My son is six years' old and recently we removed his training wheels from his bike. We live very close to multiple parks but every time I suggest we take the bike to get there, he immediately gives excuses about not being able to climb the hill leading to the park, "My legs are too small, I don't have the energy, walking is healthier, my scooter is safer." I shared with him that everything worthwhile is uphill and if you want to enjoy the park, you have to pay the price.
Price is the number one obstacle between you and your potential and many leaders lack the willingness to pay the price. They treat their pursuit of leadership like a New Years resolution. They give up based on distraction, or pursuit of something shinier.
Being a highly effective leaders is cool to want, neat to say, something great to pursue, it is just hard to stay with it. That is price you must pay to be an effective leader.
What separates the greats from the others is their tenacity, their commitment, the "I won’t give up" until I get it attitude. Leaders never stop climbing that hill. My son is a champion rider at the base of our hill. But just like in leadership, the cheapest price is at the beginning of your journey. The cost is greater as you climb because the potential reward is higher.
You cannot get up the hill with downhill actions and since your thoughts drive your actions, the true traffic to get uphill is caused by having negative thoughts. Here are some examples of the uphill traffic you, like my son, need to navigate through to climb to the top:
Naysayers: Some of these naysayers will be the closest to you; especially your loved ones. Even after three years as an independent business owner my grandmother still begs me to go back to that nice safe government job I used to have. The human brain is trained to keep you safe, just like family. I have learned that if the masses are trying to influence you to stay away, especially if they are “play it safe people,” you are on the right track!
Self-Doubt: Zig Ziglar said, “The most powerful voice you will hear all day is your own, so be careful what you say to yourself.” Negative thoughts about whether we are good enough to succeed often leads to us talking ourselves out of starting anything.
Fear of Failure: If you take the counsel of your fears it may paralyze you from taking action and 99% of the time, the fear is more paralyzing than the consequences from the actions.
Poor Planning: A goal without a wish is just a dream. To succeed you must put your thoughts into action through definite purpose and plan.
Procrastination: Procrastination is the number one cause of failure. Dr. Martin Luther King taught us, “You don't need to see the entire set of stairs to get to the next floor, just the next step.”
Self-leadership: If you cannot lead yourself you cannot lead anyone. You will lose credibility and have little followers if you are not disciplined in your daily actions yourself.
Attitude: John Maxwell taught me your attitude determines your altitude. Your attitude determines what we think and what we do which ultimately determines our success in life.
Ego: Your ego is the enemy. If you do not put judgement and faulty assumptions aside, you will go fast, but not very far as a leader.
Perfection: Nothing will ever be perfect but if you have high expectations throughout, you will be close. However, you cannot allow your need for perfection stop you from moving forward. Jump and build your wings on the way down.
No Priorities: Covey taught us, “The key is to not prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” You create your own busyness and you, and only you make that choice.
It is critical that you take control of the negative thoughts that are causing the traffic impeding your success. Where are your traffic jams occurring? What is the root of this issue? Identify what is it that I really, really want out of life?
Many people make the mistake of thinking we will get what we want, but when they look deep they realize that they got who they are. It’s never too late to turn those thoughts around and move good intentions into intentional action. Begin paying the price today so you can climb that hill tomorrow. See you at the park!