I’ve seen so many potentially great leaders waste opportunities because they were waiting for the perfect scenario before they began to develop as a leader.
A few scenarios:
They don’t enjoy where they are currently in life or work so they think there is nothing to be gained where they are now.
They aren’t in their dream job so they don’t look for the learning potentials in their present situation.
They don’t respect the leader they are supposed to follow so they close themselves off from learning anything—whether good or bad—from him or her.
They don’t plan to stay in their current work location for long, so they fail to use the time for personal growth opportunities.
They don’t enjoy the people with whom they work, so they burn bridges and miss building future relational connections.
They are waiting for the “right” opportunity, so they never give their best effort to their current opportunity—not realizing their “off-paper” resume (what others say about them) is often more important than what’s on paper.
What a mistake!
Here are a few things I’ve learned by experience:
There is no guarantee your next location will be any healthier.
There is no guarantee your next leader will be any stronger.
There is no guarantee your next will like it any more.
If you don’t work well with the people you are currently working with—what if the problem is more you than them?
You may end up being in a worse opportunity. The grass, which appears greener on the other side, often turns out not to be.
Here’s my advice:
Take advantage of where you are now.
Learn all you can now and from every opportunity.
Grow where you are now.
Give your best now.
Build relationships now.
Develop where you are today.
Build your character. Increase your relational skills. Grow in knowledge. Learn from every experience. And, for best results, keep a journal of what you are learning along the way.
It will make you better prepared when you reach a job you do love, in a place you do love, with a leader you want to follow.
And, most importantly, it’s the right thing to do.
If you don’t see yourself in your current position for at least five years, or even one year from now—that’s OK—give the next whatever time you have the best you’ve got. Bloom where you’re planted.
There are lessons, principles and wisdom to be gained in every situation. Never waste those opportunities.
Help all of us. Describe a time when you developed as a leader in an environment you didn’t enjoy.
This article originally appeared here.