“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” — John C. Maxwell
Many years ago, I attended a funeral of a long-time friend. Wynon was a character in every sense and attracted great things and great people to her. She was always encouraging, always had a smile, and was always willing to offer a helping hand.
Nobody ever really knew Wynon’s age. We all knew her birthday; however, her birth year was a closely guarded secret. According to Wynon, age was just a number and hers was unlisted.
Her grandchildren and great grandchildren told the story at her funeral that when they were growing up and would spend Friday night with her, she would wake them up at 6:00 AM on Saturday morning admonishing them to “Get up! Get busy! It’s later than it’s ever been before!”
Think about that! All we really have is right now and regardless of the time, it is later than it has ever been before. The clock is ticking. This was simply Wynon’s way of teaching her family that life is short, meant to be enjoyed, lived fully, abundantly, joyfully, all the while making a difference in the lives of others, especially her family. Wynon was a great mentor and an example of how to live with vigor and intention. I have had many mentors over the years. Here are seven of the most powerful daily success practices I learned from them.
Be grateful. Be grateful at all times, in all places, for all things. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes it’s hard to be grateful. This is a real challenge for most people because most people live with a victim mentality.
When things are really tough financially or at work, or you’re going through an unpleasant situation or unpleasant emotions, cultivate and keep a sense of gratitude about you at all times. Be in a continual state of gratefulness for the tough stuff and even for great things that have not yet come to you. I’ve learned through the daily practice of gratitude, I bounce back faster. Gratitude will build your resilience.
Givers gain. There is a big difference between being selfish and selfless. Taking care of yourself first physically, emotionally, spiritually, and yes, even financially, is not selfish. Building a solid foundation in each of these areas allows you to selflessly give of your time, talent, and treasure to others. We are taught that it is more blessed to give than to receive and that is true. It is in our giving that we are blessed with receiving abundantly.
Ask high quality questions. The vast majority of people go through life looking for answers to questions they have not even asked or don’t know how to ask. The quality of our lives is determined by the quality of questions we ask. Solving our problems and challenges cannot be done on the same level of thinking that caused them. It is only through asking empowering questions like “What would I love?” that any of us progress to success. Questions are your primary means to unleashing your creative potential.
Be a courageous non-conformist. Statistics are for groups. You are not a group. Statistically average people have a highly vested interest in keeping you average. These people are acting like everyone else without a clue as to why.
Have the courage to be a non-conformist and break away from the common herd. Forge your own path. Be the man or woman you want to be. Choose to do great things; it is the hallmark of a great being. Success in anything takes courage, even in one’s thinking.
Think your own thoughts. Everybody has thoughts; however, not everybody thinks. Real thinking is the most difficult labor anybody will ever do which is why so few people actually do it. Thinking what makes common sense, what is reasonable, what is practical and prudent, will help keep you safe and perhaps alive; however, you will not truly live until you think your own thoughts of abundance and greatness. The penalties for failing to take control of your own thinking are deadly. The riches you may enjoy for taking control of your own thinking start with vibrant aliveness and abundant prosperity.
Invest in yourself. Most people only look to grow themselves if it is easy, convenient, and free or paid for by someone else. It is never easy, convenient, and free.
Success in your life definitely takes two types of investments. The first requires continuous learning to expand your skillset in whatever you do. You must constantly be focused on getting better. It is a prerequisite to success and your expanded skillsets can take you further.
The second investment is mindset transformation. This is even more difficult than expanding your skillset because you and I are surrounded by calls to conform to what is normal for everybody else. Intentionally growing through study and evaluating your experiences through action will take you far.
Both of these investments require your own time and money. Nobody else but you can charge you with becoming a better leader by learning to think like one.
I have a client who engaged me to help him change his business model and expand his retail truck parts business. Once we got into it, the issue became very apparent that everything was ready to go save for the mindset around execution of the plan. My client’s belief that he did not have the time to execute the growth plan was all that held him and his company back.
By investing in himself and hiring me as his coach, he was able to finally achieve the success he desired. I coached my client to develop an awareness of his mindset around what he was doing on a daily basis and to master his calendar. Subsequently, he had more days with accomplishments that moved him toward his business goal rather than just doing the same routine activities throughout the day.
Ask for feedback. Finding somebody to provide feedback honestly and compassionately is highly difficult and rare because most people, even those in leadership positions, seldom know how to give feedback. Oftentimes they have their own hidden agenda and bias behind it, or worse, they will tell you what you want to hear and not tell you what you need to hear. Finding people inside a real and true system of support who love you are willing to point out your blind spots, and will show you areas to work on in a manner that helps keep you on the green growing edge of becoming the person you want to be is the only way for feedback to work.
As the former Chief Operating Officer of a bank with nine bank mergers and acquisitions and countless new branch openings under my belt, the value of feedback to me and amongst my team during and after each objective contributed significantly to the overall success of the company. By bringing people into an environment of trust where they could be open and vulnerable with each other, we were able constantly improve our processes for the next objective. We got better each time. This is because we focused on becoming very good at providing truthful feedback to each other that at times might be unpleasant. Our trust in each other and the process helped us move through the unpleasant feelings to find value. Eventually, we came to look forward to the feedback in the interest of growing not just our company, but our team and ourselves.
To wrap this up, I will now add an eighth powerful daily success practice: Do it now! Just like Wynon exhorted her grandchildren – Get up! Get Busy! It’s later than it’s ever been before! Waiting for the time to be right will keep you waiting your entire life.
Being stuck because of conditions and circumstances is the greatest lie we can tell ourselves. There is always something you can do with what you have, wherever you may be, and you always have way more than you think you have. Greatness and success in business and in life are not functions of time. Rather, they are functions of priorities and understanding that activity and accomplishment can be two different things.
If you are ready to go your own way, to forge your own path, and to live a life where your business or vocation, health and well-being, love and relationships, and what you do with your time and money are by your design and not somebody else’s, the time to act is now. It’s later than it has ever been before.
Your first step. Book a short strategy session with me, during which we’ll explore your goals and dreams, see what thinking is keeping you blocked and work to turning those dreams into reality.
To get started, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you are still not sure, visit my website at www.davidnorrisleadership.com and be sure to download my chapter from my book.
About the author:
David Norris is a leadership development and personal growth coach for entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and men and women who seek to up-level themselves, their businesses, their lives, and the lives of the people around them. David has dedicated his life to empowering and teaching people to be better leaders and better human beings. David is co-author of the international best-selling book The Change 7- Insights Into Self-Empowerment, and he can be contacted by email at email@example.com, or through his website at www.davidnorrisleadership.com.