Everyone who’s ever blogged about leadership – who is worth their salt – has a post on steps to success. Here is mine. And, by the way, mine has been proven.
Take the poorest kid you can find. You know, the one whose mother died when he was young; the one who has a rocky relationship with his father. Now, let’s give him some admirable qualities: people like him, he’s strong, and he’s smart. Just to be fair though, let’s balance it out. He’s not all that handsome, he’s physically lazy, and he’s kind of shy (especially around females).
This could go one of two ways. One, he can make the best of those admirable qualities. Or, two, he can ruminate on his disadvantages for the rest of his days. If he opts to make the best of it, though, here’s what he’ll still have to do in order to succeed:
Step 1: He has to have inspiration. This must come from the inside; nothing we can do here to help him. Inspiration is very personal and it’s often very lofty. Our subject’s inspiration is that when he is dead, people will have remembered him for something he’s done. Legacy is what our particular subject is after – a form of immortality.
Step 2: He needs motivation. This comes from the world around him. For example, he feels the urge to change something, to serve others, to protect those who don’t have protection, or to improve lives. This creates a partnership with the outside world. If he helps it, then it will help him.
Step 3: He makes the decision to work. And in that work, he finds passion. Fighting the laziness and whatever emotional, mental, and physical demons inside of him, he makes the conscious decision to persist, to forge ahead, to work toward whatever is motivating and inspiring him. Along the way, he must learn and take his lessons to heart.
Step 4: He must be alert for opportunity and be ready to capitalize. Opportunity comes from those points in time when the stars align, the heavens open up, and the sun shines down; when actions combine with the right set of circumstances. For lions, this is when then the baby zebra gets separated from the herd. For salesmen and job seekers, this is when someone just got fired. For our subject, this is when everything you stand for has suddenly become important to people.
Step 5: He becomes and remains a leader. He communicates a clear vision to his followers and never lets them down through untruthful actions, or a lack of resolve or bravery. He uses all of the tools he gathered along the way in combination with his admirable qualities to achieve the goals he has set.
Our subject, of course, is Abraham Lincoln. Whether your success will be saving the free world or selling quality widgets to the fine people of southern New Mexico, can you take these five steps? Let’s see if you can answer the following questions:
1. My inspiration is…
2. My motivation is…
3. Have I made the decision to work toward my inspiration and motivation? Is this my passion?
4. Has my moment come? If not, am I on the lookout for it?
5. When my moment comes, will I be ready to lead? Do I have a clear vision? Do I have integrity? Am I persistent? Am I brave? Will I use all the tools that I have been given or gathered along the way?
What do you think?