I remember as a child that I always wanted to be a leader. I always aspired to be the CEO or President of something. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I always wanted to be the leader. I thought that sounded really cool. If I’m looking back on it now, I probably just thought the title and the power would be cool. I didn’t really process what it meant to be a leader. I was an ambitious little guy.
Not everyone has that aspiration and that’s great. We can’t all be the leaders. We need plenty of people to play lots of roles. Plus, leadership isn’t always a title, but that’s a topic for a future blog post. What I’ve found as I’ve grown older is that you can be just as happy in life (and some might argue happier) without being the leader. Happiness and leadership aren’t necessarily correlated.
In my own personal case, the more I saw the work of the leader the more I realized that I didn’t want to be a leader. Sure, I still thought the power and title would be fun, but when I saw the work they had to do I changed my mind. Being a leader would require me to work with a lot of people. I much preferred working with bits and bytes that did exactly what I told them to do (good and bad).
I’m exaggerating a little bit. I like people and I’m lucky to have many great associations, but I realized that leadership is hard work. Plus, some people are better at that work than others. As in most things in life, it can be full of amazing moments, but it can also cause some of the worst heartache. Leadership is a roller coaster with really high highs and low lows. Be sure to strap in and get ready for the ride.
I guess my message in all of this is it’s good to have ambition and it’s good to strive to be great. However, greatness doesn’t have to always be as a leader of people. Instead, you could be the greatest programmer in the world. You could be the greatest coder in the world. You could be the greatest EHR trainer or implementer in the world. You don’t have to be a leader to be great.
Some people love leading people and that’s great, but if you love training then be great at that and don’t worry about comparing yourself to others. Titles are great, but happiness is not dependent on a title. Find what makes you happy and what doesn’t and stick to the former. That may be a leadership position, but it may not. Be comfortable with either choice.