Great leaders lead by example. They make decisions and allow their actions to speak for them. Merely saying you want to achieve something isn’t quite the same as doing it. One is a wish and the other is a decision. Leaders decide. I believe that in the broadest sense, success is this way. A difficult thing about making decisions is that in doing so, you open wide the doors to change.
And then the mental struggle begins…
“But, I wasn’t ready for this. This wasn’t my decision. I was let go.” Or, “This (fill in the blank) situation is happening to me and other people too, therefore, we must be at a disadvantage, <daresay> victims.”
These thoughts are very human and it’s OK to experience them. But, once you acknowledge them, let them go. Our realities are where we choose to linger. The catalyst leading to change may not have been your doing. But, guess what? Once it happens – you own it. So now you have to start thinking about your options and the choices to be made. It’s decision time.
People don’t like to talk about things that make them feel uncomfortable or weak. But, for a moment, let’s linger here. One of the lesser openly discussed debilitating factors of change is the quagmire of negative and self-sabotaging emotions that push through that door with it. They compound the upheaval in our world. We fear – everything. Failure. Rejection. We fear disappointing people who have always counted on us. We doubt every skill, strength and experience we ever had in the face of the loss of context. We don’t know what we don’t know and suddenly, anxiety becomes the new undercurrent of our daily existence.
When we actually see a person struggle, we reach out a helping hand. The challenge with an emotional struggle is that often, no one sees this because there’s a shame that we shroud it in that says…”shhhh-make believe everything is OK.” But it is not. The first decision, the one that leads to your greatest success, is reaching out your hand to others in order to help yourself. Remember, people don’t know what they don’t know. You need to tell them. Surround yourself in ONLY positives to challenge and offset your negatives. The decision to operate from a static position of strength is a key ‘How’ in your exciting new journey. Be selfish and protect your space with a vengeance. If you took these emotions away, what might your ‘How” look like? I promise you that the way forward becomes clearer from this vantage point.
My company works with humans in various states of transition; military and civilian professionals and growing organizations. No matter what the context, transition, e.g., change, is tough. No doubt about it. It rocks our world and aside from the physical components that we can see and touch there’s that ever-present undercurrent, constantly trying to pull us back into self-doubt. For many these are new and unfamiliar feelings to process. You think you’re the only one so you don’t want to talk about it. Nothing is further from the truth as this is literally the storyline for many ‘self-help’ books lining the shelves of bookstores.
And, it’s not a coincidence that the keystone of my work is cultural transition. It’s a decision. For more than two decades my own professional success was attained by navigating endless career transitions accumulating progressive success along the way. Not only for myself, but for those who looked to me to lead the way. Change is a space where I thrive so I know firsthand it ain’t for sissies. The wisdom of hindsight is a glorious thing. Only you often have to go through hell to attain it.
Along the way, there will be many lessons, some painful. As my experiences brought me to the place I am today, so too will yours carry you forward. As your journey continues, choose to embrace the unknown and revel in life’s uncertainty.
I believe that success is knowing what your ‘gift’ is. Once known, the purpose is to give this gift away and make a positive and meaningful impact in the lives of others, every day. Intrinsic motivation.
Successful leaders are human too. They care deeply for those under their watch and therefore struggle with the desire to make the best choices that will lead their teams to greater success. The difference between mediocre and great leadership can be found in that person’s ability to make sound decisions and then lead others with deliberate intent.
As Winston Churchill so aptly said,
“Success consists of going from failure to failure, without the loss of enthusiasm.”
Dorothy Patrick is the founder and CEO of SPARX International™, a firm that drives profits by providing organizations with ideas, products and services that improve culture, communications and employee engagement; specializing in the leadership development and cultural integration for growing companies. Dorothy’s passion to develop successful organizations and teams is reflected in her legacy as a corporate executive with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, UBS Financial and IFCO International.
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