Bill George has become one of my favorite leadership-related authors. I have yet to read a book of his that wasn’t filled with helpful insights, and True North is no different.
I was grabbed by one specific sentence:
“When you can find a role that plays to your strongest capabilities and your greatest motivations, you will be in your ‘sweet spot’ as a leader.”
That is one of the best summaries I have seen of what to pay attention to in order to be the best leader you can be. Identify what you are really good at and what your deepest motivations are. Then find a role that allows you to express both. When you do, you will be in a place that enables you to be the best leader possible.
As I reflect on that, I think the first half of that equation—knowing what we are good at—is the easiest part. Identifying our deepest motivations is much trickier. We often don’t know what those are.
I think we often claim to be motivated by things that we think should motivate us rather than what really does. For example, I concluded that I needed to lose weight this year. Over the last few years, I gained over sixty pounds—and I wasn’t exactly underweight to begin with. As I examined what motivated me to lose weight, I felt like I should be motivated by things like being healthier. But the truth is that I was just as motivated—probably more so—by how I looked in the mirror. Embracing that truth allowed me to access my own motivation, which has helped me lose thirty-five pounds so far. I’m convinced that the weight loss wouldn’t have happened if I had focused on what my motive “should have been” rather than what it actually was.
Have you found your sweet spot? How did you do it, and what difference has it made for you?