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Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

While studying India as a college student, I was so inspired by the principles by which Gandhi lived his life that I decided to emulate them as much as possible. So much so, that many months prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq I called one of my best friends and asked, “If I don a white robe, walk down to Washington DC, and sit in front of the White House in protest, will you join me?” The long, hesitating pause was all I needed to know. And it was soul-crushing.
 

Something tells me that prior to taking a stand against British colonialism, Gandhi did not call his best friend.
 

Needless to say, I tried to live my life with a humility I believe Gandhi possessed. I never wanted the spotlight, or to be the #1 guy, or the CEO, or the leader. In fact, I often say, “I don’t want to be the leader, but I will make the best damn #2 guy you will ever have.”
 

Then, about 7 years ago, I joined Toastmasters. (Toastmasters is a phenomenal organization that develops your public speaking and leadership.)
 

True to form, at first I simply listened and admired the amazing speakers in my club. Then I started taking roles to support the group and be in service to them. Then, when asked, I took on leadership roles in the organization – but never the role of president. Over the course of time, I also began speaking.
 

At each meeting, the club would vote for best speaker. I won best speaker awards and best impromptu speaker many, many times. Apparently, I was good at this.
 

However, I never voted for myself when the club voted for best speaker. Keeping with what I thought were Gandhi-like principles, I would always vote for someone else, even if I spoke during that particular meeting.
 

Then it dawned on me.
 

If I don’t vote for myself, if I don’t believe in myself, why should anyone else? It was a HUGE shift and lesson. It was very hard for me to do, but I did finally vote for myself. That act turned out to be an extremely important piece of my personal growth and confidence.
 

A few weeks ago I returned to Toastmasters after a 2-year hiatus. At that particular meeting I was asked to speak on an impromptu topic, which I happily did. I truly enjoy speaking and inspiring others when I can. There were 3 other people that spoke on impromptu topics that night. Falling back into my old ways, I voted for someone else rather than myself.
 

In an unusual twist of fate, as if the Universe wanted to hammer home the message, I was asked to help count the votes to see who the club thought was the best speaker that night.
 
 
 

I lost by one vote.
 

Message heard loud and clear.
 
 
 
If I am not for myself, who will be for me.

– Hillel
 

We each hold a magnificence and inspiration inside ourselves. All too often though, we allow it to die on the vine of doubt, approval or humility. But this is absurd! Who we are, and what we have to say, is divinely inspired. Our souls are gifts meant to be shared with the world. As unusual as this might sound, each time we withhold what is inside we are actually being selfish.
 

Interestingly, the rest of Hillel’s wisdom states –
 

If I am not for myself, who will be for me. But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?
 

I cannot think of better words to encourage belief in yourself . . . sprinkled with the humility of Gandhi. Perhaps this was the wisdom Gandhi listened to when he donned his white robe and began his walk.
 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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A few years ago I started working with a company called City Fire here in NJ (www.cityfire.com). They provide fire safety services (sprinkler systems, alarm systems, fire extinguishers, etc) to schools, apartment buildings, office buildings, small businesses, etc.

 

Among the many amazing things I’ve had the privilege of witnessing at City Fire has been their strong and steady growth through one of the most difficult economic times in recent history. While there are several factors contributing to their success – “getting the right people with the right skills in the right jobs”, setting goals, establishing stronger communication and communication channels – probably the single greatest contributor to their success has been their commitment to measurements.

 

Once they establish their annual goals they track them on a quarterly basis and, here’s the important part, they hold every manager accountable for achieving their goals. At every quarterly meeting each manager reports on their progress, areas of success and issues where they are challenged.

 

Their success is not a magic bullet they mysteriously uncovered and are not telling anyone else. Their success is a function of the simple concept of setting goals, continually measuring them, and taking creative, proactive action when they see a deviation from their targeted goal.

 

While some people and companies attribute success to luck, natural talent or being in the right place at the right time, most lasting success is a function of hard work, focused dedication, a commitment to a goal, and being willing to be held accountable.

 

In my continued belief that life is not rocket science, here are 5 simple steps to achieving the success you desire in your life or business.

 

1. Declare your goal – If you don’t know where you are going that’s exactly where you will arrive.
2. Set a plan – “A goal without a plan is a dream”
3. Take action – Do at least one thing everyday that contributes toward that goal.
4. Measure your progress – Be willing to track your progress and see how you are doing against your goal.
5. Recalibrate – If you are not hitting your target, take creative, proactive action to re-adjust your aim and actions.

 

Following these simple steps will have you meet with the success, happiness and satisfaction you seek in your life.

 

Most people use statistics the way a drunkard uses a lamp post, more for support than illumination

– Mark Twain

 

The greatest thing about measurements is that they can help illuminate our lives. What are we really doing on a day to day basis? Are our actions truly making a difference? Are we getting closer to our goals in life? By measuring, we can answer these important questions. Without measurements, we run the risk of floating through life aimlessly, never truly being satisfied.

 

And, if you want to discover perhaps the most important measurement of all, give a listen to the video below.
 

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When people think about inspiring leaders, among the first to be mentioned are Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Churchill, and Martin Luther King Jr. In mentioning these leaders, I contend that most people are thinking more about the leadership legend that has been built around them and passed down through the years more so than the actual act of leadership that catapulted them into that illustrious group in the first place. It is the legend of these people that we put up on that leadership pedestal. And it is that legend that often intimidates us to our own leadership abilities. rosa 8

More times than not, leadership is not something people sit around all day and plan for. It is a moment in time that is seized. It is a commitment to a belief or an acting upon a passion. It is a stand you take for yourself or something you love. It is a fleeting moment of inspiration you grab that somehow grows in ways you never imagined, and before you know it, people see you as a leader. It is not something you set out to achieve, it was simply something you did that happens to inspire others. That is the moment of leadership. You didn’t think about it, you just did it. It was a calling of your heart.

There are an untold number of leaders waiting to be unleashed in the world. Not necessarily leaders of the masses, but rather leaders of much smaller, yet no less important groups. It could be a family, a small community organization, a business, a school or some other group of people sharing a passion and vision. Now is the time to step up to your leadership. If you hold a passion or dream for something, the world can no longer wait for you to step into your greatness. Now is the time. Seize this moment and take that small and simple step that will lead to your leadership legend.

What are you passionate about?  What will you do to step in to your leadership and bring that passion to life?

 

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