My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

When I was small, most of my friends had career aspirations much different than mine.

Many of them wanted to be doctors, lawyers, mechanics, police officers, firemen and a whole litany of other things.

Not me.

When I grew up, I wanted to be a cowboy. This was a passion fueled by too many Saturday matinees and Louis L'Amour novels, and who can forget the great Willie Nelson song?

Image: stevenschlozman.net

I loved the image of freedom and self sufficiency.

I liked the rough edges, the simple solutions to simple problems, being a loner.

Drift in, fix the town's problems, and ride off into the sunset. (Which is probably why I did so well as a consultant.)

The trouble is... I'm now a CIO leading a team of bright, creative people.

The cowboy image doesn't work for me anymore.

But I keep drifting back to the comfortable zone of self sufficiency.  So I wrote this post to remind myself that innovation will never happen to a cowboy, all by himself.  Drifters don't achieve big dreams.

Every leader needs to be very self aware, and know the unique parts of their personalities that can have a detrimental dark side.  For me, it's my cowboy-ness.

I don't have anything against cowboys, but for me, trying to be one gets in the way.

You can't be a loner, and a leader at the same time.

I need my team, and I need my colleagues, and together we make magic happen.

If you are a kindred spirit who wanted the cowboy life (or still do), have you really hung up your spurs and taken on the role as leader?

If it wasn't the stuff of cowboys... what part of your early dreams gets in the way of your leadership?

By the way... I've kept the boots.  They go well with my motorcycle... but that's another story.

Related Posts:

CIO, Know Thyself
We are our own worst enemy

1 comment:

  1. Well now, I'm confused -you say cowboys never innovate. I disagree - I believe cowboys are tremendous innovators - you have to be if you are going to be self sufficient. So you have traded in the horse for the motorcycle - Whhooaa - that's a major innovation - some cowboys have traded in their horses for motorboats (me)... but I'm still a cowboy - seeking the freedom of self sufficiency and nature and sunsets and some solitude. Even cowboys can't be alone all of the time... and yes, I too, am an almost 40 year veteran of the IT gun fights. I shoot pictures now - innovation.