Recently I was pondering over my life and thinking about who and what I have become. As I did this, I began to think more on the actual word ‘become’.
It doesn’t take an Einstein to know that the word ‘Become’ means ‘to happen, come about and arrive’ and is a compound of the two words ‘Be’ and ‘Come’.
I have often heard people say, “Twelve months ago I would not have imagined that I would be where I am today.” Have you ever thought or said that? I know there are times that I have. Why do we say those things? It is because we often look backwards over what has happened in our lives and the only forward planning we have can be quoted with the phrase “Que Sera Sera - Whatever will be, will be”, but there is no hope or direction for us when that is our mindset.
I realised how often we look in a backwards direction over our lives, but instead we need to look forward. When you think about it, who I choose to ‘be’ today will determine who I will ‘come’ to be tomorrow. If I don’t like who I have ‘come to be’ (or be-come) then I need to change who I am being today, so that the change will result in me having a new out-come. I can look at my past and cry with tears of regret over it, or I can remember the ‘glory days’ where things have gone better then planned, but neither viewing can change our future. Our remembering should be used to learn from, and plan for an even better future.
Who have you be-come? Who would you like to be-come? The power to change that begins with you. So does the choice.
Have you ever driven a car with no power steering? I have. It is no fun, especially when the car is supposed to have it.
Recently the power steering unit of my car cracked and all of the fluid drained out making it very difficult to steer without using some muscle. That gave a whole new meaning to the term “Power steering”.To turn a car with power steering at standstill can easily be done with the open palm of your hand. To do this without power steering is impossible. However, with some momentum, this is workable. It is momentum that makes the difference.
It is the same with leadership. Momentum makes the difference. It is never the size of your problem that is the problem. It's a lack of momentum. Without momentum, it doesn’t take much to slow you down, or even stop you. Consider some of the following things that maintain momentum compared to some of the things that break momentum.
This list was inspired an article written by John Maxwell.
Vision verses Di-Vision: Vision is an important part of leadership. Without vision, people perish. This is because their focus will be directed somewhere else. A leader that cannot produce vision will produce double-mindedness, or di-vision in those he is supposed to lead and that will definitely slow momentum. A Leader who can share vision will inspire those he is leading and generate momentum
Solo players verses Team players If you try doing things on your own, you will destroy momentum. Team victories allow everyone to celebrate together, and the more victories the team celebrates, the more the momentum grows, especially if numerous people can claim to have played a part.
The Past verses the Future “If you want to see your past, look at your current situation. If you want to see your future, look at your current action.” We can choose to continue thinking on the past and how things were, and stay stuck in what was or what could have been, or we can learn from the past and let go of it to embrace the future. Tomorrow will come, but the tomorrow you have will be determined by the actions of today.
A critical attitude verses a constructive attitude When someone is given a critique their creative work is pulled to pieces or criticised. This could be positively or negatives. However, our human nature is that we will often naturally progress to the negative aspect of criticism. When someone is criticised often enough, it will not just discourage them or take courage away from them, it will cripple them. When this happens to those we are leading, we will quickly notice a grinding halt in our desired momentum. The opposite is also true. Encourage, or put courage into people and they will grow, and desire to achieve more. Then momentum will soar to record heights. Mental attitude makes all the difference to your overall momentum.
Indecision verses action John Maxwell says, “I am never overly impressed with idea people. Anyone who takes a long shower can come up with a good idea. I'm impressed with a person who has the tenacity and discipline to make ideas happen.” Leaders can break the momentum on their team by giving in to the “paralysis of analysis”. Sometimes a leader needs to act without all of the needed information. Momentum and risk walk side by side. As a leader, there are times when in order to inspire excitement in those you lead, you just need to act.
Tradition verses Creativity Good leaders consistently and demandingly question the reasoning behind the comments, “That’s how we have always done it” Although we need to know why the fence was built in the first place before we tear it down, we also need to realise that things that worked in the past may be outdated and could hold you back in the future.
Dishonesty verses Character What sort of leader would you follow? One who is manipulative and deceitful of one who is trustworthy and has integrity and a strong character? Character is the sum total of our everyday choices. It cannot be built overnight. Integrity of character comes from the proper decisions made behind closed doors even when people haven’t been watching because it was simply the right thing to do.
Peter Kusmic said, "Charisma without Character is a Catastrophe". The circumstances we live in determines our reputations, while the truth we choose to believe in determines our character.
We have the choice to continue to maintain speed and watch our momentum continue, or we can act in ways that will bring it to a grinding halt. Over the next few days, assess your personal momentum. Are you continuing at the same speed, are you increasing pace, or are you struggling to overcome even the smallest challenges? What has been happening that has brought about your answer? What steps can you put in place right now that will ensure that you Maintain Momentum today.
Did you know that it is good to dream? Not daydream about nothing, but dream about where you want to go with your life and what you want to do with it. The more you dream, the more it will inspire you, empower you, excite you and motivate you. George Bernard Shaw says, “You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'”
Consider this phrase for a moment - “You were made for a mission!” Every person has been created to make a difference in this earth. What difference are you planning to make? What is your “mission”? Has anybody ever told you that you cannot succeed? Do you believe them? For what purpose have you allowed your dreams to come to a standstill? What has been your reward for doing this?
You may have felt you have lost the right to dream again, but in reality, you never lose that right unless you believe it to be true. Many people have failed in life, but that doesn’t make you a failure. Why? Because failure is an event, not a person. Here are a list of some people who dreamed, failed, but dared to dream again. The results of their continued dreaming I’m sure you are familiar with.
- Walt Disney’s first cartoon production company went bankrupt.
- Elvis Presley’s music teacher at High School gave him a C and told him he couldn’t sing.
- When she was at drama school, Lucille Ball was told that she had no talent and should go home.
- During their first year, Coca-Cola sold a total of only 400 Cokes.
- During his first three years in the automobile business, Henry Ford went bankrupt twice.
- Thomas Edison tried more than 2, 000 experiments before he was able to get his light bulb to work.
- Albert Einstein didn’t start speaking until he was 9 years old.
- Ludwig von Beethoven was deaf when he wrote some of his best music.
- Glenn Cunningham suffered such severe burns when he was 5 yrs. old that doctors told him he would never walk again. In 1934, he set the World Record for the mile.
If you have stopped dreaming, then it’s time you start again. Write your dreams down. Make them wild: What do you really want? What have you been told you could never have? What things are you passionate about that would allow you to leave your mark on the world? What things would you pursue if there were no restrictions on you? Create your written list of dreams. Diana Scharf Hunt once said, “Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” Writing them down will keep them in front of your eyes and make them more achievable.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go ahead. I dare you! Dare to dream.
Recently I was thinking back to when I learned how to drive a car. I remember thinking that driving would be easy, but when I sat in the drivers seat with the instructor by my side, I suddenly realised that there was a lot that was going to happen at once that I hadn’t previously considered. I learned the acronym S.M.I.L.E. (Seatbelt, Mirrors, Ignition, Look, Engage). “Yeah right! Easy for you buddy! You’ve been doing it for years! Today is my first day!”
The interesting thing is that as time progresses, we learn everything we need to learn, then we become more comfortable with it. It’s second nature to us. We become skilled enough to now sit in the instructors seat and able to teach others. Everything is so easy… but then something goes horribly wrong! We drift into easy mode, and switch off because we just know how to do it all.
It is when we switch off that things can go wrong. We forget some of the simple things like looking over your shoulder before changing lanes… having two hands on the wheel at all times… don’t use your mobile phone whilst driving… and the one I’m going to focus on today, use your mirrors regularly. This one simple procedure in driving is so important, and yet so many do it so little. Why? It’s not difficult. Mirrors are installed in your car to assist you in knowing what’s around you, but unless you look in them, you will be unaware of what is going on around you.
Good leaders always lead in a way similar to good drivers. The have a clear focus on the road ahead, on what is going on and also on what is coming up but they never forget to have the occasional look over their shoulder and in their mirror to see what is happening around them. Sometimes this extra glance will cause us to be aware of something coming up and that making a slight adjustment could mean the difference between survival and being a statistic.
When is the last time that as a leader you looked around you? When did you last make an adjustment? We all need to do it. Nothing survives well without a regular checkup, and adjustment, and your personal life and your organisation are no different. Think of this - an ocean liner that steams ahead on a path that is only a single degree off the mark will in two days be a long way off course.
Remember that a fine adjustment can make a huge difference to your organisation. It’s critical that you look around, learn from your past, focus on your goals and maintain your direction and focus, especially in challenging economic times, but you will need to make occasional adjustments when necessary. This way you will arrive at your destination, but also enjoy the journey in the process.