Leadership: Stoking The Success Train
Everyone wants to succeed yet everyone has a different perception of what success means and what it will bring into their lives. It is a means of gaining financial freedom for some and for others it means a healthy, happy family life. There are others who define their success by the power that their job title brings and others who feel successful when they believe their leadership skills excel above others.
There are so many generalized definitions of success and within these generalizations, there are many sub-categories. Everyone has their own definitive perception(s) of what success means and how to manipulate it to gain a sense of well-being in life, yet all too often all these differing definitions are culturally stimulated as we seek to ?do? whatever it is that we ?think? will bring success into our lives.
So, who is really doing the thinking? Is it truly our own clear mental process or is it influenced by our culture, our parents, our peers, and everyone else but our true self? The problem lies when we forget that success of any kind begins and ends within our own personal architectural design based upon our own unique, talents, abilities and skills.
Looking outside ourselves and perhaps even following someone else who appears to have discovered the mystery of success and happiness only confuses the issue. No one can emulate the success of someone else by following their footsteps as we are all unique. Amongst this diversity lies the true strength of our genius. Certainly, we can learn from others but when it gets down to moving toward success, we need to be crystal clear that we are stoking our own furnace and not someone else who has influenced us, whether negatively or positively.
The first authentic step toward your personal freedom and the success that you define for yourself is to "...know thyself...? Constantly seeking truth and attempting to find your own success by looking outside yourself is undoubtedly a process of futility. Even if someone seems to have very similar talents, goals, abilities and strengths who have received a level of success, if you ask them if they are happy or satisfied, they will all too often tell you, ?No.? There is good reason for this. There is something missing in their lives.
No matter what we pursue in life. No matter how focused and concentrated upon our success and no matter how hard we work toward its achievement, if we don?t know ourselves well and specifically zero in on activating our own unique measure of talent, skills, knowledge and ability, we will not find our process pleasurable nor will we find sustainable success. Seek your personal genius.
In knowing ourselves, we also realize that there is a Universal Law of Life that never allows us to remain satisfied with one level of success for long. Success cannot be stagnant. Life is not stagnant! Yes, we may revel in our success for a moment or two, but then find ourselves driven toward another level of success, however we define it.
There is no arrival time on the success train. There are pit stops along the way for refueling, but the destination is unknown as it is ever growing, expanding and pushing out further into the unknown while forcing us to step out of our comfort zones to encounter greater and greater success. The landscape along the track becomes quite different and although, it may be beautiful, it forces us to learn how to adapt to this new terrain. Learning to adapt in life is key to success.
Success is a driving force that has no space available for thoughts of failure, set-backs or dysfunctional malaise. One cannot experience success without some failure or set backs and if we allow our Minds so full of creative genius to get stuck on the obstacles of the journey, then our success train comes to an emergency stop. If we don?t quickly refuel our Minds with positive, creative and dynamic thinking, our vision and our mental capacities for furthering our goals become stagnant and die. It just passes away, sometimes yelling and screaming and at other times, quite silently but that worthy vision and the momentum that you created stops right in its tracks!
Adapting to new terrain and stoking our own furnace are two key factors in riding the success train along the journey of life. Other factors to be considered in our success journey as leaders include the following:
1. Self-responsibility?Successful men and woman embrace responsibility. They don?t run from it by projecting it onto someone else when the track gets a bit bumpy or an obstacle appears and a detour must be taken. Leadership means taking responsibility and thriving on it. By taking responsibility, you are building momentum for a successful outcome.
2. Decisiveness?The wise one gathers support and ideas from others yet the final decision is yours. Gather knowledge and be decisive. Not making a decision means failure has already occurred. Be well-informed, make a decision to plow through the obstacle on the track or to find an alternate route. Leaders know how to get through the chaos to the core of a problem and make well-informed decisions without hesitancy.
3. Accountability- Leadership IS accountability in action. Success for power leaders in any industry means taking responsibility, gathering credible knowledge, making a well-informed decision and standing by the decision. Leaders recognize that not all of their decisions are going to be successes. Some decision may be down and out mistakes Other decisions may be right on target and still others may be partial successes.
Yet a Leader who understands the dynamics of success is accountable for the successes as well as the failures. Sometimes she can revel in the success and other times, be steeped in a moment of confusion as to why the decision wasn?t successful or was only a partial success.
In scenario #3-Accountability: Let?s say the Success Train has completely derailed. The leader took responsibility, made what she thought was a knowledgeable decision and yet, when implemented discovered dire disaster that caused her company or department or team to jump off the tracks.
Everyone was on board. Each team member was invested in the process and morale was high. Now that same movable force has lost its momentum. Yet, now, they are no longer ?stoked? and their furnaces are cooling off fast. They are dragging around feeling poorly about themselves and complaining with one another about how hard they worked to make this scenario a success while trying to find someone, anyone to blame. Morale takes a nose-dive as the furnace that fuels your engine cools off even faster.
While it is important to be in touch with your feelings and disappointment is a feeling, it is imperative to deal with all your feelings caused by this derailment. It's vital. It must be dealt with first and foremost or you won?t be able to move forward and begin stoking that furnace.
Negative emotions are what drain our energy and that energy is our life force. So, ALLOW YOUR EMOTIONS. (Men, I especially hope that you are getting this!) Just set a timer and know when it is time to make a more positive shift, consider the obstacles, create strategies to extracate the obstacle from the train track and get to stokin? that furnace again toward success.
Feel your emotions deeply. If you have truly invested yourself in a project or decision that you believed would be a success and it somehow jumped the tracks, then you will feel a level of grief, sadness, anger, frustration, and etc., weighted to the degree that you were invested in the outcome.
So, close your door and put your head in your hands. Cry or get angry. Blame, shame, get frustrated and pound your fist on the desk...or take a walk or a drive and talk to yourself silently, or let your voice yell out. Act out harmlessly and always in a constructive manner. Never project your emotions onto others. They are YOUR emotions and have nothing to do with anyone else. It?s healthy to act out, but do it constructively and don?t do any harm. Live your life with the noble and conscious decision to ?NEVER DO HARM.?
Yell and scream in private, cry in private, pound your fist on the desk and express all your emotions. I usually allow myself 15 minutes for what I call my ?Wha eey-Wha-eey? time out when I feel sorry for myself and all those other destructive emotions. Understand that feelings are not destructive, yet undisciplined emotions will destroy your leadership abilities and your success in life if left to their own devises. (The word divisiveness according to Oxford?s University Press means to ?cause disagreement or hostility...?)
In other words, hold the intention to never do harm. Whether it is harmful to ourselves and/or others, it is not acceptable, positive or leadership driven behavior. So, give yourself a time out to get angry and feel your hurt and when the fifteen minutes are up, make the shift.
It is a choice. This shift is a positive choice, that isn't easy at times, yet with practice becomes easier and easier. Do we want to remain stuck and our goals and vision derailed or do we want to find solutions? If you want to remain stuck, you will. If you want to choose another response that is in your best interest, then you will. You are in control. Take the lead!
Let's assume that you made the conscious decision to choose to make a positive shift and start looking at solutions. Wayne Dyer has an excellent book that I firmly recommend. It's titled, "There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem." Don't let the words, 'Spiritual Solution' stop you from investigating this book and determining whether it will be beneficial to you. This book is about life and solving problems. It works!
Looking for solutions to problems is an art form. It isn't something that usually comes easily, depending on the complexities of the problem at hand. It means defining the problem with clear focus of the core issues. It means revisiting the derailment and seeking to understand all the dynamics that may have contributed to what we perceive as a failure. Remember to separate yourself from the failure. You are not a failure. The goal failed because of certain actions, lack of actions, communication failures, group focus and many more possible scenarios.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SOLVING THE MULTIPLE LAYERS THAT CAUSED THE DERAILMENT:
1. Write down all the dynamics that played into the lack of positive results that you expected. Clarify, clarify, clarify...then clarify again!
2. Have your key players come up with their own list of why the goal wasn't accomplished.
3. Schedule a Problem Solving Meeting with your key players.
4. Make one definitive list of all the dynamics that come out of the Problem Solving Meeting. Be sure that this meeting does not turn into a 'poor me' or 'poor us' activity. Choose to find solutions and choose not to remain stuck. Stay on track!
5. Out of the difinitive list of possible and probably reasons for the failure to achieve, prioritize within the group what are the most important factors.
6. Once prioritzed, this list begins to take a form that makes problem solving easier.
7. Begin with the #1 reason that the group believes was the cause of the failure and write down two or three ways to adjust and reframe the problem so it becomes a strength that allows you to proceed. Begin stoking that high powered engine, once again. Do this for each definitive problem on your list.
8. Once the co-workers agree on how to proceed, then write down how to implement the fresh, new procedures to insure greater success for each problem that derailed the goal in the first place.
9. Once the procedures are clear to everyone and make certain that everyone is in agreement and understands fully what & how the procedural steps are to unfold throughout the organization, then it is time to actively implement the new strategies toward success.
10. Who is responsible and accountable for each solution strategy? What is the time-line involved in these fresh strategies for success? Write down the 'Who' and the "When' with the accountable person or persons designated.
11. Finally, yet very important to the process of finding and implementing solutions, is to decide when to meet again to determine if these new strategies are in place and working effectively. If not, adjust again. If not, reframe again. If not, begin the process again.
Success often takes a great deal of focus and effort. Perseverance and the ability to adjust and adapt are key to reaching our goals. Don't give up! Be committed and invested in the success that you envision. Keep getting back on track. Your Success Train needs continuous stoking with positive, realistic and formidable strategies to move itself forward. You are already a success. Don't beat the dead horse. It has no horse power. Put it out of its misery and move forward with a passionate fire in your belly. Feed the furnace with positive fuel and success is just around the bend. Enjoy the ride!
Copyright 2004 A. James Hillelson All Rights Reserved