So easy to dismiss the success of The Great Ones in business, sports, science or the arts as “lucky”. But success doesn’t just show up. It’s always earned. High achievement isn’t the result of “destiny” but desire – and acute determination.
From Branson to Bono and from Mandela to Michael Dell, dive deep into the stories of the best of the best and you’ll see they’re are all thinking the same thoughts and doing strikingly similar things (all of which I write about in my new book The Leader Who Had No Title.
Don’t buy into the following 5 Lies of Lucky:
1. Successful people don’t work hard – they just happen to be at the right place at the right time. Sure, timing makes a difference (just ask Jobs or Brin). But business superstars not only out-think their competition – they outwork them. Few things are as mission-critical to leadership and winning as blood, sweat and tears.
2. Successful people had a smoother path and more lucky breaks. Nope. The people who have achieved the most are generally those who have failed the most. Success is a numbers game and those who have reached the mountaintop were those who simply refused to lose (and turned every stumbling block into a stepping stone). FedEx’s first day in business saw only about 15 packages moved. But rather than shutting down, they regrouped and reinvented.
3. Successful people are born motivated. Motivation is a learned sport. To play at peak and light a fire in your belly takes daily devotion. The best among us are up while the world around them sleeps, listening to inspirational cds, reading heroic biographies, planning their days/weeks/months/lives and basically preparing themselves to deliver their leadership best. We all need to refill the well of passion and inspiration every morning.
4. Successful people are “one person shows”. Behind GE’s Jack Welch lived a superb group of followers. Alongside Jeff Bezos walks a remarkable band of believers. Can’t do the dream without the right team. If you are really serious about getting to wow on each of your business and personal goals, make sure you have the right people and resources to help you get there. To paraphrase John Donne: “no person is an island”.
5. Successful people are geniuses. According to the latest research, genius isn’t a natural trait – it’s a learned skill. The “genius research” has found that every so-called “genius” invested the equivalent of 10 years singularly focused on their chosen sport/business/craft. As I’ve written in The Leader Who Had No Title: “Mediocrity occurs when we focus on many things. Mastery arrives when we focus on only a few.” Commit to being brilliant at just a few passions in your life and cut out all the rest. And then practice on these obsessions daily. In time, you too will be recognized as a master. And that’s my great wish for you.
Keep Leading Without A Title.
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