I have been asked on numerous occasions what the “secret” to my success really is. I don’t typically have a very good answer because at that point I’m still wondering what they really mean by “success” and what they consider my success to really be (I have a hard time seeing it myself – always interesting to see that others see it more clearly than I!).
Eventually I share things like importance of my mentors, my teams, and my family that really provide the bulk of the success that I’ve had as well as the guidance and wisdom from significant people like my father.
But that’s somewhat of a cop-out since it doesn’t answer the question directly:
What is one of your secrets that you are responsible of creating for your success?
The answer comes easily as we navigate down that path and it’s this: Reading.
The reason that I have more books than anything else in my life is because I’m a voracious reader. It is the way that I get the most inspiration and the reason that many of the businesses and ventures that I’ve started (or started then exited) became a reality.
Time and time again I have found incredible wisdom, insight, and discovered personal and professional challenges from the many books that I read. Not all of them are “business books” either – many of them are the classics, even the romantics, fiction and non-fiction alike, and even a few autobiographies and biographies.
Reading is an uncompromisable source of innovation for not only myself but also my team. And therein lies the importance of that role and that responsibility. You see, it is my job and my duty to read, a lot. I read more than all of the individuals on my team combined. I read more books in a month than a few of them have read in their entire lifetime (no joke).
And I relish this responsibility because it is unique and it helps me provide incredible value for them and the direction of our shared vision. I allot time for it, block out my schedule for reading, and allow it to be on tap at any moment. Even if it’s for a brief few minutes in the carpool lane waiting for my kindergardener to run down the hill I’ll have a book at the ready.
This is my role, my responsibility, my love, and my passion – I do not get to read as nearly as much as I would like.
This clarity, focus, and uniqueness of my role makes it incredibly important and special to me. I love it when such things are defined so well and that it’s universally agreed upon in the context of contribution.
I would also venture to say two additional things, if I may, to those that might have made it this far into this blog post:
- If you consider yourself a reader then you will read. A lot. You will make time for it and make it a consistent priority.
- If you want to be a leader (because you don’t yet consider yourself one, for whatever reason) then reading a lot is all that might be missing. Start and see what happens.
I think good leaders lead. I think great leaders read.