My mother was an elegant woman who never went out in public without looking very pulled together. Her hair was always well-coiffed, her clothes properly tailored and suited for her petite frame, and her youthful face was stark in its contrast to the date of birth listed on her passport. “If you want to look good ten years from now,” she said, “you’d better get started on that today.” Many years later I realized that my mother’s advice applies to both life and business.
There is nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of that moment when you’re first awarded an important leadership role. Having “finally arrived” you imagine yourself as the rock star taking center stage at a roaring stadium of adoring fans. You can almost hear the ear shattering cheers of the crowd as they clamor to get closer, iPhones in hand, ready for the chance to take a cherished selfie and bask in your celebrity. The congratulatory comments and notes follow soon after, as do the handshakes, hugs and backslaps of colleagues, some of who may be actually be truly happy for your success. But, after repeatedly playing this movie in your head, (in which your performance in the leading role is, of course, Oscar worthy) at some point you come face to face with the enormity of your responsibility to others. Grand titles and big salary aside, the burning issue now is how you’ll show up as a leader and what legacy you’ll leave behind.