becoming a leader

One of the recent books I’ve read for career development, is On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis. It was a comprehensive book that took a deep dive into leadership, what is and what isn’t. The main take away I got from this book was, being a leader is hard to do right and easy to mess up. Some of my other notes from the book include:

  • Leaders seek continuous education
  • Accepts responsibility for good, but especially for the bad
  • Gains wisdom through reflection, reflection grants perspective
  • Learning is a tool that needs to be practiced, you can learn anything you want.
  • Question everything, respectfully of course.

Have you ever gotten the feeling the universe was trying to tell you something? I felt this way with Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism. No, not because it was on the New York Times bestseller list, but because I kept stumbling across it. I caught an Art of Charm podcast with Greg which made me think, hey this sounds like something I should read one of these days. Then I heard a reference to this book on another podcast, and finally I watched a presentation by Jes Borland (b/t) talking about the principles of Essentialism in regards to being busy, which is the video below.


It’s about an hour long video, but so worth the time. Even though it’s from the 2017 Chicago Code camp, it’s not a technical discussion.


So what is Essentialism you ask? The book defines essentialism as anything you are passionate about in your life, and then focusing on that. Boil down your interests to things you are passionate about and avoid the things that take away from that. A good example is sporting gear. If you are avid hiker, back packer, dirt biker ride, and you have golf clubs and skis that you haven’t used in a decade. Maybe you should get rid of the clutter of the skis and golf clubs, because you aren’t into as much as you thought. Translation, only keep the stuff that adds value to your life.

Another aspect of Essentialism the book talks about, is saying no. Your time is a precious commodity that you should protect. Why sacrifice your time to attend an event that you’re not really into just because of social pressure? Why get shackled with a project you don’t really want to do, just because you were asked. The book reminds us it’s ok to say No. It’s ok to say No to focus on the things that we value.

Honestly, for me, this isn’t something new at all. I have been coming to this conclusion on my own, but felt like I was being self centered/self serving. So perhaps the universe was trying to tell me something, and maybe it was just my mind was ready to accept the concept. This concept of living essentially deeply resonated with me, and I plan on pursing it. Anyone needs golf clubs or skis?