The people who stand out from the crowd and change the world we know, are remembered most for breaking the rules. There are those who break rules for evil and there are those who break the rules for good. Obviously, you want to be on the side who breaks the rules that change the way we think, act, live and move for the better.
We were all put on this planet for a purpose. Many people don’t fulfil their purpose, because it is uncomfortable to break the rules and taking the leap into the unknown tests our emotional fortitude.
Life is about realising who you are, trusting that you have what it takes and allowing the fire inside of you to roar loudly. Your inner drive is the key ingredient to your recipe. Without lighting the flame, you will not know if you are cooking at the right temperature.
You need to take charge, put the pen in your hand and begin writing your own story. Too often people live someone else’s dream, or don’t even have a dream to live. It’s all about owning the dream and not allowing other people to interrupt it.
Until you have become the path itself, you cannot travel the path. You must become one with your story and write it with true conviction. Everything you do and say tells the world about what is going on inside of you. Remember, a tiger hunts best when it is hungry!
The most powerful people in the world are the storytellers. A storyteller gets to set the view, the values and the way we achieve it. They get to set the agenda for the way next generation get to live in the future.
If you own your own story, you get to write the ending. If you leave it to others, you can only be the subject. If you believe in it, you get to narrate it.
How do you want to be remembered?
4 Ways To Overcome Coach Loneliness Link Beyond The Comfort Zone Link High Performers Cultivate More Powerful Traits Link Are Leaders Born? Link A Step Ahead Of The Game Link I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link
A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.
Successful people have the unique ability to perform under high levels of pressure. Pressure comes from internal and external expectations, and as the stakes rise, fear grows. Being able to deal with fear and the uncomfortable feelings that are associated, you have to be better prepared to control your state of mind.
Why do we feel uncomfortable? That uncomfortable feeling comes from going into a place where you have never been before. You are making a change and disrupting the way your mind and body are used to doing something. It might be doing something for the first time or doing something you haven’t done for a while. It could be doing something you are used to, but the conditions or parameters have changed.
When you first experience a struggle and you feel uncomfortable, you start to second-guess yourself. Remember nothing in life comes easy and the greatest satisfaction is the result of overcoming something that takes us out of our comfort zone and takes us to a whole new level. You need a mindset of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. This is the price of progression.
“If you want something in life that you have never had, you will have to do something that you have never done.” UNKNOWN
8 ways to take you beyond the comfort zone:
You will feel most uncomfortable when you take the first step and make a decision to start. That commitment to get off the start-line means the battle is half done. Most great ideas never get started, but once you have taken the first step, the real work begins. You made a choice, a commitment, and now you need to show up.
ONE STEP IN FRONT OF THE OTHER
Sometimes your actions don’t go to plan. You may not be seeing results, the progress is slow, and you are being told that it won’t work or self-doubt is kicking in. This is the point where everyone considers giving up and start asking themselves, “why am I doing this?”. At this point you have to be brave and be ready to answer honestly. Your purpose needs to be crystal clear, because this is when the true battle begins and it is the time to shine.
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT
Fear kills more dreams than failure, so you have to control the controllable’s and brainwash yourself with lots of positive affirmations and thoughts. Pretend to be confident and visualize how it will look. Preparation and belief are your best friends.
EMBRACE ‘THE SUCK’
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Deal with the adversity, the challenge, the pain, or the uncomfortable feeling by welcoming it with open arms. Make it your friend, as ‘the suck’ is the reason that is going to make you better. You are building your mental and physical toughness, which leads to greater levels of resilience.
Create a team and environment that supports the challenge. An environment that is positive and provides you with the feedback required to deal with the positive and negative thoughts, and perceived obstacles to achieve your goal.
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE
To continually extend the boundaries of what you thought was possible, you need to understand how you overcome uncomfortable experiences in the past. Use your understandings to build your confidence. Start to notice the patterns of your thoughts and record them. Record the characteristics of your fears, such as when does it appear, where does your mind wander, how do you cope with it and how you construct your intentions to deal with it. Create an internal culture of reveling in achievement and understanding how you deal with situations.
Your mind and body are comfortable with familiarity. The more you perform in an uncomfortable state, the more confidence you will develop. It is a mindset you have to develop, so you can allow your thoughts and emotions to adapt and grow.
What rituals and behaviors can you create, so that each day you feel more comfortable with the uncomfortable? Once you have developed these actions, you need to be patient and be prepared for the long-game, as it will take some to become an automatic part of your life. Over time you will feel more confident, empowered and prepared to face the uncomfortable more often. The result of this process is a life of growth, excitement and success.
High Performers Cultivate More Powerful Traits Link Are You Seeing The Big Picture? Link Are Leaders Born? Link A Step Ahead Of The Game Link I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link
Do you know what helps you navigate the clutter, complexity and commotion on a daily basis that allows you to take a birds eye view and see the big picture?
It is a challenge when you have your head down, in the zone and focused on the task at hand to understand where you are at and even sometimes to clarify what the big picture really is. The big picture is about:
Knowing not just how and what to do, but knowing why
Viewing the whole and not just its parts
Seeing a vision, a sense of the bigger picture
Having the ability to see significance in work, beyond the obvious
Understanding that a legacy will live on, whether in the bricks and morter or in the impact made on other people
You have to know what naturally helps you to clear the mind and find the space to step outside your body and mind so you can focus on what is really important. For me, it is going for a long ride by myself or running on a trail. I find it’s my form of meditation and reality check.
Some people find travel helps them to find a clearer perspective, as 10,000 feet up provides a pretty good birds eye view of situations. Another common time is when listening to podcasts that challenge our ways of thinking, leadership strategies or are industry related.
Sometimes we find it difficult to see the big picture by ourselves. You may find it easier through conversations with a friend, colleague or even a group of like-minded people in a “circle of trust’ monthly catch-up over a coffee.
When it comes to financial analysis, you may find manually writing out your budget or financial reviews with pen and paper allows you think of the numbers in a different way than on a computer screen where formulas are producing numbers for you.
A lot of people will work continuously without breaks during a day. Research shows that our ability to perform tasks diminishes after approximately 90minutes of concerted effort and focus. It is important to take a 5-15min break every 90minutes allowing your mind a chance to recharge and your body a chance to move around rather than sitting in one place.
Going long periods of time without a break may also result in you heading down a rabbit hole of time-consuming focus on the unimportant things, without realizing you are on a path of less value.
Organising a dedicated brainstorm or review session with team members of what you are currently doing and where you can go, while ensuring that everything is aligned to the overall mission, strategies and goals is crucial. You will find it invaluable as not only does it provide a big picture check for you, but it also enables the team to develop greater cohesion in what the big picture looks like to everyone.
I have witnessed a few people using apps, such as rescue time, to monitor and track their use of time. It allows them to see how much time is spent on each daily activity and most importantly on the tasks that are making forward progress.
We are often caught up in our own assumptions, ways of thinking and complexity. Try challenge some of your assumptions to see what would happen if you removed one or more of them. Remember complexity is the enemy, so sometimes the most simple and obvious thing maybe blurred or hidden from our ability to see the big picture.
Identify whether you team have a connection to the big picture. Share the big picture regularly by providing the details first and then the context later. Ask them what they see and make sure that you connect the big picture to their work. Most importantly connect the big picture to meaning as people want to know that their working has a purpose.
Make sure that you include the activities that allow you to see clarity from a big picture point-of-view, in your daily or weekly routines. It is crucial that you are on the right road and haven’t taken the wrong left turn. To take it to the next level, it is even more valuable to ensure that you have time following your big picture activities, to find time to analyse and translate your insights into specific actions.
Life is all about choice. We may feel we are snowed under, constrained by deadlines and under the pump from either your boss or a client, but remember you are the one in control. Prioritise what is important, what you need to gain clarity and disregard the meaningless activities that halt your progress. What you do is only as good as the clarity of your big picture.
When I am out riding, I love to challenge my mind to work out what the world will be like in the future. Here are my six trend predictions that are already in their early stages or I feel will become part of the way we consume, relax, challenge our bodies, belong, use our time and play sport.
1 – LONG CONTENT WILL COME BACK IN FASHION
The world is going through a phase of short versus long content. A lot of businesses changed their approach to meet the consumer wants. However this phase is already showing signs of change back to longer content. Generation Z, also known as Millennial’s, who have been synonymously linked to having short attention spans, are showing signs that with the right environment they are happy to absorb content for long periods of time. E-Sports is a great example of this, where spectators are happy to watch a live event for hours on end. People will tend to spend more time understanding, absorbing and enjoying content.
2 – WE WILL LEARN TO SWITCH-OFF
People are already beginning to move away from the frenetic nature of digital devices, especially mobile phones, where social media apps attract our attention multiple times per day. In the future we will see a decline in digital device use, outside of work and school as people start to naturally adopt more activities that allow the brain and body to recover more effectively. The rapidly stimulating nature of flicking through posts means the brain is constantly firing, preventing recovery and effective thought-processing. It’s kind of like rope-learning for an exam, where you briefly absorb a lot of information, but it doesn’t convert to long-term memory. There is also a major global epidemic brewing where by 2030 mental health issues will be somewhat out of control as our brains are constantly switched on and aren’t getting the recovery they need.
3 – THE RETURN OF THE ENDURANCE SPORT CHALLENGE
Isn’t it uncanny that most things in life have a tendency to repeat themselves? They have a cyclical nature, which quite often is generational. Fashion is a great example where it tends to repeat itself every 25 to 30 years. In sport we are seeing the end of a cyclical trend where people focused more on adventure (Cross-Fit, Mud runs, Spartan, Neon runs, etc..) type challenges versus endurance (marathons, triathlons, cycle races) type challenges. The adventure challenges (similar events with different names) were popular in the 1980’s and returned in the late 2000’s. They seem to be more of a one off type nature compared to the endurance challenges, which act more like traditional sports where people look for continual improvement over a period of time. Cross-fit maybe an exception with its cult-type following that it has generated.
4 – I WANT TO BELONG
As the world has become increasingly complicated and people feel like they must be constantly doing something, they have lost the real sense of community. How often do you go and introduce yourself to new neighbours or hang over the fence and have a yarn with them? There is a real sense that the act of volunteering is losing its appeal and that people are happy to pay for someone else to do it. In the future people will realise their sense of belonging is not being fulfilled and will want to have a greater part to play in their community and be more associated with things they enjoy and like being a part of.
5 – PEOPLE WILL REALISE THEY AREN’T TIME POOR
How often do we hear people say that they are too busy or don’t have enough time? The average number of hours worked per week hasn’t changed, and neither has the number of hours in a day. People are either adding more things to their day or are choosing activities that take longer to complete. Digital device’s have become an addiction for some people and that tends to absorb a lot of our time and attention. People will realise that it is about the choices they make and if the prediction, that people will want to switch off more holds true then we will see a lot more people going back to the simple things in life, such as have a few laughs over dinner with their friends and reading physical books again. They will understand that they have control over the choices they make.
6 – SPORTS WILL CHANGE THEIR RULES
As the world evolves, so will the sports we play, watch and consume. Soccer will realise, like field hockey has, that taking the off-side rule out of the game and introducing unlimited interchanges will create a far more exciting, faster and more technical game.
Cricket will begin to understand that the umpires on-field have to have greater authority to control behaviours such as sledging, ball tampering and other forms of cheating. At present there are no immediate consequences or ramifications for breaking the rules during the game. The “Spirit of the Game” will be enhanced through the umpires having the ability to give a yellow card and send a player off the field for 10 minutes or a red card for the rest of the game.
Rugby League will realise that they need to take a much firmer stance on tackles near the head, like rugby has, before someone is seriously hurt or even killed on the field.
Triathlon will implement a heats, semis and finals format of a short, fast and exciting format, at the Olympics. This will result in attracting exponentially more non-triathlon followers to watch the sport, rather than a one off race. A person loves to follow their nation and connect by knowing that someone, from their country, has made it to the next stage and has a chance of winning a medal.
WHAT DO YOU PREDICT WILL BE THE NEXT TREND?
Leave a comment and let us know what you are thinking.
Nature (our DNA) and nurture (environmental influences) both need to be taken into consideration when trying to understand how a leader is formed. The way I like to look at whether leaders are Born or Made, is by looking at leadership capability through the concept of a bell-curve.
At the bottom of the curve, there are ~10% of people that will struggle, no matter how hard they try, to be a good leader. Their DNA is just not wired to lead and every amount of training is unlikely to get them to a position where they can lead effectively. On the top of the bell curve are the ~10% of people who are born to lead. They are born with an innate instinct to lead. As they grow and develop they tend to continue getting better and better.
The other ~80% of people in the middle have the potential to be good leaders, if not great leaders. They have to be prepared to work really hard on their leadership skills, especially self-awareness. This involves learning how to take a ‘birds-eye-view’ of yourself, be open to asking for feedback and developing great listening skills.
However, I do believe that the world’s most exceptional visionary leaders are highly likely to only come from the ~10% of people who are born leaders.
To try and understand some of the discussion points around whether leaders are born or made, let’s look at some of the theories and evidence that support either side of the coin or both sides.
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. They are the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.”
Ronald Reagan (Adapted)
According to the Great Man Theory, popularised in the 1840’s by Thomas Carlyle and Trait Theory, people inherit certain qualities and traits, which are aligned with leadership. People are born with different qualities that predispose them to be a leader, which is similar to someone who with the natural qualities of a gifted musician or talented athlete. They will naturally excel and thrive when confronted with the appropriate situations, whereas other people will struggle. The most exceptional leaders, don’t become overnight successes, they were leaders from the onset.
Behavioural Theories emphasise that the process of teaching, learning and observation allow people to become leaders. They believe the concept of leadership is something that can be learnt, like a skill through training, practice, perception and making observations over a period of time. But, to what level can a person achieve, from a leadership point of view, if they don’t have the natural charisma, ability to influence, natural integrity, and ability to motivate and inspire?
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”
Some people are very good leaders in certain environments, but not others. They may lead well when they know and trust a small team they are working with, whereas they struggle in a larger team of people they don’t know so well. Even exceptional leaders are only effective when they are in specific locations or environments, for example they could be in a family, societal, community, national, or global environment.
Leaders, sometimes, don’t always stand out from the crowd. They are the quiet achievers, who have an uncanny ability lead people away from the limelight and in a very subtle way. Their quiet, softly spoken and under-the-radar approach may have a profound effect on the way people behave, how they perform and decisions they make.
“Leadership is not magnetic personality – that could just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
There are bodies of research that imply that 30% of leadership is genetic and 70% is learned. Although the percentage of genetic versus learned is likely to vary quite a lot between individual leaders, but it still implies that there is a major learning component to leadership.
Many leaders, tend to have an extroversion trait. They also tend to have high levels of empathy as well as social and emotional intelligence, whereas IQ is not always an important characteristic for a leader. As I discussed earlier, introverts can also be great leaders.
“Leadership is an observable, learnable set of practices. Leadership is not something mystical and ethereal that cannot be understood by ordinary people. Given the opportunity for feedback and practice, those with the desire and persistence to lead can substantially improve their abilities to do so.”
JAMES KOUZES & BARRY POSNER
Great leaders tend to be in constant growth, as they aim to improve every day. They tend to seek new experiences and a greater understanding of themselves.
People who are adjusted, social, ambitious and curious are more likely to become leaders. Their curious nature leads them to learn through mediums such as books, informal training from coaches or mentors, interpretations of life experiences, websites, observations, listening and formal training in an academic type setting.
“The leader must be able to know what followers want, when they want it, and what prevents them from getting what they want.”
Leadership is a reflection of who you are and how you want to improve the world for the better. No matter whether leaders have come from a background of hardship and personal struggles or they have endured leadership through an abundance of resources, everyone can continue to develop their leadership skills through deliberate practice and experience.
Developing as a leader is no different to any other expert, where they grow through deliberate practice, struggle, sacrifice, hard work, and regular self-assessment.