Why I Wanted to be a Leader? The Same Reasons I Wanted to be a Parent.

Recently at TechDay in NYC I was asked — “So what do you want to do next in your career?”

I simply replied, “I want to be a marketing leader for a startup”.

“Why?”

My answer was short, but had a lot of meaning.

“For the same reasons I wanted to be a parent.”

Since our conversation was quite easy-going, and witty to that point, the questioner waited for a punchline. And then I gave them this:

“Because I want to create an environment where my children can have every opportunity to be the best they can be. I want to take all my years of experience, wisdom, skills — and missed opportunities — and pass them on to my children.”

I saw the look of intrigue, as their eyes motioned for me to continue.

“A company is like a family. Dysfunctional, emotionally charged, and requires a great deal of time, effort, patience, guidance, mentoring, coaching, course-correcting, and dialogue to be successful… As a parent, you want to give your child the best clothes, food, education, experiences… and the reward? Seeing them flourish in ways that only you as a parent can appreciate, especially knowing that you had a hand in it.”

I wasn’t sure if they were still with me or even listening at this point, it was well after lunch time.

“There are times with your employees, just like with your children, that you will be very hands-on, do a lot of hand-holding, and with enough love, encouragement, teaching, and support, handing-off.”

“How will you know if you have succeeded, especially at a startup?”

“When they no longer need me and they want to be a leader themselves.”

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