Leadership Advance

Leadership Thoughts for Life Long Learners

Archive for the tag “Accomplishment”

Self Fulfillment vs. Self Development

I was reading John Maxwell book, “15  Invaluable Laws of Growth” and was deeply impacted by what he stated in the Law of Contribution.  Maxwell differentiates the difference in living a life focused on Self Fulfillment vs a life focused on Self Development.

Self Fulfillment – thinks of how something serves me.

Self Development – thinks of how something helps me to serve others.

Self Fulfillment – feeling good is the product.

Self Development- feeling good is the by-product.

I do not know any leader that would not list one of the goals of their lives as desiring a feeling of self fulfillment.  Yet, according to these definitions we realize that living with the focus of self development is a much deeper and generous claim.  I have no doubt fallen into the trap of desiring self fulfillment at different times in my life.  Yet, when self fulfillment becomes the goal it sabotages the culture you work in.  The insinuation is that there is a defining moment when we arrive.  The moment we think we have arrived we begin to lose our grip on the progress we have made.  When self development becomes the aim, we never buy in to the mindset that there is some elusive “arrival” and we focus on consistently getting better as we progress forward.

 

 

Do Not Try Harder

Curiosity is a value that opens new worlds to us.  New experiences, challenges and opportunities await you when you develop the art of curiosity.  I enjoy the familiar and comfortable as much as anyone else, but I have worked to incorporate into my life intentional curiosity.  It was this curiosity which led me to decide to try to run a Marathon last year.  If I were to ask what my motivation for signing up for this Marathon was, I would have to say it was the simple answer of curiosity.  What if I tried and succeeded?  What if I was a natural talent?  What if I fell in love with running?  I would never know unless I tried.

While I have always been in pretty good shape and had even maintained a disciplined exercise routine the year or two prior to signing up for the Marathon, I really did not recognize what I was about to dive into.  It became glaringly obvious that you do not just decide to try to run a Marathon one day.  You can’t just wake up one morning and decide you are going to try to run 26.2 miles in hopes that you will discover you are a natural at it and will fall in love with it. In my experience, people that wake up and try such feats usually end up never accomplishing what they set out to do, or worse, they injure themselves, sometimes permanently.  This is why I say that trying is not good enough!  Even saying you will try harder next time is not going to advance you.  The answer comes in the form of Training, not Trying.

The transition from Trying to Training separates the novice from the elite.  While it is true, there are some things in life that we pick up one day and try, only to discover we have natural talent. Nobody ever became great at something just because they tried it one day and found they had natural talent.  Natural Talent must embrace the philosophy of Training for it to ever produce sustainable and unnatural results.

I wonder how your life would change if you embraced the mindset of training rather than trying?  What if every new experience was not viewed as just something you are trying, but a real life laboratory from which you could learn lessons to prepare you in life for the future?  I wonder how your business or organization would transform if you did not just approach each day by trying harder, but rather focused on lessons presented to you each day so you could progressively become better?

The beauty of viewing each day as a day to Train as opposed to a day to Try is that trying harder will eventually cause you to lose your energy and you will burnout. Training takes each day in stride and you recognize the value of bad days and good days, because each day is a day to learn something which can be applied to your tomorrow to create a better world.  I challenge you as a leader to not try harder, but Train Better!  Oh, and just in case you were wondering….. I completed my first full Marathon in 4 hours and 38 minutes and have already signed up for another one this fall with a goal of doing better based on my training, not trying.

 

Progression of Accomplishment

Accomplishment is so tricky because it largely depends on what the definition of accomplishment is.  I think this is one reason why so many times leaders gravitate towards setting goals and sticking to them with- laser like focus.  When we set goals which are very clear there is little question as to whether or not we have actually accomplished what we have set out to do.  The very nature of leadership is one of movement and progress, whether it be personally, organizationally or in most instances all of the above.  While this is not supposed to be an exhaustive list, I wanted to share a few things to consider to aid you in accomplishing whatever it is you set out to do .  The simple words which come to my mind are WHAT, WHY, HOW and WHO.  If the leader can answer these questions they will progress towards their desired accomplishment.

  • What? – If the leader can not identify what needs to be accomplished, it will never happen.  The old saying goes like this, “The most accurate individual in the world is the one that never aims at anything.”  Clearly define what needs to happen either personally or organizationally and articulate it.  The simple act of articulating what needs to happen releases incredible momentum towards accomplishing the task.  If using the analogy of a road trip, asking what is like making the decision of where you would like to go.
  • Why?  When the leader knows what needs to happen, they must then answer the question of why it needs to happen.  Asking why will not only create buy-in towards the needed change, but it will also create urgency for the task.  Why is a question of purpose and purpose brings clarity to you and those you lead.  Clearly communicate the purpose for the task and it will instill motivation towards accomplishing the goal. Going back to the analogy of a road trip, asking why is the equivalent of determining the incredible things about the destination you have chosen to visit which you are not part of your current reality.
  • How? How is a question of strategy.  The leader may know what must be done and even have an incredible urgency surrounding why it must be done as it ties back to purpose yet, if the leader lacks a strategy or plan to achieve the task it will fail. Developing a strategic plan separates the dreamers from the doers.  How forces us to move from theory to implementation.  If what is the destination and why is the reason for the road trip, how is choosing the highway or road that you will take to get where you are going all while keeping your resources in mind.  If you choose the wrong road you could run out of resources before ever getting to your destination.
  • Who?  Who forces us determine what kind of leader we need to be to realize the task before us.  Strategy, Purpose and Goals mean nothing if the leader is not mentally, emotionally and physically equipped for the road ahead.  While many leaders can begin noble causes,  only those who have asked the tough question of who will come out the other side mentally, emotionally and physically intact.  Imagine for a moment that you spent hours determining where you wanted to go and why you wanted to go there.  Then, once you have invested yourself into where and why, you spend valuable time finding out how your going to get there.  It would only make sense that for this type of road trip to be successful would require a captain, or a driver that has experience on long road trips.  Answering the question of who you need to be before you take the trip could save you a lot of pain in the middle of your journey.

As a leader, WHAT needs to happen?  WHY does it need to happen?  HOW is it going to happen? Lastly, WHO do you need to become to see it happen?  Now, go and accomplish it.

 

Post Navigation