Have a Plan – It doesn’t have to be a detailed, structured plan but a guideline or direction to get you to where you want to go. As the famous saying goes; “if you don’t know where you’re going, any path will get you there.”
Keep Focused – Life is full of distractions and shiny objects. It’s easy to become distracted and thrown off course, especially if you haven’t taken the time to develop a plan (see number 1).
Know What’s Important to You and Why – Understanding your values is paramount to feeling fulfilled. Too often, we end up doing things for others because we are afraid, we don’t want to disappoint or we just aren’t clear about what’s important to us. Regardless of which it is, we cannot feel fulfilled if it doesn’t mean that much to us. Take the time to really understand what your values are and use those values as a guide for all decision making.
Take Action – Financially, things were always a bit tight when I was growing up. It was clear that if I wanted anything, I would have to earn it myself. So, I had to work hard for everything which also meant, I needed to be very thoughtful about my decisions. Making decisions and taking action was one of the most powerful lessons I learned and allowed me to achieve success, which is one of the most important qualities in a good leader.
Work Hard – This was another lesson I learned from my parents and it has served me well. I try not to take anything for granted (including relationships) and I have developed a very strong work ethic. A trait I have tried to model to others.
Be Passionate – I love the above quote by Oprah Winfrey. I truly believe that your passion can point you in the right direction. A lot of people, including myself, have questioned if they are living their purpose. What I have figured out is, if you are passionate about something, you will live your purpose and life will be fulfilling.
Develop Perseverance – I have been called stubborn more times than I can count. Although this can be a negative trait, it has served me well (most times). If I truly believe in something, I will find a way to make it work. Challenges will always come up and can sometimes throw you off course. If you are focused and passionate, you will find a way to make things work.
Build on Your Foundation – It’s easy to forget about things that have happened in the past, especially if they weren’t positive experiences. But those are the things we need to remember most. We can learn so much from our history. I often describe coaching to people as being future-focused. This means, we start from the present – where you are now and develop a path to the future – where you want to go. The past comes into the conversation to provide us the history of why we do what we do and serves as a foundation to help us understand where we have come from. We don’t want to forget about the past but build from there so our future can become stronger.
Establish Your Tribe – We are social beings. We need the support, friendship and love from others in order to succeed. We need a supportive community and feel like we belong. This can only come from face-to-face interaction with others. One of the biggest problems in our world right now (personally and professionally) is that we don’t communicate with one another and we don’t create the supportive environment in which we need to not only survive but thrive. We live in a world where we don’t need to leave our houses. Thanks to technology, we can do everything from home. And, while this may create some conveniences, it has also broken down what Simon Sinek refers to as the “Circle of Safety.” We don’t have a true connection to others or sense of belonging, and no sense that others love and care for us. As a result, we feel out of control, abandoned and isolated.
Give Your Time to Others – We are all busy people so time and energy is a primary commodity. When you give of your time, it is truly an act of generosity. Giving money is not the same thing. Anyone can give money to people or a cause but when you give of your time, it is a premium. You cannot get back the time you give but you can make back the money you give. As a leader, it makes a difference if you sit down with someone and ask, “how can I help you?” Email is too easy. If I truly want to help others, I need to give of my time. I try to remember this and always make myself available to others.
Be Respectful of Others and Take Responsibility for Your Actions – One of the legacy’s I created in my previous career was the Rzone. The Rzone is a zero-tolerance policy where the “R” stands for Respect and Responsibility. Respect for Yourself; Respect for Others; and Responsibility for your Actions. I have tried to use this as a model for my life both personally and professionally.
Be of Service to Others – The more we can look out for one another, the more successful we will be. The more we can help others, the safer we feel, the more we feel like we belong, and the more we will work together. This is truly relationship building and when we feel safe, we can deal with any problems that arise.