How would you describe a successful career? What would you say are the ingredients for true success?
In previous blog posts we have tried to define success in a holistic sense. (See posts How Would You Define Success? part 1, part 2 and part 3).
Bearing that in mind, I found the following explanation by Henry Cloud enormously helpful. We can boil it down to just 3 ingredients:
I sincerely appreciate the time you take to read my blog. It has been just over a year since we started. I have found it an amazing experience, but I really need your help!
I would like to make my blog much more relevant to your needs and to what interests you. In order to do that I need to know more about YOU! I have created a Reader Survey and I’d be very thankful if you were to spend just five minutes to answer the questions in it.
There are only 10 questions, and the results will feed directly into how I write my posts. So my intention is that what I write will benefit you directly. The results are completely anonymous so I cannot tell who has written what. I promise you it is very short and will not take much of your time.
The 3 minute Video below is that of Saroo Brierley, an Indian born Australian who was separated from his birth mother and found her again after a separation of 25 years. It is a moving true story that also illustrates the incredible power of the mind to connect together experiences from one’s distant memory. I would encourage you to take 3 minutes out of your day to stop and watch it:
Further background information on this amazing story comes from Wikipedia:
Saroo was born in a city called Khandwa in central India. When he was young, his father left his mother, throwing the family into poverty.
OK I know its advertising and it is simplistically done, but I do love this advert story by Google.
The 3 minute video below is a touching story about the potential positive impact of technology in our lives. (If you don’t understand Hindi, there are subtitles you can follow). I would encourage you to stop and watch it – maybe even keep a hankie nearby:
For me the video raises a number of answers about how technology today can be used as a positive force to bring people together. It also shows the power of initiative to overcome what seem to be insurmountable barriers.
We are now going to look at some principles on attitude that I think can be helpful to consider. This post will cover the first principle.
1. My attitude when beginning a task is crucial to its future outcome.
As someone has once said, ‘if you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!’ A negative attitude will prevent me from even starting a new task and thus missing out on any potential benefit or reward. An Old Testament story (see Numbers 13) of this is that of the 12 spies sent into the Promised Land. All 12 saw the same things, but the attitude of 10 was very different to that of Joshua and Caleb. Those latter two could see the potential and were positive about capturing the land with God’s help. The other ten could only see themselves as small and weak, displaying a false modesty that prevented them living up to all that God had for them.
A more modern example is from the stereotypes of different nations when it comes to take on new tasks and opportunities.We can compare the examples of Americans, the British and South Asian Indians.
We have been looking at the importance of right attitude and examples from history. (See previous blog post on attitude here.)
We continue this by looking at the attitude of Winston Churchill, taking over as British Prime Minister on 10 May 1940, a full 8 months after the outbreak of World War 2 in Europe. In his first speech to the British Parliament on 13 May 1940, he had to bluntly say, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” while at the same time defiantly saying he believed in ”victory, however long and hard the road may be”.
On 4 June 1940 he had to speak again to the House of Commons, but with the harsh reality of military disaster with the fall of France and a possibly imminent invasion of Nazi Germany. The last paragraph of this famous speech ends with the following lines:
It seems to be such a small thing, but over the years I have become more and more convinced that the right attitude is an essential component of a meaningful and fulfilling life.
By attitude I mean the way we look at and perceive the world around us. Let me try to first illustrate that with a humorous example.
A man goes to the doctor, saying ‘Doctor, Doctor I am seriously ill! I am in pain all over my body. When I touch the side of my head it hurts. When I touch my neck it hurts. When I touch my shoulder it hurts. When I touch my elbow it hurts. When I touch the side of my chest it hurts. When I touch my stomach it hurts. When I touch my hips it hurts. Even when I touch my knees it hurts.’
In the last post we introduced the concept of intuition.
John Maxwell describes 3 levels of leadership intuition:
1. Those who naturally understand leadership.
You can see it in them from a very young age in the way that they are instinctively able to draw other children to them in the playground or on the sports pitch. With this natural ability they have enormous potential to become high calibre leaders.
2. Those who can be nurtured to understand leadership.
This is the case for the vast majority of us. We have some degree of people skills to get on with others. The key is how much we are willing and motivated to learn and grow. Leadership can be learned and our level of intuition increased – if we really want to. The alternative is that our leadership ability reaches a certain lid and we are unable to progress further.
The 8th law of leadership according to John Maxwell is the law of intuition. This says that leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias. By intuition we mean an ability to read circumstances or people that goes beyond what is immediately obvious. That is more of an art form than a science or technical ability. It is hard to describe or articulate, but you know it when you see it or experience it.
Not everyone is intuitive in the area of leadership, but everyone does possess intuition in their area of strength or giftedness. When we are intuitive we are able to come to accurate decisions or interpretations by seeing beyond the facts or circumstances as they are presented to us. It is more than being in the right place at the right time. There is the additional factor of having the right awareness, expressed through a feeling in the gut or maybe as a strong hunch.