Last month I attended the KPMG Next Generation Leadership Summit, where I had the opportunity to hear Condoleezza Rice share a wonderful piece of advice on achieving personal excellence. “Set higher expectations for yourself than anyone else sets for you because then you will never be disappointed,” she said. I couldn’t agree more. It’s so important to set those stretch goals because that is when we see change happen.
It was a theme for the day. Whitney Johnson in sharing insights based on book, Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, told the audience about the S-Curve of Self Disruption. At the top of the S-Curve you are on a plateau. You have gone through the bumpy part of navigating a new career or job, have gone through a steep learning curve and now you are at a point of mastery. It’s that point where you have it all down, it’s easy, but you aren’t feeling challenged. You can stay there but if you do you, it will become harder and harder to leave. Maybe it’s money or security, but what is really at risk is lack of personal growth and complacency.
I remember this point in my career in advertising. I loved the work and the people I worked with. I had a great office, great commute and great perks. I was respected and had a lot of freedom because I had proved myself. But I really wasn’t learning at the same rate anymore. I thought, I could stay here and have a nice lifestyle. But I will be A) be pigeon-holed in the type of agency and clients I can work for and, B) I will get bored and will need to find an outside passion. The other option was to find a job that did give me more passion. To take a leap and find something that would broaden my horizons and teach me new things. I went that route. I decided, work was a big part of my day I would rather it be something that energizes me that be sitting somewhere want to be somewhere else, doing something else that I cared about more. Always, ask yourself, “Are you learning?” Take some time to set stretch goals for yourself and see where it takes you.