Friday, December 27, 2013

Success Leaves Clues

Originally posted by Policy Council Member Wayne MacNamara.

God Bless, Scott Johnson

Leadership can have a huge impact on your life financially, relationally and ripple into your community.  You can’t just sit back and think “someone else will take care of that”, or  ”it will start from the top and work its way down”.  As an entrepreneur I learned it is almost the complete opposite.  If we want to make a difference in our life or make a change in our community it starts from the home.
if you follow successful people and you spend time with them there is a common thread throughout them all.  They may be from different industries, different ages and have different goals in life, but they all have things in common.  If you want to be successful, applying these principles will have you well on your way.
1) Curiosity 
The most successful people that you know stay curious.  Asking why is part of who they are; they ask questions and are curious.  ”Some men see things as they are and ask why, others dream things that never were and ask why not” – George Shaw.
Do you spend time with curious people?  Who is the most curious person you know?  Do you learn something new everyday?  Do you partake in the fruit of failure everyday?
People would be blown away by how many times successful people have failed.  People see others on stage, playing professional sports, and as CEOs of major companies and just assume they were born to be there.  If you looked at their life though, and didn’t see their success now, you would probably think they were a huge failure.  The point of failure is learning from your mistakes and getting back up.  I believe you are never brought to something without the ability to get through it.  We think that our situation is the worst situation because we are living through it, but everyone is going through things.  We allow ourselves to hang us up the most, mostly by worrying about what other people think of us.
Are you enjoying your life?  Are you always waiting for a better day?
The cure for boredom is curiosity.  Follow the people who are curious.
2) Environment
When you are not in the right environment, there are drastically different results that happen in your life.
As a welder, I worked with good people, but we never got recognized for doing anything well.  I felt my development as a person was being stunted.  They weren’t encouraging us to develop better thinking or read books to develop ourselves.  We were like fish trapped inside a fish tank and our growth was dependent on how big our tank was.  If we were put in a bigger tank, we could grow and develop even further, but we were trapped in a little tank.  Based on your environment your leadership will develop.  Finding a community that will reward you and recognize you for growing and developing as a person is key for success.
Change yourself and your environment.  The people with whom you habitually associate with are called your reference group.  A Harvard study determined that these people determine as much as 95% of your success or failure in life.
Keep company with good men and you will increase their numbers (Italian proverb)
3) Awareness
How aware are you?  We must know ourselves to grow ourselves.  We need to know our strengths, weaknesses, interests and opportunities in order to progress and develop as a person.  ”The first step towards change is awareness, the second step is acceptance” – Nathaniel Brandon.  You have to be aware of where you are at right now in order to change.  If you haven’t accepted yourself yet you will not change.  Whether we like it or not we are going to be forced to change throughout our lives, no one will stay the same.  The question is, are you going to change in a personal growth way?  Once we become aware of ourselves, we have to get over ourselves.  We can’t let things about ourselves, like our past or personality, become an excuse for staying the same.
When I was young, I caught the body building bug.  When I was 19 I started body building.  I read good books, watched DVDs of the best body builders in the world, I studied nutrition and techniques.  I put everything I had into it.  Some of my peers said it would never happen, that I couldn’t do it.  But, by associating with good people, being very curious and asking questions and understanding what works for me and my body, I ended up competing in my first body building competition at 22 years old.  On competition day I was 189 pounds at 4% body fat and when I started, I was 167 pounds at 20% body fat.  If I had listened to some of the people who didn’t have the results I wanted, I would never have taken the chance and gone to the gym.  But I found good material to read and I found someone I worked with who was body building and asked him to help me.  Just like many things in life, it starts mentally.  You have to picture yourself where you want to be.  You have to get rid of any baggage you have, accept where you are at, decide to change something and go do it.
4) Pain
Through a lot of pain comes a lot of good.  Every problem introduces a person to himself, or herself.  No one has ever told me that they love problems, but I have known many who have admitted that their greatest gains have come during their greatest pain.  When you are going through something it doesn’t really make sense, but if you can pause for a second and take a step back and look at it in reverse you can see why it happened.  When you get through it, you can see the good of what happened.  Sometimes the pain of disappointment can make you do more.  When my mother was disappointed that I didn’t graduate with my class from high school I could see the disappointment in her eyes.  That disappointment made me decide that I would go out in life and do something that would make her proud of me.  The pain of bad health can make you make drastic changes in your life.  My father was told that his health was failing and the cause was smoking.  Within days of hearing the news, and after 30 years of smoking, he quit cold turkey.  Pain can help us move forward in our life when other things can’t.
5) Modelling/Mentoring 
Its hard to improve when you have no one  in your life to follow.  Maybe you don’t have someone in your life whose results you want to duplicate, maybe you haven’t found that person yet.  But don’t let that be your excuse for not starting.  Start by listening to good audios, by watching good DVDs, start by associating with successful people who are moving on.  To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.  A lot of times, those coming back are there to tell you where to go.  A good mentor in life possesses wisdom.  Leadership expert Orrin Woodward once said, “when you can take a general principle and combine it with your personal situation and fix the problem, that's when you have wisdom”.  The number one thing a mentor wants to know is, are you learning and are you growing?  Go get results in your life and change your life in a way that you can see that ripple effect of leadership had an example.  The greatest thing for a mentor is to see their protege create results in their life, that it what they want to see.  Great things happen when we stop seeing ourselves as a gift to others and we begin seeing others as a gift.
A good coach as 5 main qualities;
C – care for people
You can say something to someone and they can tell if you mean what you are saying.  People can tell if you have passion for what you are talking about and they will buy into it if you are.  A coach has to care for the people he is leading.  
O – observe their attitudes, behaviors and performance
You can’t push a rope.  Do you have what people want or are you pushing yourself onto others?  There is a big difference.  The more successful you become, the more of a gap you will create in your leadership, the more you will bring other people on.  It is hard to force people to do something that you are not willing to do.  Thats not leadership.
A – align them with their strengths for peak performance
Align people with their strengths for peak performance.  There are some things I do in my career that I am not super strong at, but I understand to delegate that out to other people who love to do that or who are stronger at that then I am.  There are certain things that I am really good at and I want to take advantage of that because that’s where I can excel.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to improve your weaknesses.  But a jack of all trades is a master of none.  You have to pick something to excel at.  If you diversify your talents or your strengths too early in your career, you never become an expert at it and you’ll never become rewarded for it.
C – communicate honest feedback
A good coach gives 90% of their effort to encouraging you and telling you its possible, the other 10% goes into correction.  The biggest mistake I made in my leadership journey early on was told people their faults before I won their heart.  Be honest with people, but make sure you know you have enough stuff in the bank that its okay to take a withdrawal out and the bank is still full.  People just want to be loved and encouraged, they already know what they aren’t doing right.  A coach needs to correct what you are doing wrong but never stop telling you how good you are too.
H – help to improve their lives
By leading the way and improving your own life, you leave a path for others to follow.  You will gain wisdom and experience that you can give to other people so they can avoid some of the pain that you went through.  When they go through painful situations that you didn’t go through, you will be able to teach them principles to apply that will help them get through the situations and improve their lives.
6) Contribution
if you are not doing something with your life, it doesn’t matter how long your life is.  Ben Franklin said that he would rather have it said that he lived successfully than died rich.  Think about the people in your life who contribute more, they are usually grateful or thankful.  They put people first, they understand that people are what matter and they don’t let stuff own them.  Don’t allow stuff to own you; they are just cars, watches, clothes, and shoes, they are not who you are.  Define success as sowing not reaping.  I used to be the type of person that would want people to say I was good at something because I was lacking compliments so much.  But there became a point when I thought to myself that I needed to sow more, needed to tell other people how good they looked and how great they are.  I learned that people with bad self-esteem find it hard to complement other people, I know I did.  You have to work on yourself, just start saying nice things about people.  Focus on self development not self fulfillment.  Embrace self development, become the number 1 you you can be and never become a number 2 someone else.  I used to try to be exactly like the person that was mentoring me because I thought if I could do everything exactly like they did, I could make it.  But I realized that wasn’t who I am, that’s who they are.  I needed to become the number 1 me.  If you embrace leadership, people will find out who your number 1 is.
God Bless,