Written by Liz Swanson, Professional Education Services Assistant Director

Once again, I am continuing on looking at The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews.  This week we are looking at Decision #4: To Have a Decided Heart.

Leadership is tough. I know this is not news to you, but being a leader on any level is hard.  Having a decided heart means staying true to your vision as a leader, even if you have to make some course corrections along the way. Having a decided heart is about how you make decisions. If you have a decided heart, you are making decisions with the goal in mind. You are not seeking the opinions and thoughts of those who do not have a clear or complete picture of the goal.

Having a decided heart also means that you will speak your mind and share your vision even if it makes you and others uncomfortable. It means rising above the voices of doubt in our own head to stay the course and stick with the plan. Having a decided heart also means you do not procrastinate action. To quote from the book, “What I put off until tomorrow, I will put off until the next day as well. I do not procrastinate. All my problems become smaller when I confront them. I will not wait. I am passionate about my vision for the future. My course has been charted, my destiny is assured!”

What happens when you find out the plan is not working or needs adjustment?  Unfortunately, there will be times when you have to regroup.  Here are some simple things to remember when you have to make some course corrections to your vision:

  • Seek out like-minded individuals to talk through the situation. Find one or two people in your life that you trust their advice and share what is going on.
  • Stick to your core values, and the core values of the organization you lead. In times of indecision, visiting those values can help.
  • Chances are the whole plan is not wrong, but action steps along the way can be tweaked. As Andrews says in the book, “A decided heart will look for solutions.” Be a problem solver and look for solutions.
  • Move in a forward motion in your decisions. Don’t let others and self-doubt keep you from moving forward to your goal.

Recently, I saw the musical Hamilton.  Before the show started, I was eavesdropping on two women sitting in front of me.  One woman had just been promoted to a supervisor position in her company and was sharing how hard it was being promoted from within to her friend.  If you are familiar with the play the character of King George comes in just to interject his opinion of the American Revolution from time to time.  The lyrics of one of his songs says, “What comes next? You've been freed…Do you know how hard it is to lead? You're on your own. Awesome...wow! Do you have a clue what happens now? It's much harder when it's all your call. When your people say they hate you, don't come crawling back to me.” The women in front of me heard the song they started elbowing each other and laughing.  The one said, “See I told you it was hard!”