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Leadership and Driving with a Full Tank of Gas

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Do you feel more relaxed when you are on a journey and the gas tank registers "full?" You know you will have to replenish yet, for the time being you can glide along musing about creating new products, getting your team to cooperate better, leadership development for the high potentials, or finding a marketing model that will kick it for the new year.

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Think for a moment about how good it feels to be full up and not always worrying about driving on empty.

That is what this year can be about, making sure you are always driving your organization while feeling full and confident. It is about keeping your emotional and mental perspectives in a healthy balance and not letting yourself be seduced by the "stuff" of life that drains and makes us frantic.

So much has been said lately about cars. There is the down slide of GM and Chrysler. We have all witnessed the end of an era. Then there is cash for clunkers. I must admit I don't really know anyone who had a clunker, most I know drive shiny prestige named autos.

What I do know is that our romance with cars is changing. I also know that with the economy still in a tentative place most business people I speak with are keeping their cars longer and are less focused on trading up. It seems cars are no longer the status symbol of success. And gas guzzlers are no longer socially correct. What we covet is taking us down a new road.

So, what are the new conversations business executives and organizational leaders are having today? Not so much about the "stuff" that once showed the value of a man or woman. Entrepreneurs, senior corporate leaders, government officials are finally putting priorities in a more real place. Discussions are becoming more open, more honest, and more real. We are finally looking at the fruits of our labors and asking if we have bought into a pattern from the past about how and what makes life livable.

No matter what kind of car, most of us have, in effect, been driving on empty. We have been running fast and furious without taking time to ask ourselves the questions about what really matters.

Here are some thought to ponder:
No amount of money will ever fill up your internal tank
• When you spend time worrying about the possibility of losing what you have there is a tendency to become rigid and fixed
• More is better until it turns toxic
• King Midas felt the curse of turning even those dear to him to gold
• Nightgowns and nightshirts don't come with calculators
• Satisfaction can never be guaranteed forever

Learning how you can balance your work life with your family as well as your personal delights, is the work of 21st century entrepreneurs and executives. We are truly learning that no matter how much you fill the tank of material goods you inevitably end up driving on empty.

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