Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When You Don't Feel Like It

    Some of the worst times are when a leader just doesn't feel like leading.  It happens to everyone.  In fact mine was happening right before I started to write this post.  I opened my computer and turned on the TV.  Football was on.  For a few minutes I wasn't in the mood to write anything down.  It could have been that I just didn't know what to talk about.  It might had been that I just got home from work at nine o'clock and didn't feel like writing.  Sit down and type something up or just sit and watch Monday Night Football.  Hmmm....
     So what did I do?  I turned the TV off and tried to write something down.  Eventually this story came out.  Why not write about what I was dealing with at that very moment.  When to lead when you don't feel like it.  Hall of Fame Basketball player Jerry West was quoted as saying, "You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good."  Jerry West knew something about not wanting to go to work in his basketball days.  In 1960 Jerry was drafted with the second overall pick by the Minneapolis Lakers.  Being drafted by a midwestern team would suit Jerry well because he grew up in West Virginia.  Unfortunately for Jerry after he was drafted the team relocated to Los Angeles.  
     In the beginning, Jerry felt odd in his west coast environment.  Jerry by nature was a loner.   He had a high-pitched voice which earned him the nickname "Tweety Bird".   He spoke with such a thick Appalachian accent that his teammates also referred to him as "Zeke from Cabin Creek".  Don't you think Jerry felt like not going to work each day?  It would have been just as easy for him to pack his bags and head back to West Virginia.  Jerry thought differently.  He decided to put the extra hours in the gym to become better.  His work ethic and physical ability caught people's attention and eventually acceptance and respect from the Laker organization.  The Laker's organization thought so much of his career that in 1983 they retired his number #44 to the rafters of the Staple Center.
     As leaders we have to do the same thing.  Show up to work.  When we show up to work we have to work our best.  By doing so we can also gain the respect and admiration of the people around us.  I am not saying that our world will be trouble free, but at least we will be present and working through the troubles.  People in an organization want to see that from their leaders.  Present and engaged.  Showing up everyday and working side by side with them in the trenches.  A good philosophy is: "When you don't feel like leading, then just fake it until you do."  You might be surprised that no one will notice the difference.

Want to know more about Basketball Hall of Fame player Jerry West?  Click on this "Flashback" video below.

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