Most of us will start the New Year with a list of goals we would like to achieve over the course of the next year. Making New Years’ Resolutions has become an American pastime. Unfortunately, a majority of us will end up falling far below our initial expectations. For some reason we either lose interest, become distracted by other things, or find the goals end up requiring more than we are willing to give to get there. Over the years I’ve observed a much smaller number of people who actually achieve what they set out to do. From this experience, I’ve developed the following tips to help you become one of these lucky few:
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they […]
There is a famous saying that, “if you aren’t moving forward, then you are heading backwards.” I completely agree. There is no such thing as standing still in life, Time moves forwards regardless. Too many of us spend too much energy getting stuck in our present circumstances or being held back by our past. There is nothing we can do about what has already happened. All we can do is learn from it and strive to become a better person in the process. In terms of the here and now, your attitude and efforts should always be geared towards positive ends. Leave the negativity to others. My mom often used to say, “Make the best of it, whatever “it” is.” As usual, her wisdom is a beacon of light that shines through my life.
A leader’s primary job is to rally people around a common goal and convince them they are capable of much more than they think they are. People talk themselves out of success all the time. For the average person it is easy to identify obstacles and reasons why things can’t happen. As a result, we tend to lower the bar so we can make our goals achievable. Leaders should never lower the bar. They should expect more of themselves and their organizations and never settle for being average or second best.
In business (and life) you are either growing and getting better or going in the opposite direction. Just like your muscles, your brain and natural abilities will atrophy if they don’t get exercise. You can’t stand still and expect progress. I see far too many people who “let up” at the very time they need to “push the envelope” and challenge themselves to do better. It’s also sad when a leader stays on too long and becomes more interested in ego, power and position than effectively navigating change and facilitating progress.
I don’t know when the shift started to happen in my lifetime, but we have changed from a nation that gets results to one that seems to accept a lack of performance and then bemoans our lack of progress. You see evidence of this everywhere you turn: 1) structural economic issues that never get fully addressed; 2) traffic problems that never get solved; 3) infrastructure needs that are constantly put off until there is a crisis; 4) schools that turn out less than stellar results; 5) a widening gap between the wealthy and everyone else; 6) a health care system that is broken and too costly to maintain; and 7) wars that are started but never end, etc. Each group of leaders claims they are doing their best given the circumstances and/or blames their opponents for not doing their part. They then have the gall to rant on about our “exceptionalism.” It is a vicious non-productive and self-deluding cycle.
A leader is supposed to see things others don’t see. He/she is required to challenge existing systems, processes and solutions to find improvements. The future is created by those who make it not by those who look to the past or solely embrace the present as a means to achieve progress.