Many leaders make the blunder of mistaking interest for commitment and excitement for sacrifice. Being attracted to success is definitely a necessary prerequisite. But flirting with the idea of winning is never enough. You have to back up your desire with steady, progressive action and the hard work of genuine leadership development. Otherwise your career will wind up looking more like a serious hobby than a scalable profession.
Heart and Mind
During the recent Olympics swimmer Michael Phelps gave us an outstanding example of how to bring both heart and performance to the playing field. Phelps dove out of the starting gate with a disappointing whimper, not a bang, and didn’t even medal in the 400-meter individual medley. He must have been stunned by his unexpected setback, which I’m sure felt like an outright defeat. But rather than living there and letting his stumble get the best of him, he quickly regrouped and refocused. That’s a champ!
Where does that extraordinary resiliency come from, and how do people suddenly bounce back after being knocked down – with even more poise and power? They have a mental edge that’s been carefully cultivated in preparation for those inevitable tests, that’s how. They don’t just train to be a superior player. They also practice the tactics and strategies that enable them to roar back with winning energy and enthusiasm even when the chips are down.
Go for the Gold
Competing at the highest levels where you’re going for the gold – whether that means an Olympic medal or a high 6-figure income – your mindset can be your most important asset. But that kind of attitude doesn’t just happen because you wish harder. If it did, everyone would be a “comeback kid.” You and I both know that you have to intentionally develop it through constant practice and new challenges that set your bar higher than the competition’s. You must always dream bigger than your competitors. But that’s only going to deliver success when you also get real to make those dreams happen.
The Actionable Edge
You already have the talent, I’m sure of that. But until you acquire a mental advantage to match your marketable skills you won’t live up to your full potential. That’s why I want you to promise yourself that you’ll follow through on your inner vision with external clarity. Pair your burning desire with high-intensity dedication. Surround yourself with coaches and teachers who will support you but challenge you.
Today we aren’t fixated on the swimming events that Phelps lost. What the world remembers is that he literally blew everyone else out of the water! He cemented a lifetime legacy that boasts a record-shattering 22 medals, including twice as many gold medals as any Olympian in history.
Define yourself as a winner while nobody’s looking. Show commitment behind the scenes where it counts. Do that and I guarantee that success will scout you out and make room for you at the top of the leader board!
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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion System™.
Blog, Ezine & Website: www.illustraconsulting.com
Copyright © 2012, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS