All professionals want to have a career of significance and fulfillment. One that makes them excited to get out of bed in the morning. One that they actually want to spend an estimated 92,000 hours of their lifetime doing. Unfortunately, very few ever reach this work “nirvana” because of fear, complacency, and lack of focus. At the same time, they are working hard towards the wrong goals, such as money, power or fame.
Regardless of where you are in your professional journey, there is one sure-fire way to begin, rekindle, or continue down a path towards a career that will leave you happy and satisfied. Start thinking, obsessing, and acting to help others create a career of significance and fulfillment.
It's simple... Forget about you. Allow yourself to become consumed with helping other people. If you are able to make this leap, leaving your own selfish interest behind in the pursuit to help others achieve, you will become a leader worth following.
I’ll make this as easy as possible by giving you a formula to use. Follow this method to help change your behavior and in turn your current status as a leader:
In a recent episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast, Leadership expert and executive coach Scott Cornwell said “If I can pick one characteristic that differentiates leaders across the board, it’s their self awareness.” Having the ability to see yourself as others do is key to a leader’s success. You will begin to realize what your strengths and weaknesses are, which is a great starting point towards being proactive with your actions and intentions.
There are only two ways to observe; open your eyes and close your mouth. This allows us to fully consume our environment, and then thoughtfully begin to add value. So often leaders can forget this simple step, leaving them at a disadvantage. Get out from behind your desk, walk the halls, listen to the conversations, and engage with your team.
All behavior change requires new action. But to truly use your self- awareness and new insight from observing, acting in haste wouldn’t be in your best interest. When you are deliberate in your actions, it makes it possible for your team members to see a commitment of time and energy.
An effective leader must inspire others to do more or be more. A mentor of mine once told me something that I will never forget, “You can’t manage people, because people have a will of their own. You really have to inspire them.” Being intentional about how you inspire your team to achieve and go beyond what they think they are capable of is something you don't want to forget.
The formula may seem altruistic, and possibly counter-intuitive to someone who believes that in order to be a successful leader, you must spend all of your time and efforts on "Number One." But you can’t be a leader without people who are willing to follow you. Focus on you, by focusing on them.