I remember a colleague telling me that his young daughter thought he was a train driver, because that’s all she ever saw him do, catch a train for his commute. The fact he was CEO of a successful company didn’t register.
Several years ago I asked my son the same question. “You work in research in London” was his response, never mind a 25-year career working with some of the world’s leading companies, my commercial or leadership expertise, recruiting and developing hundreds of people along the way, leading to running my own company for the past three years.
It’s strange but when I think about my own Dad, all I know is that he was an advertising manager for the Coop – as a kid I was always impressed by his company car and the fact that I would see him working late at night writing copy. But did I really know what impact he made, what he achieved professionally, what the people he worked with thought of him?
This is one of the main reasons that I stepped out of that 25-year corporate career, forfeited a great work/life balance and a steady income, I needed to find a purpose and I wanted to make more of an impression on my son…
I’ve always been passionate about developing people, from those starting their careers to those looking to become the next company CEO or president. I love helping people grow and seeing them be successful.
But at the same time, I’d always wanted to do my own thing. When I was a teenager, I dreamed about running my own business and building something from nothing. The clock was ticking. In another ten years would it be too late, how frustrated would I be?
Three years ago I set up the REAL Leadership Consultancy as I realised it would give me a personal purpose that had previously been lacking. Previously my purpose had always been intertwined with the corporate one. I decided I wanted to challenge the traditional notion of leadership (especially after this pandemic), give aspiring leaders the chance to learn a different style of leadership, not follow some old-fashioned template…in short, I wanted to grow better leaders.
Recently I’ve been talking to many more senior people who feel they are at a career crossroads. What about you?
If you were working at home more during Covid or have developed a hybrid way of working does your son or daughter have a clearer picture of the impact you make every day in your job?
Have they finally had the chance to see you in “work” mode?
Do you think they are proud of you for doing something you love?
Or if not, perhaps it’s making you rethink your career and your work/life balance?
My most satisfying achievement in the last few years has been showing my son that you always have choices, sometimes you must be brave and sometimes make mistakes…but at least he would have a great story about his Dad.
If any of this resonates with how you feel right now and you’d like to chat with someone who’s done it, send me a note as I’d love to hear from you.
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