Dear younger self – part 1

I read one time that most people struggle to define themselves during their 20s.  Finally figure out a few things in their 30’s.  Really begin to capitalize on their knowledge in the their 40’s.  And realize the maximum return on their intellectual investment in the decades that follow.  I can only speak toward 2 of those decades, but from my perspective, it seems pretty accurate.

Frankly, I’m hoping this will be the last decade I look into the past and have to admit I knew absolutely NOTHING.

So as 40 looms ever closer, I thought I’d jot down a few things I’ve learned in my 30’s that were epic fails in my 20’s.  Here comes the awkward…

1) Being the leader doesn’t mean I get to be a butt-hole

Yes, yes, I know.  It’s hard to believe, but in fact true.  Somewhere along the line I came to believe that being a leader meant trampling those I was leading.  Whether it was a completely rude approach to a legitimate issue, or just a narcissistic stab at personal servitude, I was in it for myself.  Sadly, this was no more evident than with my family.  During my many loud and aggressive rants, I would often notice the sympathetic glances of onlookers directed at Karrie and the kids (just McKenzie and Mason at the time).  And in true form, I’d play it off as insignificant and bask even more proudly in my great “leadership ability”.

With heavy incredulity and a weighty sense of embarrassment, I gladly leave those days behind.

Not that my baggage doesn’t ever get the best of me, but when it does I recognize it for what it is – a character flaw.  I’ve learned that leadership has more to do with giving up certain rights rather than bankrolling them.  And while it’s an ongoing process, the impact so far has been significant.  My kids are happier, my wife feels more secure, and from time to time folks might even say I’m enjoyable to be around.

Got a similar story?  What was it that made you begin the change?




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