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Sometime back, I had an interesting coaching conversation with a prospective client
He is a very senior executive in a large multinational company
He has had a fantastic run so far – fast track promotions, global assignments, potential C-suite role coming up
He was getting a bit restless and feeling frustrated
He said “This company is so huge and in the current organizational setup, I do not think I have enough decision-making authority”
I asked him “How does this impact you?”
“I feel that I am not giving my best” he added further "I feel restricted"
“Sometimes, I feel that I am a small fish in a big pond” he continued
Now this is not uncommon….
It is typical leadership paradox in large, complex global organizational setup
As you grow more senior and climb up the corporate ladder, at some point, you realize that you are just one amongst many leaders
You are part of a very large ecosystem, where despite being a senior leader, you do not have enough independent decision-making authority
You do not have enough control and freedom on what you truly want to do
And hence, you are not creating real impact
So much so that at times, you may feel a bit insignificant in the grand scheme of things
Just like a small fish in a big pond !
All this can make you anxious and frustrated at times
And this may eventually impact your motivation, performance and productivity at work
Slowly and slowly, this may also impact other areas of your life :
..Your mental wellbeing and so on
And if you step back and reflect, after a certain point in your leadership journey, what you really crave for is FREEDOM
..Freedom to make decisions
..Freedom to work the way you want
..Freedom to do work which is more meaningful and which creates positive and long-lasting impact
And sometimes, that freedom may not be available in a large complex setup, though that is not the case always
You may have reached a certain seniority level, but you may still feel lost
A small fish in a big pond !
So what should you do about it ?
You can claim or create freedom for yourself in many ways
..Setting clear boundaries
..By adding so much value to your business that you get to create your rules of engagement
..By setting and communicating expectations clearly
..By pushing yourself outside your comfort zone
..By getting involved in something which you are truly passionate about
Some of this may not be easy, as it will challenge the status the quo around you
There is another alternative
A more difficult choice you can make
To be a small fish in a big pond
To be a big fish in a small pond
That is not an easy choice to make either
..It will need immense courage for you to let go of your sense of comfort and security
..It will mean taking a huge risk….risking almost everything you have worked so hard for
..It will mean stepping into the unknown
Whatever you do, just be aware that if you are having the “small fish in a big pond” feeling, it will eventually take a toll on you in the long run
So you have to do something about it - indecisiveness can be an expensive mistake in the long run
So here is something for you to reflect upon :
1) Where in your life (personal or professional) do you sense a loss of freedom ?
2) What does freedom truly mean to you ?
3) If you regained your freedom, what would it allow you to achieve ?
I would be interested to know what came up for you as you read and reflected on this email
And yes - if you do want to create freedom in your life, drop me a note !
Stay safe and stay healthy
P.S. - Here are some ways how I can help you in your transformation journey
1) How to create an extraordinary 2022 - If you really want to create a big impact and make this year an extraordinary year for you, drop me a message. Let 2022 be really a BIG year for you and people around you
2) Leadership Resources – Here are some free resources which I have developed for my clients. You can use them for your personal reflection or for your teams. If you need a copy of any of these, drop me an email :
a) 21 Powerful Questions Every Leader Should Reflect On
b) 7 Questions To Push You Out Of Your Comfort Zone
c) 5 Powerful Questions to Transform Yourself In 2022
d) 7 Reasons Why Leaders Resist Change
3) PLUS, whenever you are ready to step into your real power and go after what you truly want, you can book a short exploratory call here (Book Your Call)