I came back to the room exhausted. My leg was not bleeding, but there was already a scar forming on my cab. It was painful a little bit. Still, I thought that I had fun today. But was I a better version of myself compared to yesterday? The sad answer was not.
I know exactly what I have been procrastinating on. And I felt ashamed for that. I felt ashamed of how little I made things happened. I felt ashamed of not the idea of not being productive, but felt ashamed of the idea that I am not taking charge of my motion, my direction, and my thought. I am not updating the skills that I need. I am running circles to circles to circles without an end part.
And I would be just wondering, what made me became so selfish, and self-centered? Had I always thought of myself and not really others? I felt like I have not done enough.
At the end of the day, I felt like my day was left being undone, because I knew there were things I should have accomplished.
And going to sleep knowing that I have wasted another day just to be rushed tomorrow, is a shitty experience to have.
Today, I have spent fun time with my friends, but was it important? Maybe it was, and I appreciated that. Still, I couldn’t avoid thinking:…what if I had the momentum that I had in the morning, The momentum of undisrupted.
I would definitely need to be reminded of regret, because it’s like the worst medicine for my procrastination. I hate regret. I hate it more than being rushed. Maybe being rushed is an alarm for regret. Remorse, is worse than regret, but I shall never go there. I would never allow myself to do anything to have that sense of remorse. Regret, as well, and it’s on the controllable side of the problem. If I know about something but I don’t act on it, suddenly I would have this huge sense of regret. And so now I know, regret would be directly associated with a lack of action in the face of adverse information.
It took me such a long time to move out of my shell, to build up my confidence, and to just be present in the real world. Do I have the gut now? Occasionally, as I know that I’m more of an introvert. But I really don’t want to identify myself as such. There’s a thing about being an introvert makes me mad inside. It’s the vulnerability, the non-active, the fear, the shyness, the mental obstacle that stopped me from doing all of the things that I wanted to do. I know though, I need both introversion and extroversion to work professionally. But then at the same time, I felt like it has always been easier for me to slip in the introversion side rather than extroversion.
Knowing that, should I aimed to be in leadership role? I don’t want to have an obstacle just because I’m a lady. I don’t want my pregnancy be the end of my service. I don’t want to have the privilege of giving birth to an angel be the bar of my career success. Am I selfish to want both? Absolutely in my point of view, not. Even if I’m not the CEO, I want to be in the position of leadership. If it’s anything, I want to have the power to define it.
Reflecting on my role as a director, I’ve made so many mistakes, that I have to look up on “How to be a director”, in the sense of corporative business director. I have, it turned out, known nothing about how to be a great director, at all. Or at least that I know, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough and that’s why I felt like a failure. But because now at least I recognize that it’s a failure, I would like to work harder to improve it.
The first failure that I experienced as a director was how I lack of many skills that I should have as a director. This self-reflection process comes from reading an article written by HENRY D. WOLFE, What Does it Take to be a Great Corporate Director?. I am sure that there are a wide range of directors across industries and fields, but what I found from the list provided by Wolfe were indeed things I could take into consideration, learn from, and apply in my career development.
The first most important characteristic of a director would be INTENT. “A director’s primary intent when joining a board should be to engage in the development of the full potential of the company and thus maximize its longer-term value”. Although as a campus director I was informed about the goal and made our plan aligned with the program’s mission, it was my shortcoming for being somehow spending my focus more on short-term outcome such as networking, building resume, professional development or making a social statement. Indeed, all of the above outcomes were great benefits, but they should always be secondary compare to the long-term goal of the foundation or organization.
The second one that Wolfe pointed out was DRIVE. So perhaps, my interpretation of INTENT would be the end goal – the vision, while DRIVE would be the force, the momentum – the mission, or the purpose. I am still wondering whether purpose would be placed closer to the mission or the vision; Would it be more suitable for the Drive or for the Intent? I still haven’t really see a clear distinction, as with only linguistic expression it would be hard for me to visualize. Regardless, according to Wolfe, “the intent described above intrinsically drives an individual to focus on maximizing a company’s performance. Great directors have an internal fire that drives them to want to make a company the best it can be.”
Yes, I knew that the fire was there but at some points I was not able to maintain it. The reason why there was no fire, or that the fire was dim, is perhaps there was a burn out. Fire needs energy to keep burning, and same thing with passion, as well as anything that serve as a drive for actions and movement forward. Without the fire, the engine would not be working. So that the fire is the second most important characteristic of a Director.
A new aspect that I learned of being a director was A sense of Ownership. Surprisingly, this is not limited to the scope of materialistic possession. “Great directors also need to have a sense of ownership of the company they are helping to lead”. I personally don’t know much about this, but surely this was what capitalism and communism have always been fighting about. The conversation between public and private ownership is often fuzzy and confusing, but it’s the defined struggled for power that many leaders fought against each others for. In hindsight, leaders often have very high sense of ownership, and they are possibly, if exploit that mindset well, in addition to effective leading strategy, would be a successful one. “In a perfect world, a director will make a meaningful investment in the company in order to be fully engaged. Short of that, an ownership mindset is critical, as it guides all behavior from the context of being an owner”.
The courage to take charge and take risk would be the fourth characteristic of being a director. “It is simply not possible to be a great director without being willing to rock the boat when necessary”. I bet it was very much critical, for the director to make tough decision with associated risks. Directors do, have to take risks. The risks are not just external, but also internal, as it means that they have to be able to shake up the structure and make dramatic changes when needed. This characteristic is what I was lack of.
Yet this is exactly what the director role should be. Board members do not work for management or any of the other board members – a director’s responsibility is to shareholders and, when executed properly, this responsibility is not just to “protect” shareholders’ investments, but to maximize value – the latter cannot be stressed with too much emphasis. And having as much knowledge as possible as discussed above greatly adds to a credible and effective “rocking the boat” action.
The fifth quality of a Director would be specialized knowledge of the business and “its value drivers”. This qualification seemingly gets ignored, especially with the context of the organization’s industry dynamics. “Great director is not going [to] function in such a state of complacency”. The director should put an effort into understanding and educating oneself about the company. “This should go far beyond a “director orientation” and can include, but not be limited to, in-depth discussions with the CEO and other board members; visits to the company’s facilities, coupled with conversations with employees; visits to customers and suppliers; studying the company’s past annual reports in detail; studying analysts’ reports; requesting specific analyses, such as key metric comparatives with peer groups; and reviewing current and past information on the company and its industry(s)”.
The other qualities includes insistence on clarity of value drivers and related information flow as well as maintain engagement. Another quality that I need much MORE practice would be willingness to hold management (and myself) accountable. Things are, competition would always be fierce, and it would only be increased time after time. We just have to keep those in mind, and keep a strong head forward.