Jim Rohn once said, “What’s easy to do, is easy not to do.” This simple statement is very powerful when it comes to personal success. The bottom line is that if you want your life to get better, you have to get better. It is the little things that make a person truly live at a level of greatness. So what are these “little things” that lead people to greatness? They are the choices a person makes every single day. If someone wants to be successful in their life year after year they have to be able to have one successful year repeated over time. That one successful year consists of 12 successful months. The 12 successful months consist of four successful weeks. Those four successful weeks contain seven successful days. Each successful day begins with making a series of choices. Character is what will determine if a person is successful day after day, month after month and year after year.
Character isn't something that you were born with, it is something that you have to develop and grow every single day. You build character by developing qualities that come out of how you respond to your wins and your losses, your tasks and your relationships, your choices and in being the best version of yourself. In order to find your greatness, you have to develop your character. Here are five key steps to building a strong internal foundation that will lead to huge external results.
1. Identify your guideposts: If you want to learn about someone observe him in his day-to-day interactions. A person who has well defined values is a person who will effectively lead himself on a daily basis. Values are the guideposts that shape a person's behaviors. When you are able to define the values that drive your behaviors you are not only able to make easy decisions but you are more confident in your relationships. If you are a person who values honesty you will not compromise when you are faced with a situation where you have to acknowledge a fault or a failure. You don't have to justify or make excuses. Because you are clear that this value is one that you want to live by, you will be able to exercise the power of honesty every single day. Your adherence to what you believe to be right and true is the real measure of the person you have become to this moment.
2. Practice self-awareness: The most important part of leading yourself is to be aware of your thoughts and actions on a consistent basis. When working with everyday leaders I often carefully observe their behaviors. When I question them about why they said what they did or why they decided to act a certain way they often look at me as if I am fabricating a story. Because they are not aware of what they are thinking, saying, and doing, they are losing the ability to influence and impact their leadership and their effectiveness. Once individuals are able to identify their guideposts (values), they are ready to practice throughout the day. They can now be aware and choose how to respond in any given situation. Without the ability to be self-aware, it will be very difficult to grow and develop into the person they want to be.
3. Prioritize: One of my top priorities when working with leaders is to ensure that they develop into a whole leader. If a leader is not in balance their effectiveness will be limited. Success isn't being excellent in one area and completely deficient in another. Success is being able to effectively lead all areas of your life. This cannot be done unless you are willing to prioritize. For example, when I'm coaching leaders I will often ask how they are generally doing to get a sense of how they are feeling and to find out where their mindset is at. I will consistently hear that the leader is either doing well in their work life and not well at home or vice versa. In other words, because they are lacking in their priorities they are unhappy and unfulfilled even though they are experiencing some success.
If your family is of high value to you then you need to get very clear on what that looks like. If your faith is the most important aspect in your life then define what that means. Without getting clear on your priorities it will be very easy to focus on your immediate needs at that moment. Often that means work demands and the agendas of other people that tend to show up in your inbox. When you are clear on what your priorities look like you will be able to make good decisions and be in alignment with what it is you really want.
4. Align your Values and Your Goals: I truly believe that life is the challenge to be something more than mediocre. In order to rise above mediocrity and grow and contribute there has to be congruency between your values and your goals. Your values drive your behaviors and are your internal guideposts. Your goals are your external motivation that drives your ability to conquer and achieve. When these two areas are in perfect alignment you will be able to lead and live at a world-class level. Your self-esteem and self-confidence will soar expanding your ability to take risks and make the decisions necessary to move you forward. Without gaining the clarity between your values and your goals you will find yourself frustrated, anxious and stressed.
5. Take action: Living at a level of greatness by developing your character will be futile if you do not take action. Taking action begins with getting clear on what it is you want to accomplish within the year, broken down to each month, each week and each day. Being able to move from steps 1 to 4 is the difference between good and great.
By creating a clear description of your guideposts and what they mean to you and resolving to live with clarity you will be able to align your values and goals that are most important to you. This is the key to greatness.
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