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How to Create Self Help Momentum

How to Create Self Help Momentum

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    In order to get anywhere – either literally or metaphorically – we need to create and maintain a certain level of momentum. Sitting in your very-capable Porsche won’t get you anywhere unless you choose to start the engine, engage a gear (or six), steer the car and operate the pedals. In my time as a coach, trainer and teacher I’ve encountered many people who have not only been sitting in their Porsche for decades, but they’ve never even opened the garage door! Such a massive waste of talent, power and time.

    The person who doesn’t find a way to create momentum is the person who won’t realise their dreams, move forward or explore their potential. Sadly, some people will spend their lives sitting in neutral, almost doing something but never really doing anything significant. Talent, opportunities, ideas and even brilliance will amount to nothing if we fail to create and maintain momentum. Consider the person in your life (past or present) who is/was always talking about their grand plans for greatness, success and change in their world. You know; the one who is great at the theory (the talking bit) but not so good at the practical (the doing bit).

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    Here’s some momentum-creating suggestions that work… if you work.

    Procrastination is the enemy of potential, the refuge of the weak and a synonym for fear.

    1. Take that first step and keep stepping. As anyone with a basic understanding of physics will tell you, maintaining momentum is significantly easier than creating it. The first step is both the scariest and the most empowering. It’s also the most important. Procrastination is the enemy of potential, the refuge of the weak and a synonym for fear. The vast majority of people who take that long-overdue first step usually say something very predictable like “I wish I had done this years ago” or “I don’t know what I was so afraid of”. Get your potential out of neutral, engage a gear, hit the gas and don’t look back. Everything after the first step is a blessing or a lesson.

    2. Consider the cost of not changing. Imagine your life in five or ten years from now if you don’t change, if you don’t address the things you should and if you don’t pursue your dreams. Right now picture yourself being ten years older; you still haven’t made a significant decision, still haven’t taken that chance, still haven’t taken charge of your body, you’re still talking too much and doing too little, still coughing up the endless excuses, still being controlled by people and circumstances and still wasting your potential. Do you like that picture? Change is rarely about the right time and usually about the right attitude, choices and behaviours. Sometimes picturing what we don’t want is enough to get us moving in the right direction.

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    3. Gain some clarity and certainty. Get clear about what you want and don’t want for your life. Stop going through the motions and stop living that repetitive existence of habit – the one that makes you miserable and the one you really don’t want. The more certain you are about what you want, the easier it will be to stay focused, proactive and productive. If you don’t have clarity, then do your best to de-clutter your mind, step back, gain some perspective, spend more time by yourself, stop being so ‘busy’ (even for a day) and listen to that still small voice; it knows. When we make the effort to find some space, time and quiet and then genuinely listen, the clarity will come. The tricky bit can be when we find that clarity (about what we need to do) and it scares the crap out of us. When this happens, refer to point one!

    4. Get excited. Excitement creates momentum. When we’re excited we do stuff. We overcome fears. We take chances. We make tough decisions. We push the boundaries. We explore our potential. We become solution-focused. We become more resourceful. Chat with any successful person about their goals and their passion and you’ll see what I mean about excitement. If you’re not excited (on some level) about your goals, then you may need to find some different ones.

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    5. Set deadlines. Set yourself some non-negotiable deadlines and make a public (or semi-public) declaration. Not everyone’s cup of tea but works well for many. Sometimes we’ve gotta put our butt on the line to create some real momentum. Don’t be scared of pressure, discomfort or deadlines; they can make all the difference and they can be your greatest teacher. By the way, I’m not suggesting that you do this some time in the future when it suits your schedule and the planets have aligned, I’m suggesting that you do it in the next five minutes.

    Bossy I know.

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    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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    Last Updated on March 15, 2019

    How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

    How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

    When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

    Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

    In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

    What Makes a Leader Fail?

    A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

    If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

    And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

    What Is Effective Leadership?

    Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

    Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

    Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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    “… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

    How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

    To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

    1. Courage

    The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

    “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

    Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

    For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

    In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

    It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

    Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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    2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

    If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

    The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

    To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

    3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

    Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

    Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

    4. Likability

    Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

    When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

    Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

    So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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    5. Vulnerability

    Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

    When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

    6. Authenticity

    Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

    Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

    7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

    Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

    Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

    Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

    Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

    As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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    “A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

    8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

    Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

    This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

    9. A Passion for Continual Learning

    Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

    These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

    Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

    The Bottom Line

    No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

    Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

    More Resources About Effective Leadership

    Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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