My outlook on life changed radically by becoming the leader of a company. It took me a while to catch on to what was happening to me. I learned how important the path was to the destination.
My answers were being sought out. Critical thinking was a strength of mine. People would ask my thoughts on things, and I felt good about providing answers to their problems. I was quick to judge a situation, person, anything. I was thought of as someone that knew the answers.
There was a level of authority that came with my title. My ways of doing things made other people feel inadequate. In my personal life, the same type of thing happened – people that were close to me felt like they had to live up to my judgment, and when they could not, they felt unnecessary. My strength was, in effect, working against my success.
The problem with this approach is that it is arrogant and deceptive. I made a critical mistake that many of us have made in our lives. I associated success with the wrong thing. Giving answers that resulted in good outcomes made me believe that my approach was not flawed. Boy was I wrong. I found that I was giving answers before understanding the real question.
This resulted in people feeling devalued by the experience.
When someone does not feel understood, it is easy for this person to in turn feel devalued or unappreciated. Although many of the answers I gave was seen as beneficial, the people receiving this advice were left feeling misunderstood – which can prove to be a rather crippling emotion. In some cases, this undervaluing of the person seeking guidance made it especially difficult for them to attempt the solutions I offered.
As time went on, I endured many unnecessary dilemmas. It forced me to become so much more introspective and self aware. I discovered my strength was on a collision course with itself.
I began to realize that the answers where not the prize. I could be successful without the best answer. This was counter-intuitive to me. The question was the gem. Through questions I could learn more and better understand others and their perspectives. This helped me be a leader worth following.
Being CEO forced me to deal with situations that I otherwise may never have dealt with. I am sorry it took me so long to comprehend this. Once I did, all of my meaningful relationships improved. I am grateful to the people that stuck it out with me and endured my “answers” approach to life.