It was June 28, 2013. I professed that I would no longer be blogging about leadership until I hit a certain business goal. Well, here it is November 5, 2015, and I can humbly say that we (Courtnee and I) hit that goal! Let me be totally transparent. I had NO idea it would take this long to hit this goal. And that’s what I’d like to write about today.
When I wrote that blog, I fully expected to hit our goal in a maximum of 6 months. Yet here it is, nearly two and a half years later. Wow. Let me say it again, I had no idea it would take so long. So, why did it take so long? Seriously! Why? Well, perhaps this is the simplest way to cast light on that question. Here are the top 12 things (in no particular order) I’ve learned about reaching new milestones in business and in life. Please know, though, that I have not mastered these, but have certainly become aware and quite familiar with each of them. Why did it take so long? Because I didn’t know the following very well:
- It takes a team! We absolutely could not and would not have grown our business without our awesome teammates. And if we cannot inspire, encourage, support, serve, and truly lead our teammates, they likely will not perform. Part of this is also knowing your teammates and caring for them enough to help them get their goals and dreams. And when you’re in a win-win situation like we are in our business, helping others get their dreams will help us get ours. We still have much to do to help our teammates, but this is a step in that direction.
- Attitude matters! Leaders cannot afford to be emotionally up and down. Yes, we need that mentor or coach in our lives that we can discuss our problems with, but our teams, the people we lead, need to see us being strong. They need to see us staying positive. It’s extremely important that they see us being consistent, they need us to constantly and continually cast the vision of a better tomorrow. We must instill hope not discouragement. Accept, approve, appreciate with a great attitude.
- Adversity Quotient. If you have not read Orrin Woodward‘s book Resolved: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, read chapter 12. Tough times are coming. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about marriage, finances, relationships, or business, life will knock us down. How we respond will determine if we have victory or not over that situation. And if we don’t prepare, when the struggles come (and dang it people, realize that they ARE coming!), it’s going to take much longer to overcome. We had our share of struggles, obstacles, and disappointments, but we just kept resetting the goal and pressing forward.
- PDCA. Orrin Woodward teaches this process of plan, do, check, and adjust. You can’t keep doing the same things over and over and over again and think you’re going to get different results. Have a plan, do the plan, then check the results of that plan, and adjust accordingly. This seems pretty obvious, but it took me a long time to start implementing this process.
- Know your priorities. If we don’t truly know WHY we are living and doing what we are doing, we will be easily distracted and tossed about by the constant pulls that family, friends, finances, and circumstances have on life. When we know our priorities, saying “no” to other things isn’t that tough. Living a life of priorities is also living a life of significance.
- Orchestration. This might seem out of place, but I’ve learned the hard way (and this is something I’m fresh in the process of learning), that if you can’t orchestrate the efforts of a team effectively, hitting goals is much more difficult. This is much more difficult than I imagined. And it will be a tougher challenge as our business grows.
- Communication. This is directly connected to orchestraton. To effectively orchestrate the strategy, one also must be able to communicate effectively. Poor communication leads to confusion, frustration, and a loss of trust from your team. This also means one needs to learn conflict resolution (read chapter 10 from Resolved).
- Systems thinking. This ties into knowing our priorities and orchestration. We need to know where to invest our time that will produce the greatest return on our efforts. Understanding leverage is a huge key to any kind of success. Again, I refer to Resolved: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, chapter 11. This is something I’m continually diving into, but suffice to say, it will radically change one’s results in relationshipis, business, finances, etc, when understood more clearly.
- Never stop learning. No matter what field a person finds themself in, to reach the highest levels of success, one must learn and grow. This means one must read, listen, and associate with the right people and right information. Our current thinking is what has caused us to arrive at our current place in life. If we want to reach higher heights, accomplish more, influence more, and want to maximize our potential, we need the right thinking to occupy that place. So, learn from someone who’s already there- someone with the “fruit on the tree” that you want. I’m so thankful for Life Leadership, because this is our very culture. It’s what we DO, which makes the journey much more simple.
- You have to work hard. It’s human nature to give the least amount of effort hoping to get the highest level of results. And that is a formula for failure. To win at anything takes a whole lot of hard work over a long time. Period. We have to work hard, keep working hard, never stop working hard, and when we think we have worked hard and long enough, we will likely have to keep working hard for even longer. This was a tough one for me. I can always work harder. I can always give a little more effort. Human beings have unbelievable potential and capacity to do so. So let’s do it.
- Belief. Ultimately, nothing is done without belief. If we believe we can, we will. If we believe we can’t, we won’t. But belief can be cultivated. It can be created within us. And it ties directly into number 9 above. If we continue to learn from those with the results in life we want, and they are willing to encourage us as well (another reason I’m so thankful for Life Leadership), their belief will create belief in us. And the more you get around that kind of environment, the sooner the “switch of faith” will be turned on in us. I could talk a lot about this, but let me simply say, it happened to me just last month. I thought I believed before, but that “switch” got turned on in me after attending our last leadership conference. I BELIEVE!
- Leadership is tough! Like everything in life, having a “head knowledge” about concepts and principles is easy, but actually implementing them into our lives is tough. I had been to many marriage classes and even read books on marriage before being married. Let me simply say, none of that helped until I implemented it. So it is with leadership. Most everyone can write down what it means to lead and/or be a leader, but how many will actually pay the price to lay down their lives and BE a ture servant-leader?
I have so much more to learn; so much more to develop and implement in my life. Truly, I don’t know if a long life is enough time to fully step into the fullness of what a life of true leadership is about. There is always more to learn. There is always more we can change about ourselves. There will always be more obstacles to overcome. And there will always be more people who desire to do the same.
The goal we hit isn’t necessarily some monumental, massive achievement in the scope of things, but it does represent that we are on the right path and doing the right things. We truly are changing and growing. And as we continue to do the right things in the right way with the right people, we will continue to achieve the right results in our lives.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.