I hear this from midlevel managers.
I just heard it in a conversation in my remote office.
But I also hear it from CEOs.
It’s hard to lead from this place. Because you’ve given up all your power. To your manager, to your board, to your investors.
I had a client a couple of years ago who was passionate about creating a new role for herself in a large organization. That organization had no one who was looking at a critical and rapidly growing area for the firm. An area that will have an outsized impact on the organization’s success over the next few decades. Yet no one was managing this area on behalf of the firm.
My client saw the opportunity. She was able to make a strong business case for investing in the area.
And she decided she was the one to lead it, because of her passion, and her willingness to do the work to become a global expert.
She had been in a sales role, so making a business case, across a large organization, was something she was exceptionally good at.
Still, it took her more than a year to convince the organization to create the role, and she had to be willing to do it part time, at first.
But she did it. She didn’t wait for permission. She created, and persuaded, and iterated. Again and again. Until she had what she wanted, which today is a full time senior role in the organization. Her responsibilities have been broadened three times since she was willing to start part-time.
All because she was determined to create what she wanted and sell the benefits to her organization. Instead of asking permission and waiting and hearing no and then complaining that she was helpless.
You are not helpless. You are powerful beyond measure. So powerful you are able to create yourself as helpless despite all evidence to the contrary. And believe you are helpless because it feels safe, even though it feels dead, too.
Do you know what you want? Are you willing to ask for it? To create it? Are you willing to persuade others of the broader benefits of what you want to create?
And are you willing to keep doing it, over and over, until you’ve created what you want?