This week I’ll be speaking at the CEO Club of Baltimore. I love to speak at CEO Club events. Every time I speak at one of their meetings I meet the most dynamic, successful, accomplished and hard-working business leaders in the country.
I’ll open my presentation talking about drugs and dropping out of college.
What kind of resume is that?
How does being a former drug addict and dropout qualify me to talk to accomplished business leaders?
In a word…transformation.
As a leader, you know that the only way to survive, prosper and serve the people who willingly follow you is to adapt and change in response to the ever-changing environment around you.
To paraphrase John P. Kotter, if you don’t change in today’s business environment, you cannot survive. Period.
A very long time ago, a wise man named Lao Tzu taught that the only constant in life is change.
About 30 years ago I was living in a drafty trailer near Sebago Lake in Maine…
We called our trailer “Stonehenge.” Over the front door we proudly displayed a hand-written sign that read, “We ARE the people our parents warned us about.”
When people ask me what was the one moment that turned everything around, with the benefit of hindsight I point to one summer party where I smoked a joint.
I didn’t smoke joints at the time. Not because I didn’t smoke pot- I smoked bails of pot…but I couldn’t get off on just a joint. By this time I had about a 10 bhang hit a day habit plus the auxiliary medicinals that woke me up, kept me up, settled me down and kept me from experiencing the reality I sought to escape.
Anyway- someone passed me a joint and “Bogarted” it…kept it for myself.
After finishing this joint, I noticed something wasn’t right. I started to feel very strange. Long story short, after trying to jump out of the living room window and smashing my head into the refrigerator- I ended up either passing out or restrained.
In the morning I found myself looking in my bathroom mirror to see a face that looked like I’d gone 3 rounds with Mike Tyson.
I found out later that the joint I smoked had been laced…with angel dust.
At that moment, I knew something had to change…and I knew the only person who was going to change me was the guy looking back at me in that mirror.
So what does this have to do with being a business leader in a C-suite office?
You have something you want to change.
You have a mirror.
Now I’m not saying you have to be a junky to appreciate the value of self-transformation. In fact, I strongly recommend that you avoid the route I took.
But- as I learned how to transform myself from a junky to a Black Belt, I learned about the most powerful process in the human experience…
Self-perfection means embracing the continual process of change, self-discovery, transformation and personal growth. It means being the kind of person you expect others to be- a person who is learning, growing and developing…
As a leader, this process always begins with you.
The challenges facing business leaders today are immense and unprecedented. Those who embrace change and transformation will excel. They’ll inspire others to greater levels of achievement, innovation and productivity.
Those who don’t will be staring at themselves in a mirror someday wondering what happened!
“Perfection is not a destination; it’s a never-ending process…Enjoy!”