When I step back to really think about it, I’ve been intrigued by the concept of leadership for as long as I can remember. I can vividly recollect asking myself why I wanted to listen to and engage with certain adults (or even other kids for that matter) while others couldn’t come close to grasping my attention. I secretly wondered why select teachers and coaches could get my best efforts while others couldn’t motivate or captivate me in the least. While I couldn’t define it at the time, I knew I would follow these special people anywhere and intuitively understood that doing what they asked of me would somehow prove beneficial. I knew that I wanted to be around certain individuals – they made me feel better about myself and the task or challenge at hand. They genuinely seemed to care about the outcomes that would impact me and my future development.
American literary giant Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “A great man is always willing to be little.” I couldn’t agree more with Emerson’s simple and focused assertion that the application of a humble attitude is both a necessary and foundational character trait for those who are charged with leading others.
In his New York Times bestseller, Principles, billionaire investor and philanthropist Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Consulting, challenges leaders to willingly and purposefully accept their most uncomfortable realities as a part of a comprehensive strategy for success.
While it’s true origins have been disputed, French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery is often attributed with authoring one of the most powerful (and subsequently most cited) maxims in the field of organizational development and business:
Bring on the New Year’s resolutions. Our annual declaration to the world that this is the year we will finally own it. Crush it. Achieve it.
I love the actionable detail of resolutions and the feelings of excitement and possibility that they inevitably elicit. There is a certain freedom in the idea of a clean slate and an opportunity to start fresh without looking back.
One of the unfortunate realities of modernity is the constant and ever-looming potential for distraction. Distractions constantly surround us and seem to work in 24-hour shifts. To combat distractions, cutting edge technology and consumer marketing strategies consistently attempt to promote methods and products with the goal of helping us to simplify and focus.
It’s happened a million times. You ignore the alarm clock, hit the snooze button for what seems like an eternity and finally (reluctantly) roll out of bed. Without a plan, you move aimlessly from one room to the next trying your best to remember what needs addressed before leaving the house.