Learning Leadership

by Megan M. on October 29, 2008 (Blog) |

In the last few weeks I found myself accidentally managing a hyooooge project.

Oops! How’d that happen?

I was putting in the requisite effort and was pleased to serve any role I seemed to fit. But that morphed somehow, and now I’ve found myself making a lot of decisions I’m not used to making. I’m incredibly pleased with how everything’s going, and as much as I have on my plate I am still enjoying the work, still determined to move forward and make it awesome, still powering ahead at high speed. But this project is a completely new kind of challenging for me, and in the best, most growth-inducing way possible… It’s uncomfortable. The really good kind of uncomfortable, but far more of it than I’m accustomed to!

I’m experiencing a bizarre phenomenon that I figure readers might benefit from, and I’m going to tell you about it. Ready?

I constantly find myself just dying to tell someone…

...That I don’t know what I’m doing.

I want to say, I’ve never ever done this before. I want to say, I haven’t a clue how to deal with a project like this.

I want to make sure the listener understands—beyond any doubt whatsoever—that it’s all been a matter of luck, rather than intelligence or expertise. Maybe, despite our reasonable success so far, I’m afraid I might fail… or maybe I really do think it’s all an accident, and has nothing to do with perception or skill.

My constant urge is to vomit my insecurities into the nearest friendly ear.

Yes. Turns your stomach, doesn’t it? Well, it should!

The truth is, I can see that better decisions might have been made—here, there, everywhere. But the project is still going well, and it’s still moving forward. I have repressed all but one incidence of verbal vomiting, which was private and probably not all that gross. I haven’t told another single person how magnificently unprepared I am for the job I am doing, until now. And now you know what’s going through my head.

But. Here’s the thing. Like any kind of performance, I’m not convinced it’s visible. I can tell you I was shakin’ in my boots when I gave my Toastmasters speech, but you might not have known until that moment that I was nervous at all. And I think I might be giving myself a bum rap. If I pause and give myself a little credit, I’m not so sure after all that I really don’t know what I’m doing.

I mean, I’m doing it. Whatever it is.

That’s something, right?



1 Pace 10.29.08 at 5:24 pm

THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! This means that you, yes YOU reading this blog, can do it too! It’s not true that there are two types of people in the world, those who are cut out to lead and those who aren’t. Everyone starts out not having a clue what they’re doing. All it takes is persistence, desire, and a willingness to learn. All those awesome famous people you know? They didn’t start out knowing what to do. They started out clueless and afraid just like you and me. Anyone can rise to the occasion if you put your heart into it and just TRY.

2 Megan 10.29.08 at 7:48 pm

Pace, way to cut straight to the heart of the thing! YEAH! All it takes is a little discomfort and some FAITH. (I’ll let you know if it all works out that way! Ha!!)

3 Rudi Whitmore 10.29.08 at 7:52 pm

Megan, I think the biggest step any of us take is the one that leads us somewhere that we have no idea where it’s going. Pace is absolutely correct. The people who really know their shit started up knowing nothing, and feeling it out. That’s why they’re so good.

That’s why YOU’RE so good and brave. I’m proud of you.

4 Megan 10.29.08 at 7:55 pm

@Rudi: Have I mentioned that I love you a TON!?

5 Marcos 10.30.08 at 8:16 pm

Congratulations, Megan.

“We need you to lead us” – says Seth´s book cover.

You are DOING it!

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