Weekender: B.J. Novak on Maintaining Steadfast Devotion to Your Ideals

B.J. NovakWelcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a tad of thought to start your weekend on the right track. Why just a tad? Because it’s the weekend!

How do you spend your time? As leaders, it’s easy to get sidetracked by endeavors that fall outside of your priority list. We try to be a servant leader, but there is a point when serving other’s needs thwarts our ability to tend to the global vision. We want to stay on point, but shifting priorities knock us off balance. And we want to concentrate on big picture items, but daily emergencies fill our remaining time. If this sounds familiar, B.J. Novak has some beneficial advice.

B.J. Novak is a comedian, screenwriter, and author. He’s written two New York Times Bestsellers and was a writer, actor, and executive producer on The Office. To attain this level of accomplishment by such a young age, Novak relied on some guidance from his father, an accomplished writer in his own right. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Novak said,

My father gave me advice when I started stand-up: ‘How about you say only what you like and keep only what they like?’ Don’t say anything you don’t love, don’t share anything you don’t love, don’t make anything you don’t love, but if you love it, try to make it popular. My goal is not to make popular things. My goal is to make the things I love as popular as I can make them.

Novak has captured the spirit of the truly authentic leader. It is easy to say what we think others want to hear. However, endorsing ideas, initiatives, or products that do not reflect your passion and ideals is a sure path towards disappointment.

Your influence, reputation, and happiness hinge on sincerity. Hold steady in your principles so you can avoid making popular things and strive to make the things you love popular. It will keep you honest and bolster your longitudinal enthusiasm.