How many of you have difficulty sleeping because as you lie in bed, it seems that every single thought of what needs to be done tomorrow enters your brain, and you become fixated on it? For most of us, including myself, it has become a routine – and it needs to be broken.
We work all day, spending more time at the office than with our family in most cases. Once home, we convince ourselves that we have balance in our lives by spending time with our families and friends, but the reality is that as long as we have our mobile phone with us, we can never be truly focused enough on one thing to make an impact. The phone is our “Swiss Army Knife”; it can do anything at any time to get us out of a bind.
If you think you have a lot on your mind, though, imagine how much was weighing on the shoulders of one of the eight Founding Fathers who helped draft the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, Benjamin Franklin. Instead of dwelling on what he didn’t do, he had a ritual of concluding each evening with a simple question . . .
I believe there is one type of leadership that encompasses the qualities and traits that serve as the foundation of any effective and efficient leader. Remember, to lead is to influence, create impact, and serve others. It’s not necessarily a singular focus on profitability while ignoring the efforts of those on the front line. I am not a Pollyanna — profitability is vital to the very existence of any business — but have we lost touch with what this generation of aspiring leaders need most?
The only way to meet that need and be successful in their growth comes from one leadership style.
Wait!? Is it really that simple? For close to 250 years, this has been an option to people, but instead, we consciously choose to focus on the projects we didn’t complete, the phone calls we didn’t return, the meetings that had no closure, or the misinterpreted comments we can’t let go of from a co-worker. People have become millionaires selling us journals, project agendas, and success manuals on how to structure our days efficiently and effectively, when all this time, we should have been listening to good old Ben!
The perfect day is going to bed with a dream, and waking up with a purpose!
You need to have the mindset that every day is an opportunity to start over, start strong, and start fresh. Each morning the sun rises, and you are blessed to live another day. You can make a positive impact through influence, innovation, and breakthroughs. But it takes a routine of seeing your path clearly, and that includes recognizing the good with the bad.
Personally, I have a gratitude list. Some nights it’s on paper, other nights I write notes on my phone, or if I am in bed, I may have to chicken scratch on random note paper. My goal is to identify five things that I am most grateful for that day. The trick is, they can’t be obvious ones, like a roof over my head, the health of my family, or the opportunity to provide. They also can’t be the same every day. I force myself to think much deeper and identify not only the gratitude that others have given to me but things that I have consciously done to influence the lives of others.
I was taught early on that gratitude is outward. In other words, don’t look for things to come your way to be grateful. Instead, be proactive, and work toward making an impact on others for positive change. What people don’t understand is it’s so simple to be kind . . . holding a door for someone, looking a person in the eyes when they speak to you and listening to them instead of just hearing them. Or using phrases like, “please”, “thank you”, “yes sir”, “no ma’am”, acknowledging the success of others before yourself, bringing positive energy into a room, writing a note to somebody who may be having a rough patch in life, or picking up the phone and surprising a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while with a call.
It is not happiness that brings us gratitude. It is gratitude that brings us happiness.
If you are looking for a simple, straightforward routine that will make you much more productive and happy the following day, this is an easy routine to get you started. The secret? Let your own voice be louder than the one in your head and take inventory of what positive impact you made that day. It doesn’t matter if it affected one or many; the little things add up to make extraordinary changes in our lives.
Go do great things today and make a difference.
VENTURE + LEAD + PROSPER
Humbled to lead,
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