The grass on the other side may be Astroturf
“I want to be on corporate boards instead of running this department/company”, “I don’t want to advance because I’m happy at this level”. I’ve heard these diametrically different sentiments from the high performing/overachieving executives I coach. What is similar about them? They are making huge career and life decisions without really understanding what they are wishing for.
The grass on the other side could be very different from what it appears from where you are. Oftentimes you create images based on projections of what you want to believe. And those visions of what the other side is like can be disappointingly and devastatingly wrong. When you finally land in that dream spot, are you going to be thrilled or crushed to realize it’s not what you wished for? According to PyschCentral, a resource for psychological issues, the other side’s grass, i.e., whatever you are projecting outside of your current situation, is often based on fear or fantasy. Or both. The grass on the other side may seem to offer something that you are missing, whether it’s about your career, relationship, or where you live etc. Or you feel that you have to hang on tight to what you have because this is the best you can do. Both scenarios may be very wrong!
A VP of a Fortune 100 company whom I coach, has been diligently networking, taking advanced career training courses and reading up on how to become a corporate board member. He takes personal leave to fly to different cities to attend business conferences to try to meet executives who serve on corporate boards in hopes that they would refer him. What he hasn’t done is to research the expectations and politics of being a corporate board member. He is tired of the stresses and day to day operational challenges of managing a large division and envisions that being a director on a corporate board would be less demanding.
But is it? Would he actually enjoy not managing and leading an operating division? Would he miss developing strategies that are then implemented by his team? How about having regular measurable metrics to gauge his performance? He would be losing much of that in a board position. Would he prefer to discuss and create consensus with…