Many people in my line of work tend to get a little cynical over time. As I described in The Radical Leap, when I was new to the world of organizational and leadership development an older–and supposedly wiser–guy who had built a sterling rep as an executive coach and corporate change agent gave me the following bit of perspective and advice on my chosen career path:
“No matter what you say or how you say it, no matter if you cajole or threaten, no matter if you provide overwhelming evidence supporting your client’s need to change, they will never, ever listen to you, Steve. You may make good money, but you won’t make a difference. If you’re okay with that, fine; otherwise, find another line of work.”
And this from a “Corporate Change Agent”?
For whatever reason, I (thankfully) chose to dismiss him and his “advice” and follow my heart anyway. Maybe I’ve made a direct difference in people’s lives, maybe I haven’t. I’ll leave that conclusion to others.
What I do know, at the very least, is that I’ve managed to encourage others to make a difference in the lives of the people around them (I’ll give you some evidence of that in my next post), and that, for me, is what makes every day a deeply fulfilling enterprise.
But for now, a question for you:
Has someone older and “wiser” ever given you advice and/or perspective that you summarily disregarded in order to follow the calling of your own heart?
And, if so, what’s the lesson we can all learn from your experience?
And I promise not to summarily disregard your answer.