Saturday night I received a call from my middle child. A couple of weeks ago her keys to her car and apartment were missing. In the last couple of days, she had noticed a few nondescript items missing from her car. She was alone in her apartment and scared. As I laid in bed, I worried for her safety as well as her peace of mind. Sunday morning, I got up and jumped in my car and drove the 150 miles to her apartment, grateful that she had chosen a university within a few hour's drive. Upon my arrival, we reprogramed her key fob, installed new deadbolts and door locks at her apartment and even added a security system. She kept trying to apologize for causing me to make the trip. Finally, I just looked at her a said, "it is part of the dad contract". I knew what I signed up for, not only was it my responsibility, it was my pleasure. I was able to spend an afternoon with my daughter, treat her to lunch, catch up over a Starbucks and provide us both with some needed peace of mind. I could not think of a better way to spend the day.
I knew what I signed up for, not only was it my responsibility, it was my pleasure.
I gave her a kiss and hug and was on my way. As I drove home, I started to worry about my youngest. He was attending a concert in San Francisco and I was concerned for his safety at the event and in his travels home. I smiled as I recognized again, "it was part of the dad contract". I had this realization, that this pervasive and constant worry for my family is not unlike that which I have for my clients and my business. It is part of the leadership contract as well. Worry comes with responsibility, care and passion. The key is what you do with it.
That this pervasive and constant worry for my family is not unlike that which I have for my clients and my business.
Worry can be viewed as a fork in the road. You can turn in one of two directions. On the road away from the source your worry festers, wearing you down. It becomes a heavy weight, causing paralysis and inaction. It leads to more stress and stagnation. You become a victim of your own worry. The other direction is towards the source of that worry. This turn embodies leadership. It requires action and a confrontation with your fear or concern. I could have easily stayed home on Sunday watching football. Heck my wife was out of town, my son at a concert and, I would have gotten away with sitting on my butt all day. But, would have worried. It would be my constant companion, gnawing away at my soul. So, I took action.
On the road away from the source your worry festers, wearing you down.
Even if we take action, we must understand that we can't always control things or determine the outcome. However, we can have our say in that outcome. Part of the leadership contract is leaning into your worries, fears and doubts. You signed up for that when you took on the role. Turning away at the fork is not a choice. As a leader, like a parent there is only one direction, and that is towards it.
For those of you in the states reading this article, I want to wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving. My daughters are both coming home for the holiday, which makes me extremely happy and, of course causes me to worry about their travels. But hey, that is just part of the dad contract.
Thanks for reading.
Elliot Begoun is a Business Growth Specialist and the Principal of The Intertwine Group. His purpose is to grow businesses and business leaders. He helps organizations establish strategic guardrails, develop integrative leaders, foster employee enlightenment and practice mindful marketing. Elliot works with businesses internationally serving as a consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator.