We all know them, the people who reach exceptional success in business, medicine, sports and the arts. It's tempting when we meet these people to believe they're more gifted than the rest of us. Not only does this line of thinking fail to give credit where credit is due, it holds all of us back.
When we attribute success to random fortune, we fail to see what winning looks like. It does not look like one clean score after another. As Michael Jordan said, "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games; 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
Winning looks like an ongoing struggle with bright moments of accomplishment and players who keep giving the game their best. John C. Maxwell calls this the Law of Victory. He says that leaders are people who refuse to give up. For them, defeat is not worth considering. If they experience a...
Jonathon Swift said, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
As leadership consultants, we at the UpCloseTeam would take that notion one step further. As a leader, if others can’t see what you see, they do not know where the organization is going. That’s why for us, vision is the art of making visible what at first only you see. In other words, it’s about painting a picture so rich and colourful, everyone feels inspired.
John Maxwell calls this The Law of the Picture. Great leaders maintain a balance between staying the course and welcoming fresh ideas. This is particularly important when it comes to sharing their vision. The picture does not change. If it did, people would lose focus. But the picture can gain important details, which will also need to be shared to help everyone continue on course.
Simon Sinek says it so well. “One of the best paradoxes of leadership is a leader's need to be both...
If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to hear Paul Martinelli speak about leadership, you might be tempted to believe his passion for helping people achieve their dreams came entirely from himself. He certainly inspires and he certainly motivates. But if you were to ask him, he would tell you how important it is to surround yourself with talented and enthusiastic people who can help you grow.
Today, Paul Martinelli is the President of The John Maxwell Team, and he helps people all over the world develop their leadership skills. But he worked hard to get where he is and he surrounded himself with people who could support his journey.
You could say he learned his leadership skills in the company of heroes. As a young man, he was recruited by the anti-crime activist, Curtis Silwa. Together they led the Guardian Angels, a group of volunteers who conducted unarmed safety patrols through some of the toughest neighbourhoods in the United States and Canada....
Leaders help people navigate an uncertain world. They can see the trip ahead and predict hazards that might arise. That is what inspires people to follow their vision.
John C. Maxwell recognizes the importance of navigation in leadership. The Law of Navigation is one of “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” in his book.
Where do leaders gain these awesome navigation skills? They gain them the same way any sea captain does. They lead the ship over calm and stormy seas. The experiences they gain are vital, but that’s not where they gain their vision. Their vision comes from what happens after the boat reaches the harbour.
Great leaders think back and evaluate their performance. Often when we are in the middle of the sea of real-life experience, we get carried away by the moment. The learning comes later when the boat has been docked and we have time to think about what happened.
John C. Maxwell calls this...
The important things in life are not accomplished all at once. They happen one day at a time. Life is an endurance race, not a sprint.
This is especially true of leadership. It’s not a quick fix. It’s a journey built on character, enough character to sustain yourself over years of effort and growth.
Few people understand endurance better than Geoffrey Mutai. He was born the youngest of 11 children and grew up in a poor family living in Kenya. As a teenager, he already knew what he wanted most from life. He wanted to be a professional marathon runner. Now you need to put this into context. He had other obligations besides his interest in running. His family relied on him to contribute financial support. So, he took a series of back-breaking jobs, and he got up early every morning to run before he went to work. To the outside world, he looked foolish for trying to do so much. People in his community suggested that his goals were too...
In these challenging times, it can feel like things are out of your control. We might wonder what we as individuals can do about the economic cycle or decisions made by organizations bigger than we are. But the truth is that we are always in charge of one thing and that is ourselves. Even in difficult times, there is hope within us.
I once coached a woman who was in a period of intense transition. She’d been let go from a position she loved. It was unexpected and the sudden change was overwhelming. It’s natural to feel a loss when we suffer disappointments like losing a job. But if we linger in the disappointment, it can lead us away from our goals.
When she came to me for coaching, this woman had already been sending out job applications and she was disappointed in the results. Our first step together was to rebuild her self-esteem. Together, we reviewed her skills and personality traits, and began fostering her ability to lead...
We’ve all seen what happens if we are negative. Our thinking narrows, making us more and more fearful. We experience stress and all of the medical conditions that can result.
Think about a time when you were experiencing high stress. Did you find it hard to concentrate? How did that negative state of mind affect your productivity?
Most of us prefer to be positive. After all, it feels good to be happy, and we all like to be near those who are light-hearted. But did you know that the impact of being positive goes way beyond mood?
According to Barbara Fredrickson at the University of Michigan, people who think positively see more possibilities and it doesn’t end there. Because they see more possibilities, they have an enhanced ability to build new skills and develop resources they can use later in life. You can read about it for yourself in “The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions” paper".
When it comes to achieving our life’s dream, we must stay afloat through all kinds of weather. Some days are bright and sunny. Other days are so foggy we can’t see what is right in front of us. That is why we need a lighthouse on a tall cliff shining the brightest of all beacons.
This beacon is what Napoleon Hill calls definiteness of purpose. Like the beacon from a lighthouse, our definiteness of purpose is singular and consistent. It can also be a life-saver. In difficult times, we continue towards a fulfilling life if we remain clear about our definiteness of purpose.
Finding a definiteness of purpose starts by erasing all of the what-ifs from your mind. Forget about challenges and obstacles. If you know where you want to go, you will navigate the rocks and the bad weather. Ask yourself what you most want from life. If you were only allowed a single wish, what would that wish be? As you begin a new year, this...
If you want to see a fresh mind, just look at a child on Christmas morning. With all that eagerness and joyful anticipation, the moments before the festivities begin are as delicious to a child as the actual event. What makes this possible?
A fresh mind doesn’t take anything for granted. A fresh mind seeks answers. A fresh mind is curious.
When we’re curious, we enjoy new experiences and look for challenges. We keep an open mind. We’re eager to learn something new. Curiosity is contagious. Watching children on Christmas morning, we remember our own youth and feel it a little too.
If you want to make other people pay attention to what you have to say, keep them curious. One way of doing that is to show yourself enjoying an experience. It doesn’t matter what age we are. When we see someone having fun, we want to have fun too.
Recently a good friend shared a photo of her son’s curiosity. One evening her husband came...
A hiker came upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree. “What are you doing?” asked the hiker.
“Can’t you see?” replied the man working in the woods. “I’m sawing down this tree.”
“You look tired! How long have you been at it?”
“Over five hours … and I am exhausted! This is hard work.”
“Why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen your saw? I’m sure the job will go faster with a sharp saw.”
“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man declared. “I’m too busy sawing!”
Have you ever behaved like the person with the saw? It's easy to become so involved in “doing” that you don't take the time to sharpen your saw.
This time of year is particularly busy. You may already be seeing the signs: bright lights on the outside of houses, glossed-over eyes on the people...