Friday, April 6, 2012
Richard Riordan, leadership and mentors
Yesterday I was reading something Richard Riordan gave me to read. He has been a wonderful friend and mentor over the past years and I can recite his axioms of leadership in my sleep (courage, giving/caring, empowering others and relentless pursuit of goals…with vision and sense of humor perhaps added…and already all over the Internet). What I was reviewing was more personal, about his life and struggles, and made me reflect deeply.
We all have those roll models and influences who make us think differently. I’m a very creative person and having spent so much time in Silicon Valley believe that the real edge any person or company has is the ability to think differently and then execute on that vision.
I’ve been blessed with a number of free thinkers in my world and thus no longer fear saying something with which others disagree. Sometimes they are right, sometimes I am, but only in having a free and open dialogue can any of us work through the differences to the ultimate answer. Others truths become apparent only over time or as technologies evolve.
Yesterday as I was reading I learned about empathy. Any path is littered with mistakes, mixed luck or even tragedies yet some people learn from these contingencies and apply those lessons to achieving more in life and not making excuses. We need to pick our mentors and roll models carefully as we mimic their ways of handling situations when confronted with surprises, problems or even successes.
Escape (Captive’s sequel) is about a week from being finished. In the book my characters address the types of challenging issues we all chose to face or not. Idealistic but worldly, like Dick Riordan, they struggle with the practical realities of life’s constraints as they try to achieve their goals in the face of obstacles and adversity. As a novelist, I set my characters on a path then mess them up in as many ways as I can imagine (story arc etc). Is life so different?
Writing over 400 pages requires an incredible amount of discipline; revising close to 100,000 words even more so. Today I’ll be inputting minor changes and polishing as the book is almost done. It’s hard and mind numbing work but those last revisions are often what makes the book good. As Dick would ask, which axiom am I displaying? Relentless pursuit of goals. Anything we create is leadership in practice. Thanks to all of those who blazed the trail for me to follow – I couldn’t do what I do without you. We all face barriers to accomplishing something we want to achieve, whether they are internal or external. Creativity and thinking differently just makes our path more fun!