2nd Guessing

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Clashing colors. “Crazy” board-shorts. For those of you who surf, dive, participate in water sports, or want to look “cool” hanging out at the pool, you’re probably familiar with board-shorts. My favorites are from a company called Billabong (www. billabong.com). I like ‘em because they’re constructed well, fit loosely and come in a variety of colors and designs. You might tell from the photo that I like “crazy” board-shorts.

Recently, as I’ve taken up diving in the Philippines, I’ve had to make a choice between wearing a wetsuit or simply my shorts. Well, the choice, for me, was easy. I’m warm natured, the water is warm (~28 degrees C), and I feel more “free” in the shorts. Plus I’m told that color in the water serves as a type of warning to other marine life. It means “watch out – I’m dangerous.” … So, my shorts really serve several purposes. They’re a fashion statement (of sorts). They are functional and long-lasting (providing good value). And they prevent me from being eaten by the sharks.

Seriously, I can’t explain fully why I’m attracted to the crazy designs & color, but I am. Maybe it’s my mid-life crisis showing up on stage. Regardless, I get a lot of comments. Some good. Some bad. Some funny. … A couple comments I’ve heard recently – “Are you sure you want to wear THOSE???? … Maybe you’d like to wear another pair of shorts?” … “Really?! You’re going to wear THOSE tonight?”

Whenever I hear comments like that, I kinda laugh (yes, sometimes I kinda get annoyed – depends on the person making the comment). For the most part, I let the comments roll off my back. No big deal. After all, we’re only talking about a pair of shorts. Swim trunks. Board-shorts. Not world peace.

Yet as I was thinking about some of the comments, I starting thinking about how leaders are often (always?) 2nd Guessed. As I thought about the key decisions I’ve made (and those I’ve read about in books, academic journals, popular business magazines, etc.) I realized that in nearly every case there were a few who 2nd Guessed my decision(s). Sometimes more than a few. Have all my decisions been “right?” No. But even the decisions that were nearly perfect have been 2nd Guessed.

So what’s the “takeaway?” Simply this – every leadership decision that you make is likely to be 2nd Guessed – especially if you lead a large organization, make significant change, take a strong stance, or go against “the crowd.” Be prepared for it. Do your homework. Make a good decision. And don’t 2nd Guess yourself. Don’t lose sleep over a decision that’s already been made. Yes, you might have to make adjustments but don’t allow the “peanut gallery” to drag you down. If you took your time, considered relevant data, included the right people, and stayed true to your (and your organization’s) values, rest easy. Don’t allow the naysayers and their 2nd Guessing to bother you.

In the picture, you’ll notice a second pair of crazy shorts. A good friend decided to have some fun, cut loose, and join the “elite”. Love it! Now we’re twins. Don’t be afraid of swimming upstream and doing your own thing. Take a chance. Make a decision. Stand firm. Don’t let peer pressure and those who 2nd Guess to get the best of you.

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

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