Most of us in the “first world” in general, and the United States in particular, have much to be thankful for despite headlines and our perceptions.
We also have many stories of those in the past and today who truly exhibit courage and perseverance. Yet, as with many words, “courage” and “perseverance” have been watered down through overuse and misuse.
Courage to get a cavity filled is not the same for most of us as courage to voice our convictions against the flow or to go into a burning building to rescue someone. Perseverance to make it through another boring day at the office is not the same as perseverance in the face of continuing crises like war that threaten basic existence or in the face of ongoing major physical ailments.
Leigh St John (leighstjohn.com) is a colleague and infectious dispenser of good spirits and boundless marketing wisdom. She loves helping business people, entrepreneurs and just about anyone who wants to achieve more. One of her key phrases and a favorite hashtag is the title of this column: #inspired2achieve.
Almost all of her clients and fans know the Leigh described above.
However, almost all of her clients and fans don’t know that she is one of those who more closely personify courage and perseverance, and why. Leigh has never really gone public with the obstacles she has faced and is facing.
Leigh has found courage to go public as she is undertaking a huge personal challenge and hopes her story will inspire others to face and climb their own personal mountains.
Here are some take-aways and applications for you as a leader:
- Language has power as long as it has meaning.
What words have become watered down or misapplied in your organization?
For example, how about the word “transformation.” Look up the definition and then consider how the word is used, including in the media.
- Innovation is aided by sufficient diversity in teams.
Have you considered and explicitly appreciated what unique, positive contributions each person makes?
Or have you been using a few common words and a common definition of individual success to apply to all, therefore diluting the meaning of “success”?
- There can be power in sharing challenges with the team, if done authentically.
What challenges have you overcome that could inspire your team? Any challenges that team members have overcome?
The point is not to raise you or anyone else above others; the point is to provide inspiration. This can only be done if the sharing is genuine, not done for manipulation, and done at the appropriate times.
- What inspires you to achieve?
Have you shared with your team, again in an authentic, non-manipulative way?
Have you found out what inspires your team members to achieve?
Is the team (or organization) purpose clear and inspiring enough for all to rally around?
- We all have “down” days … what will distinguish you as an effective leader is persevering through them and helping others to do the same.
Go forth and achieve!
By Mike Russell