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Are You Ready to Turn the Page?

As the year comes to a close, you may wax a little nostalgic. It’s quite possible that the image of an old desk calendar has faded from memory with the rise of so many efficient ways to over-schedule your life on the device of your choice. Still, it’s worth it for a moment to imagine the sound of a page tearing slowly from edge to edge. It’s a rite of passage. Out with the old and in with the new. The first glimpse of the New Year emerges. It’s time to turn the page, and for some it may be tempting to rip it out and throw it away.

Turning the page is a mixed metaphor for leadership. Leadership leans forward. Without a future orientation, leadership fails miserably. However, vision gleans perspective from experiences, both good and bad. January 1 signals a fresh opportunity to springboard from yesterday into tomorrow. It’s a new chapter that hasn’t been written yet. But, it’s not a new story. The New Year will become the free flowing continuation of a story that has been a lifetime in the making. The best leaders are adept at paging backward and forward.

When you turn the page of a captivating novel, you rely on carefully crafted introductions to heroes, villains and victims. It’s more than background. Moments and meetings create feelings and interpretations as the drama grows and gains depth. Details engage your imagination through glimpses into the humanness of the men, women and children. The finer points will entice you and draw you in through empathy and identification. A good book can become an enriching journey through emotions, attitudes and actions. How do authors describe this journey? It is called “character development.”

Character development matters in novels and life. The story ahead is always informed by the story behind. The best stories include just the right amount of detail. It’s not unusual to hear someone comment after watching a movie, “the movie was not as good as the book.” Whether the critique is just or not, for some, it’s a tragedy to shortchange the detailed character development provided in print. It’s worth your time to translate the message into a New Year resolution of sorts.

Throughout the New Year, remind yourself to page backward and forward. While admiring the efficiency of your latest calendar app, schedule some time to unplug and reflect on the finer details of your character development. How have the patterns and processes in your life shaped you? If the best characters in novels exhibit a level of humanness through flaws and wounds as much as victories and triumphs, why would you expect your story to be different? Have you bought into an image of leadership that hides your humanness? Leadership credibility in 2015 demands believability. Authenticity transforms lessons from the past into a powerful message for future growth. Turning the page is a thoughtful process.

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