Learning from failure is part of life. Life is a journey formed by our experiences. On our life’s journey, we face obstacles, and we get knocked down. Along the way, through each lesson, we learn. The learning, the culmination of our experiences, is the foundation for future success.
When we are struggling, when things get tough, stop for a moment to reflect on the lessons. Too often, the path to success is clouded by our focus on where we are – not how we got here. Rock bottom is solid ground on which to build a better tomorrow.
We live in a fast-paced, instant-gratification society. We want everything to be easy, to be accessible, and to be now. There are times we get so caught up in the immediate, that we procrastinate with the possible. We grab the Big Mac rather than enjoying a full meal with friends and family.
Opportunities won’t wait for you to notice them; they won’t be there forever. Those with the gumption to seize the moment, with the required work ethic, will snap them up. Don’t wait for the opportunities presented to you – be mindful and act with purpose to make the most of each day.
We all have worked with people who live for “the title.” These folks believe that the title of “boss” will earn respect and admiration. And yes, in some situations there is the authority of a position. Authority isn’t leadership. Power isn’t leadership.
Leadership is the ability to listen, to bring diverse people together, and to achieve a common, shared vision. Influential leaders don’t wield authority as a weapon; strong leaders act with humility and purpose. When leaders build trust first, have clarity of vision, and work to serve others, the results are natural. Leadership isn’t in the title – it’s in the work.
It’s easy to lead when things are going smoothly. When the wind is at your back, sailing is smooth. Authentic leadership is required when things aren’t going well. Real leadership is needed with the wind in your face.
Leadership requires courage. Leaders must have the courage to move intentionally when time permits, and to act with expediency when time is a factor. Leaders must listen, synthesize information, and build consensus. Most of all, courageous leaders uphold the values of the organization – even when it is tough. There are no shortcuts to bold leadership – it demands that we do the work.
I recently finished reading The 5 AM Club – Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life, by Robin Sharma. For me, this was an exercise in affirmation. I have been a loyal member of the 5 AM Club since the mid-1990s. While a teacher, early morning gave me time to workout before practice or going to graduate school. As an administrator, especially now as a superintendent, the early morning hours are the only time in my day that is predictable (except on snowy Ohio mornings).
Getting up before the crack of dawn is physical, cerebral, and spiritual for me. I set the tone for my body, mind, and heart with my action. My self-talk during my morning run, swim, or exercise routine prepares me for the predictable events of the day. I rehearse conversations in my mind; I consider scenarios and review presentations. I pray for strength and wisdom; I start the day with an optimistic peace of mind.
Are you in the 5 AM Club? Do you intentionally set aside time – uninterrupted time – for your body, mind, and heart? If not, what’s stopping you from joining The Club? All are welcome!
Every morning you have two choices: Continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them. – Carmelo Anthony
Are you prepared for success today? Are you living your mission through your actions?
We achieve results in our lives when we are prepared for success. We reach our goals when we prepare and do the work. Our dreams become a reality when we chase them . . . when we put forth the time and effort to make them come true.
Dreams don’t come true with pixie dust and magic. Dreams come true when we do the work and make them a reality.
What are you going to do today?
The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms. – Socrates
The alignment of mission, alignment of culture, begins with a shared understanding of where we are going. We all use terms and discuss relevant topics with colleagues and constituents. Everyone must understand the terms we are using in conversations.
The wise leader takes the time to ensure everyone is working with the same definitions, with the same understanding of each goal. Make sure your team is on the same page; make sure your community has clarity on desired results.