On Tuesday, just before they graduated from the program, I asked my Leadership Fairbanks students one final question: What are you going to do about it?
After 9-months of discussions and lectures about leadership, the long-term value of the program ultimately hinged on how they would choose to respond to what they had learned and experienced. There wasn’t another class on the horizon to insulate them from the future, there was only the reality that they were completely responsible for what they chose to do next.
I want to challenge you in the same way, because this question is as much for you as it was for them: What are you going to do about it?
Learning about leadership does not make you a leader, and reading one more book on conflict resolution or taking one more class on personnel management are useless pursuits if you don’t choose to think or act differently in the future as a result. The responsibility to change is always yours.
Thankfully, like those 25 students, you are the kind of person who takes responsibility for yourself and others. The business world seems so full of people intent on treading water, but that’s not you. You are the kind of person who has important work to do, the kind of person who will make things better for everyone else because you are committed to challenging yourself with pursuits that are teeming with danger. While so many of your peers are avoiding anything that might not work, you recognize the immense value associated with pushing yourself into uncharted territory.
You have great work to do, work that won’t get accomplished if you spend your time complaining about your circumstances or waiting for someone else to reassure you with platitudes about how everything is going to work out just fine.
Everything might not work out just fine, but you have the opportunity to do your very best work and everyone is watching to see what you are going to do about it.