinate. If you want to break procrastination never say, “I have time later to do that”. Do it now whether you have time later or not.
Procrastination steals confidence. Every time I prepare a speech, sermon, presentation, or writing, I am less confident when I have thrown it together at the last minute. The time it takes to research, connect, add illustrations, proof always is longer than expected. Any project seems to take longer and cost more than expected; procrastinating will guarantee a longer and costlier project.
Enemy #2 Pride
Pride can steal excellence without you even knowing it. Excellence is more than being the best and brightest. Excellence is realizing that you are at the bottom of the best and brightest in some areas and you need help. Leaders who consistently deliver excellent work and leadership are those who work in teams.
Pride says, you can do it and if you need help it shows you are weak. Pride will convince you, you do not need to prepare, study, ask questions, or ask for help, which leads to procrastination. It is a vicious circle.
The need for humility and reality in leadership cannot be overestimated. Knowing your weaknesses, strengths and those of your team will create confident, strong excellent leadership.
What do you do to fight procrastination?