2012: The Year of the Courageous
I tend to keep away from doing the “New Year Predictions” thing – but this year I’m making an exception. I’ve decided to make one prediction for next year: 2012 is The Year of the Courageous.
What got me thinking about it – and naming it that way – was reading the transcript and seeing the video of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech to the graduating class at Barnard College.
Speaking to an all-woman class, the topic she took on – and with which I agree – is that the next generation of women need to make different and better decisions as future leaders than their predecessors.
The speech was inspiring. But it was even more than that – and it’s the “more” that led me to think about the courage it will take now more than ever, for both men and women to succeed in creating the life and career they want.
Late in the speech, when she talked about the obstacles women put in their own way because they convince themselves that they won’t succeed even before those obstacles appear, her advice was:
“Do not leave before you leave. Do not lean back; lean in.”
That’s when 2012 became, for me, The Year of the Courageous.
Why now? Why is 2012 different? Simple. It’s because, after having gone through the past few years – which are like no others the world has seen in generations – you have to get beyond your and others’ fears. You have to believe that you can succeed – and then act in accordance with that belief.
The Myth of Better Times
I began my executive advisory business after what was known as “Black Monday” in 1987. Everyone told me that it was the worst possible time to choose to leave a comfy senior position in corporate America to go out on my own. That my dream of being an entrepreneur was all well and good – but that I should wait until times were “better” to begin living that dream.
I didn’t listen. To my way of thinking, starting out when things couldn’t have been worse couldn’t have been a better decision. After all, if the odds were completely stacked against me, I’d know whether I had what it took to create the business I envisioned.Continued on the next page