Shopping Carts and Leadership

Shopping Carts and Leadership

Are you able to step back and objectively observe yourself? Becoming aware of our behaviors, choices, language, ability to listen (or not), perceptions and programming is critical in our development as a leader. You’ve probably already seen from me one of my favorite messages – Leadership is a Practice. We don’t wake up one day suddenly a leader just because we have people who report to us. That’s a manager. Being a leader is a conscious choice. The great news is that there are thousands of ways to practice your leadership skills every day.

Let’s take a simple one – shopping carts. After you’ve unloaded the groceries in your car, do you take the cart to a cart corral, or do you leave it by the car? (This conversation is directed only to those of us who don’t have any limitations that would prevent us from putting it in the cart corral.) We may have a story about why we would just leave it by our parking space. Maybe you feel like there aren’t enough corrals and you’re rebelling. Maybe you’re in a hurry, or you don’t want your food to spoil. When I lived in Minnesota, my reason was it’s too cold.

In reality, how long does it actually take to put the cart where it goes? Maybe a minute? The way you do anything is the way you do everything. What can you equate that shopping cart to in your life? Where else are you leaving your mess and expecting someone else to pick it up for you? What are you demonstrating for your team at work or your kids at home?

Even now, some of you have rejected this whole conversation because of your story that it’s just a shopping cart. However, there are absolutely other ways this is showing up in your life. Perhaps you’re often late, and people are waiting for you. Maybe you’re not unloading the clean dishes from the dishwasher and leaving your dirty glass in the sink. All these things may seem like small things. However, when they translate into missed business opportunities, people taking shortcuts, or your kids doing as you do rather than as you say, it might be time to open your eyes. Then you’ll see how your daily practices are leading to some of the things you don’t like in your life.

Leadership isn’t about looking outward to see where others aren’t doing what you think they should be doing. Leadership is about looking inside yourself and making sure you are being the role model.

I’ll bet you never look at a shopping cart the same way again. I know I don’t.

The best way to see what your next level as a leader looks like is to experience it in a safe, supportive and transformational environment. High5 Leadership offers its 3-day Intensive for those leaders who are ready to take responsibility for being their very best. Want to see if it’s a good fit for you? Send me an email at, and we will schedule a time to talk.