Leadership Lesson #6: Enjoy the easy parts
Category : leadership
Author’s note: This is the sixth in a series of articles about the leadership lessons learned while hiking Usery Mountain with my 17-year-old son.
Approximately two-thirds of the way up to the summit, the path flattened and the seven-mile hike was easy for a stretch. Easier than it had been in a long time.
My mind, alternating between awe-struck by the beauty of the mountain and distracted by the need to get my son to the airport in just a few short hours, almost missed it.
It was my body that pointed it out.
A lighter step.
A deeper breath.
A chance to look up.
My pulse slowed, my breathing got easier, and I began to look out to the stunning views of a neighboring mountain range.
The shift in my body triggered a shift in my mind.
And then I realized: I almost forgot to enjoy the easy part.
That’s what it’s like for leaders, too. We run the risk of failing to enjoy the easy parts when we are in the midst of challenging and difficult work.
It’s easy to miss the easy parts. We get so caught up and consumed with the trials, tribulations and trauma (and drama!) of our journey that we fail to appreciate and enjoy the stress-free, easy parts.
The easy parts are when our work feels more like play than work. We can relax a bit and sink into the terrain more, appreciating the moment and the fluidity with which things are unfolding.
It’s in those moments that the sweetness of leadership is felt.
Oh sure, satisfaction is also felt in the victory of a hard fought battle for market share or the race to launch a new product or service. But that’s different. Those aren’t the easy parts.
The easy parts are when the slope of the path underfoot evens out and the going is good.
The easy parts are sweet because we get a chance to look up. And in that moment when we pull our head up, we invariably see things we hadn’t seen before: the opportunity to thank a colleague for their help, a chance encounter with someone in our network, or merely the possibility of catching our breath before the next leg of the journey.
As you push forward, leading your team or yourself to the next milestone, don’t forget to enjoy the easy parts.