Governor Brown is nearly 80 years old and has been a leader his whole life. He was elected California Secretary of State at the young age of 33. He became governor at 36 and ran for President for the first time at 38. Now at 80 he is serving as Governor again.
Leaders, if you are looking to sustain leadership over a lifetime, take the time to listen to this interview. It is full of nuggets (whether you agree with his politics or not!). Here are four that stood out to me.
On losing the 1980 Presidential Race at 38 Years Old
There are times when you can really be pushing in a very stupid direction. So now I am very conscious that even though I think I am right I can be very wrong. So that experience has enabled me to be more questioning of my own assumptions Even when I think it is clear… no, maybe it is not so clear And that is why you need a diversity of advisors that can tell you “No, hey that is stupid” And if a leader does not have that you are really asking for trouble.
On getting advice from his father
So I never took my father’s advice, but looking back he had some pretty good advice. Now that I see it. But if you are totally traditional you don’t get anywhere. But if you are totally innovate you don’t get anywhere either. So it is a blend of change and continuity that is the essence of governance
On leading early in life and late in life
The difference between now and when I first started I was 36 and I had very little regard for experience, in fact I thought experience was the problem. Now I am more into the expert category and I have people around me who are experts. Now I say there is no substitute for experience
I never talk about a legacy
I do what I am doing because I think it is the right thing and because I am excited about it…
Can I tell you why I don’t think about legacy? That is already looking back.. I’m looking ahead. Some people in politics want to get their enemies. If someone does something to me, I want to move on and make new friends and new allies, high speed rail, climate change, Affordable Care Act, rebuilding the roads and bridges of California, that is plenty to do that is very exciting. That is something to do. Now, If you get dottering and you’ve got nothing to do and nobody is picking up the phone to call you, well maybe you want need to think about your legacy, but that is called a memory. I’m not a memory yet. I’m in action, and I like being in action.
To listen to the full podcast, CLICK HERE