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I just want to work at a mattress store

Whew! What a week.  Day-long meetings.  Travel between cities.  Issues and conflicts.  Financial challenges and people challenges. Very few of the things on my “ToDo” list for the week got done.  Leadership accomplishments for the week?  Nill.  And a sinking feeling that next week may be the same.

Leader, do you ever have the same type of week as me?  I suspect we all do.

I want to work in a mattress store

Several of our businesses are located in centers where there is also a mattress store.  And every time I walk or drive by these mattress stores, I see the same thing: one clerk, sitting alone, usually on his or her cellphone.  No customers.  No vendors.  No HVAC issues.  No overflowing sinks or trash that hasn’t been taken out.  No scuffs on the walls or bathroom doors that won’t close.  Just a clerk.  Sitting by himself.  With time to burn.

Don’t that sound appealing?  Who wouldn’t want a job where there were no pressures?  How I would love to not have an urgent-and-important ToDo list burning a hole in my laptop computer.

But not really.

Leadership compulsion and leadership accomplishments

You see leader, one of the compulsions that define us as leaders is the compulsion to push forward.  Leaders accomplish things.  Many times those things are hard to accomplish; many times they are intangible and hard-to-measure.  Many times they are 2-steps-forward and 1.9999-steps-back. But at the end of the day, if you are a leader of any value, you push.  In fact, you’d rather dig ditches than work at a mattress store.  At least at the end of the day you could look back on the ditch that was dug.  Activity over in-activity.  Doing vs. not doing.  Pushing vs. working at a mattress store. That’s what defines you as a leader.

So the next time you drive by a mattress store and wistfully wish for a simpler life, remember: if you’re a real leader, you wouldn’t last a week.