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“See how the mass of men worry themselves into nameless graves, while here and there a great unselfish soul forgets himself into immortality.” – Emerson
It is so easy to get caught up in the thick of thin things, to spend a career or a life just reacting to the trivialities of your daily hours rather than using your days to advance the creation of something great.
But leadership is about making things better. It’s about transcending the petty cravings of our egos and donating our lives to build something that will outlast us, a legacy of service. And when we really get this idea, we begin to experience true happiness, perhaps for the first time.
Your life is no accident. You are here for a purpose, some central mission that has the potential to make you extraordinary. Some main aim that – once focused on – breaks all chains that might have previously bound you. Your challenge is to discover your WHY.
Listen, there are no extra people on the planet. Each one of us has our own unique form of genius and authenticity within us that is aching to be accessed. The sad fact is that too many amongst us let the busyness of our lives suffocate the deeper purpose of our hearts. Rather than leading and being our best today, we lie to ourselves and say we’ll make the changes we need to make when the conditions are better. And that day never comes.
So we slowly shut down, the why becomes vague. Discouragement sets in. We start to medicate ourselves with too many petty things such as TV or technology. We smile the fake smile and coast out a life telling people that being brilliant is a fate selected for the chosen few. Rather than realising the truth: we wasted our lives.
I was in the company of a certain gentleman who at just over 60, will be graduating with a law degree in 2019. Now, like me, you are probably thinking to yourself why would he do that, he probably doesn’t have time to establish himself as a lawyer. And you are probably right, but I will tell you that his WHY gives him greater reason not to look at his age but at what needs to be achieved.
I will give you a brief insight into his story, a few years ago he and his wife got divorced and because of a legal error by his lawyer, his wife ended up with all his wealth. So he said to me ” it would take me more time to try and build my wealth all over again than it would take me to study law and represent myself in court and get what is mine.” I will let that sink in a bit.
The moment your ‘why’ is greater than your excuses, the ‘how’ becomes easier. There is no kind of distraction that will move you away from your purpose if you clearly know why you need to do what you need to do.
The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote this in his book Meditations (1 of my favourite books, highly recommend): “Do external things distract you? Then make time for yourself to learn something worthwhile; stop letting yourself be pulled in all directions. But make sure you guard against the other kind of confusion. People who labour all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.”
I want you to understand that it is important to live in your purpose not just because every day more of our life is used up and less and less of it is left, but this too: if we live longer, can we be sure our mind will still be up to understanding the world and why we are a part of it?
Without purpose, we’ll still go on breathing, go on eating, imagining things, feeling urges and so on but not getting the most out of ourselves, calculating where our duty lies, analysing what we hear and see, deciding whether it is taking us a step closer to who we are born to be.
So we need to hurry. Not just because we move daily closer to death but also because our understanding, our grasp of the world, may be gone before we get there.
There is only a few days left in 2018, define your why now and begin to move toward it.
Share with us your thoughts in the comments section.
“I have had more problems with myself than any other man I have met.” – Anonymous
Personal development may start with you but believe me, it will outlast you. The planning you do today to become a better you tomorrow is not only shaping your future but the future of the generations that follow you. The New Living Translation of the bible says in Luke 7:35 “But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.” This verse resonates deeply with all those committed to the leadership value of responsibility.
Self-leadership is defined as having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviours on the way to getting there. With this in mind, I have come to the conclusion that the first problem you must solve as a leader is the problem of you! Your leadership is a direct reflection of yourself. The good and the not so good. It’s the reality check of leadership, isn’t it? Self-leadership, therefore, is where your leadership begins.
Here is what I have learned about self – leadership and legacy thinking:
Have a healthy and maturing sense of identity. Your personal identity or sense of self is your leadership. The way you see yourself is the way you engage with others. The way you inspire yourself is the way you inspire others. The expectations you have of yourself is the expectations you have of others. The judgement you hold to yourself is the way you judge others – Your leadership is the overflow of your personal identity. This all works well when your sense of self is healthy. In other cases, this translates to the impact you can have on others.
Be realistic and optimistic about your core strengths. The principal of “thirty, sixty and hundredfold” gets discussed in ancient wisdom by a brilliant leader named Mark. He outlines that it is possible for a life to be effective on levels. Apply the same principal to capacity. You have built-in skills and capabilities (the faith world calls them gifts) that you will naturally use and gravitate to. Those skills will give you a particular outcome in life.
Personal growth is most effective when you are clear about your natural hard wiring. For example, I am more calculative and creative than verbal. More conceptual than spatial. More introverted than extroverted. I have learned my strengths and my spiritual gifts and how they interact with my passions and life themes. The point is you have to know what your natural disposition is. You must be thoroughly aware of what your core skills and competencies are. You are not good at everything and no one expects you to be. However, what you are naturally good at may I respectfully suggest you owe it to the world to be the BEST you possibly can be.
Take full responsibility for your attitude and actions. Winston Churchill said “The price of greatness is responsibility” To make progress you are proud of you must be responsible for the creation of that preferred future. The moment you begin to believe that the results you are experiencing are in some way because of someone and something else is the moment you step out of the self-leadership groove. I learned this the hard way by the way.
You abdicate your results to something you have no power over whatsoever. This is the antithesis of self-leadership. The results you are presently experiencing are the results you most want. That belief alone can be the turning point for you and your leadership. Any honest appraisal of life will turn up areas that require growth and development. This is normal. The critical issue is taking responsibility for what and how you experience in the future. If you want it to be different, do something different. If you want the generations after you to be better then start thinking and doing differently.
Have an influential group of peers to be accountable to. There are two types of emotions around outcomes. The pride that comes from a mission accomplished or the regret of a lost opportunity. Accountability is designed so you feel the pressure and pain to perform early enough to ensure you give your best effort to achieving the meaningful goal. It is that pain and pressure from people that love you or the pain and regret of having missed the moment.
Learn from the missed opportunities and moments. But by no means make it your permanent address. Develop a small, influential group of people around you who you will listen to, learn from and at times submit to for your own benefit. They love you enough to not let you off, to not let you believe your own tweets, posts and grams and to care you get to the desired future you so bravely pursue.
Never stop learning and applying new knowledge. Self Leadership requires consistent application of knowledge. As you plan your life, set your course and clarify your milestones make sure you are creating space to be inspired and instructed. Inspiration gives you the energy to make the cage. Instruction gives you the information. Combine the two and jump! Fail fast and fail forward. (Thank you, John Maxwell.)
Be quick to learn. Quick to apply. Quick to teach another. Perhaps develop the culture in your accountability group that shares new learning’s with each other as fast as you get them. Discard the unresourceful ones. Sharpen your focus on the ones that make the biggest positive. Whatever you do, always be learning and integrating new. When the time comes for you to pass on your knowledge to the next generations, trust me, you will be a fountain of wisdom because you did not choose to lead others before you led yourself. We would love to hear about your journey to a better you, drop us a comment and share with us.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
– Henry Ford
The success of any system lies in the efficiency of the components working together to achieve a common goal. Such is true as well for any business or organisation that provides product or service. Its success lies in the efficiency of the people working to create or to give the service. If you look at two of the most influential business personalities of our time, Apple Co-founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates, you will find that they had similar traits in growing their respective businesses.
Both highly driven and undoubtedly talented, they had a unique gift to attract top talent and gain employee loyalty. The ability to attract and motivate great people is critical to the success of a company because a company is just a group of people that are assembled to create a product or service. As simple as this concept may seem, it’s still challenging to find and hire top talent, which is why more companies are employing various tactics beyond standard compensation to attract new employees. Over the years, these incentives have become more and more extravagant, with perks like pet-friendly offices and catered lunches becoming more common, particularly in the tech sector where there’s already a shortage of talent.
At their Redmond, Washington campus, Microsoft employees have access to an organic spa and receive benefits like pet insurance and a free shuttle to and from work. Apple employees receive discounts on company products and have access to an onsite wellness centre at their Cupertino, California headquarters. As indulgent as these benefits may seem, the results speak for themselves. Both Microsoft and Apple consistently top the lists of companies where job seekers want to work. However, companies must provide more than free perks in order to engage and retain top performers, which is where motivation comes into play.
According to organisational experts, employees who feel like they’re contributing toward a shared vision for the company are much more productive and driven than their counterparts. During Microsoft’s early years, for example, all employees were awarded stock options. This incentive pushed employees to be innovative thinkers and created “Microsoft millionaires” when the company went public on the stock exchange.The company has since eliminated this program.
At Apple, Jobs included his employees in the decision-making process, says Willie Pietersen, a management professor at Columbia Business School and author of “Strategic Learning: How to Be Smarter Than Your Competition and Turn Key Insights into Competitive Advantage.” The late founder would create different teams to work on projects that had breakthrough potential. When they reported their findings, he listened to all of their ideas before picking the strongest ones and shelving the others. Although Jobs could be a harsh leader at times, his management strategy was based on creating the most innovative products, which galvanised his employees and won their support.
By carefully studying these approaches you will realise that successful leaders lead by being selfless. Leaders should find ways of motivating and inspiring their teams, reduce the noise and hassle in their work and help remove obstacles. If you are a manager or leading at any level at any organisation, the nugget is understanding that your team is not there to serve you. You are there to serve your team and help them do the best possible job for the company. Let us know in the comments section how you motivate your team or how your company or organisation motivates and inspires you to perform at your best.