Dynamic Leadership: Passion+Self-Renewal+Constructive Action

” Self-Renewal is possible if we don’t lose our capacity to learn and grow. But renewal…depends in some measure on motivation, commitment, conviction, the values men live by, the things that give meaning to their lives”. John W. Gardner, author Self-Renewal

Positive change results when we become aware of, observe and accept a new way to think and behave. We feel a new way is better when we experience more balance, peacefulness, or joy, than by continuing with our old habits and rountines. Breakout of old routines and habits and do something different. Be willing to experiment and test your boundaries.

To become a great enterpreneurial leader, you must first become a great person. You do that by studying yourself intimately, learning how you behave, and getting feedback on the effects you have on others. To be a successful leader you need to learn how to cultivate feedback. It’s similar to learning tennis, golf or music, feedback is essential, practice is essential, and so is the willingness to realize you don’t know a lot even when you’re the CEO. As we all want fulfillment, we should welcome and incorporate our expanded learning and insights–increasing our capacity for openess, reflection and self-awareness.  The key becomes the passionate pursuit of results.

When I was coach of a middle school basketball team ( something I was passionate about), one of our fundamental team principles was to focus on the basics of basketball: learn to dribble with your head up, shoot with both hands, move your feet on defense, talk to each other, and practice these techniques outside of practice. To my surprise one day after practice a player approached me and said: coach, if I am to practice at home, can you show me how to shoot? I certainly was taken aback but I immediately obliged.   Then I reflected on his request and realized where I had gone a miss was to assume everyone could shoot. What an oversight and bad assumption. The next practice I remedied the error by reviewing the fundamentals of shooting and demonstrated first hand the basic techniques to good  shooting.

What does basketball fundamentals have to do with finding a fulfilling and  clear purpose for life? Many individuals in search of meaning for life have a strong bent to never question or reflect on their assumptions and beliefs about themselves, their strengths and life. So, in the end, we limit our opportunities, choices, and, therefore, our capacity to make a difference. In my own coaching experience, I had client who wanted to become a luxury yacht salesperson and some day own a dealership, but the moment we started talking about how to pursue his dream, a very negative image about what his dad would say caused him to discard his interests and the possibilities of this type of career. He said, “My Dad says sailing is just for rich guys and they spend their life playing instead of working for a living, you would be better off becoming a lawyer. Yet all the lawyers I have talked to, including my Dad don’t seem to enjoy their work.”

Giving up your dreams and “playing it safe” or fulfilling someone’s expectations for you is an easy way out,” I replied. “It is low risk, convenient, safe, and it will please your Dad.  Most of us live our lives in a “not to lose” way in order to please others and take little risk while preserving the status quo. The boring and non-fulfilling life has become the “way it is” because most people live this way. We make up excuses and just don’t think that there is any choice. They don’t even think to dream big, let alone act on it. The blinders they’ve had on for so many years so distort their vision of independence that they believe their position in life is all there is and the only thing to do is just accept it. They’re not stifling their dreams; they don’t even realize they can dream.”

The key error in my client’s mind is that there are plenty of people who actually work in the luxury boat industry, love their work, and find it very fulfilling.  Here are five simple tips to help you avoid “playing not to lose” and how to develop or reset your life by “playing to win” so as find  and live a life that you are truly passionate about:

1. Vision and Dream Setting:– Reflect on times when you have “Played to Win”. When you give 110% and embraced the possibility of greatness.

Think back over life to times when you’ve felt yourself unquestionably going for greatness, following your passions and succeeding beyond expectations.  What did that feel like? What did you think? What did you do? What happened because of your actions? How can you recreate that experience in your life now?

2. Live Each Day Without Limitations

Each and every day make sure you update your mental maps and do something to challenge the hum-drum of the status quo.  Make learning and  “self-development” and your strengths and passions a priority. Do one new thing each day. Have new experiences, open your mind to new connections and ideas and begin to do things that ignite your passion for life.

3. Reinforce Strengths by elminating “Energy Drainers”

Having negative energies in our lives can easily bring us down and encourage further feelings of depression. We have all encountered “energy drainers” at home,  social and, worst of all, workplace interactions that are filled with emotionally damaging interactions that impact our zest for life. We feel stuck, upset and impotent to handle these recurring situations.  Take notice of these interactions –what was the situation, who was involved, and how did you handle the situation. Reflect and ask yourself how you good of done different things to change the interaction from a negative experience to a more positive one. Try to find positive solutions in order to change your negative reactions. Take time to stop repeating old patterns of interaction and replace them with positive energy resources.  Talk to uplifting people, read inspiring poems and on a daily basis reflect on quotes to eliminate stress and renew positive thoughts and energy. Plant a garden, ride your bike take a hike, play some tennis, or anything you enjoy which renews positive energy. Be clear on your moment objectives, accept your feelings and do what you need to do to restore balance and positive energy in your life. Remember to do something great takes more than desire and dreaming. It takes positive and concrete action.

4. Develop and create a strong sense of worth and love for who you are.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your needs and wants? What are your likes and dislikes? How in touch are you with your emotions  and feelings? Do you let your emotions overwhelm you or do you accept them and move on? Can you enjoy life in the “here and now” moment or are you always looking backwards or toward the future? What is your opinion on politics, religion, or life philosophy? Do you simply pick up the opinion of talk radio or cable and go with the crowd? Or do you truly know what you value and are willing to fight for? Do you make time to reflect and listen to feedback of your impact on others?  Do you self-disclose to others who you really are? Do you explore your need to update your mental maps and point of views? Answering these questions honestly will give you a good sense of what you want  in life and will increase your opportunities for living a good quality of life.

5. Create an “Learning and Happiness Journal”– Take Notice Each Day Of What You Love to do and don’t like to do

Take some time each day to tune into your inner voice. Listen to what resonates with you and what you truly enjoy. What excites you most about your potential dream job or the job you already have? Make it a morning or evening ritual to take 15 minutes to have some personal quiet time and really take stock of what turns your inner light on.

By learning and applying these techniques on a regular basis your awareness of when you’re “playing to lose” will greatly increase, empowering you to refocus on “ playing to win” doing the best you can with what you have. Greatness and renewal do not just magically appear. You need to accept yourself and do what you have to do to bring greatness into your life. Remember, you will become as dull as your unfulfilled dreams and only as great as your willingness to live your dreams. Renewing your dreams and desires is just the starting place. Get out of your head and get started on the new life you want to create.

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Passion-talk about own needs, family, community–emotions are the drivers for bringing out passion. Give time to someone without payback. Passion for a better kind of world. Driving motivation connecting people together and building a better world. Does it really matter? 



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