Simple But Hard Advice I Received From A CEO

Asking for advice is a great tool, but you have to know how and when to do it. Once I was at a party and decided to start a conversation with a guy sitting next to me. It turns out he’s the CEO for a major airport.

I didn’t even know airports had CEOs, so I learned something right from the beginning of this conversation!

Anyways, so we chatted for a bit but before leaving, I asked him if he could share one piece of advice. I said,

“You’ve obviously been successful in your career. What’s one piece of career advice you can share with me that has helped you get to where you are today?”

I love asking this question because most people are eager to share what they’ve learned and it makes people stop to reflect for a few seconds and that’s when you make a connection.

That question also makes people feel special, which is crucial in the connection process. But for some reason, I was expecting him to say something really deep and profound. Instead, he said,

“Always do the right thing because you’ll never have to worry about what you did. And you’ll always be able to sleep well at night.”

Most of the time we expect that the biggest life changing stuff will come from radically new ways of doing things or new information that will completely blow our mind, but leadership is based on small principles that build up like a snowball when practiced constantly. 

What I love about principles is that they are timeless and create a level playing field because they’re available to anyone willing to implement them. You don’t need a degree, wealth, or connections to do the right thing. But it means that you have to be willing to do hard things like having integrity.

What I’ve noticed in my leadership journey is that doing the hard thing is a theme that keeps coming up. It’s a simple choice, but impact shows if you’re leading or not.

Are you doing the right thing when you have the chance?

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