All of us would like to be a “champion” at something. We would like to be considered one of the best in our job or field. We have a hobby or a side hustle where we’d love to be the “pro.” So what separates champions from the rest of the pack? What separates great leaders from merely good leaders?
My favorite sport is basketball. In high school, I was a slightly above average player. At the time I felt like I worked hard to perfect my basketball skills. However, my viewpoint completely changed when I got to college. I thought my work ethic was above average until I saw how collegiate athletes practiced (at least the great ones). It’s not that they performed different drills or activities than I did. It’s the way they performed those drills and the constant repetition that made them stand out.
Champions don’t do different things; they do things differently.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at the disciplines of a champion and how to develop these disciplines in your life.
Discipline #1: The Motivation of a Champion
Champions are highly motivated. Many times we say they have a “high drive.” When others tire out and give up, just like the Energizer Bunny, they keep going. One of the reasons for this is that they know their win. They know what success looks like.
How about you? Do you know if you are winning both in your personal and professional life? Do you know even what it looks like to win? (If you don’t, I recently wrote about how to discover your personal vision or “win.” You can read that here.)
The reason discovering our “win” is so important is because it
Shows us the destination or scoreboard for our life, and
Provides the fuel we need to get there.
The fuel of champions is inspiration. And inspiration precedes perspiration. We must regularly inspire (or re-inspire) ourselves before doing the work to accomplish our goal.
For me, my inspiration is helping leaders become the best version of themselves so that they can help others do the same. That’s what motivates me — especially on the days when I’m tired or stressed.
So what’s your inspiration?
What activities or conversations energize you?
If money were no object, what would you do with your life?
Answering these questions will help you start to discover your “win” and motivation. Take some time to journal out your thoughts and talk it over with someone close to you.
Why do so many organizations struggle to hire quality managers?That’s a big question. But let me offer two reasons. There are two myths that we still buy into when it comes to leaders. Check out this video to find out what they are.
If you are an experienced or seasoned leader, what other skills do you need to develop so that you don’t rely only on that experience?
If you are a young or inexperienced leader, how can you gain experience quickly and accelerate the learning curve?
A leader also needs to have vision for their organization, department, and/or team.
Where many leadership books fail is when they don’t take the next step to tell you how to cast vision. It’s not enough to merely know your vision. You must be able to communicate both your personal vision and organizational vision. A vision not shared becomes a powerless dream.
So how do we communicate our vision in such a way that inspires the people around us?
Author and leadership guru, Andy Stanley, outlines two key steps to casting vision effectively.
The first step a leader must take after discovering her vision is to embrace it personally. What does this mean? It means that she embodies the vision and starts putting it into practice. She lives it out.
Many leaders make the mistake of communicating a vision that doesn’t match up with their lifestyle. There can be no duplicity between the vision and the leader’s personal life. They must be unified. If there is a difference, that’s called hypocrisy.
If your vision isn’t resonating with your team, the first question you must ask is “Is my life a living representation and ambassador of this vision?”
After embracing our vision personally, the next step is that we must proclaim it publicly. We have now earned the right to share our vision because our words will match our actions.
When it comes to communicating our vision publicly, there are three stages of communication.
Individual Buy-in: If we are casting a new vision that could face some opposition, we must begin by getting individual buy-in through private conversations. You can do this in 1:1 or small group meetings. This is your opportunity to share your vision and answer any questions people may have. It also gives you an opportunity to practice sharing your vision so that you can articulate it as clearly as possible.
Inspire First: After getting individual buy in, it’s time to share corporately. The mistake many leaders make is that they bury the lead. They focus most of their speech on the “how.” How are we going to accomplish this vision? Don’t get caught in the weeds. Your primary goal is to inspire your team. You need to explain the “why” of your vision. Why is this vision important? What impact will accomplishing this vision have on the company or team? People don’t care what you do until they know why you do it. As the title of Simon Sinek’s best selling book says, “Start with Why.”
Repeat and Reward: Another mistake leaders make when proclaiming their vision publicly is that they communicate it once and then stop. The problem with this is that vision leaks. People get busy and forget. The day to day responsibilities of their job choke out vision. In order to make your vision stick, you must repeat it. There are two ways to do this:
Share the vision regularly. This should be done weekly. The famous Ritz Carlton has gold standards of customer service. Each employee gets a small card with the standards printed on it and they are required to carry the card with them at all times. At the beginning of each department’s shift, they regularly go over the gold standards.
Reward people whose behavior emulates the vision. Remember – “what gets rewarded gets repeated.” Reward those team members publicly and not only will they continue to put the vision into practice but it will spread to the rest of the team.
Think about the last time you had to cast vision. Maybe you were sharing a new initiative that your department or team was focusing on. Or maybe you were simply communicating your family values to your kids.
How did this vision casting session turn out? What could’ve been done differently?
This vision is basically your personal definition of success.
The reason discovering your personal vision is so important is because:
It gives you direction. It shows you the destination for your personal life. And it also serves as a scoreboard. It shows us whether we are winning or losing in our personal life.
It gives you the blueprint on how to live a fulfilled life. If you are not experiencing fulfillment, there is a good chance that you are not consistently living out this vision.
Once we have taken time to discover our personal vision, the next step is that we have to give it feet. Put another way, we have to make it practical and create steps that lead us to our destination.
What is your “Rule of 5”? What 5 activities will have the most significant impact on helping you accomplish and live out your personal vision? Write them out — then, share them on social media with us (tag @shawnwelchco so we can see!)
The question I usually get after talking about personal vision is “Why? Why is it important to discover your personal vision?”
I’m going to answer this question with two more questions:
Do you feel fulfilled in your life right now?
Are people inspired by you consistently?
If you are like me, the answer to that question is not a simple “yes” or “no” answer. It’s more complex. There are some areas where I feel fulfilled and other areas where I don’t. At times I think I inspire or motivate others but there are also moments where I fall short.
So this is the reason it’s important. Your personal vision gives you insight into why: why you don’t consistently feel fulfilled and why you don’t consistently inspire others.
Before I explain more, let me share my personal vision statement:
To equip leaders to become the best versions of themselves.
My purpose in this world is to help people maximize their potential. To help provide them with the tools and resources they need to accomplish their personal and professional goals.
Let’s get back to those questions.
Question #1: Do I feel fulfilled in life right now?
Simon Sinek remarks, “Happiness comes from what we do. Fulfillment comes from why we do it.” Your “why” is your personal vision. When you understand your personal vision, you now have the goal or destination of your life. The next step is to create avenues in both your personal and professional life to live out your personal vision.
I have found this to be true in my own life. The seasons of life where I am helping others maximize their potential are the seasons where I feel the most fulfilled. And the moments where I don’t feel fulfilled are the ones where the busyness of life gets in the way and I don’t prioritize my personal vision.
The more opportunities you have to live out your personal vision the more fulfilled you will be.
Question #2: Do I inspire others consistently?
The reason we struggle to inspire or motivate others is because we are not inspired. You have to inspire yourself before you can inspire others.
Your personal vision serves as the fuel for inspiration.
Your goal each day is to live out your personal vision by competing against yourself (not others). Work to become the best version of yourself (not someone else) with the resources that you have been given.
When you compete against yourself, it gives you the platform to take the next step which is inspiring others.
How do you inspire others? You share your personal vision with them and invite them to join you on the journey. This is basically Leadership 101. You inspire and influence others so that they can become the best version of themselves. As Simon Sinek says, “The goal is not simply for you to cross the finish line, but to see how many people you can inspire to run with you.”
How can you live out your personal vision? What are some avenues or areas in your life that will help you accomplish your personal vision?
Who do you need to invite to join you on the journey? Who can you invest in and help them become the best version of themselves?