Are you wearing your cape today, flying high, with nothing stopping you?
What can you do, today, to fortify yourself? In our leadership roles, we all want to be strong, able, effective—but these qualities don’t magically come to life when you get dressed for the day. I don’t actually know anyone who has a cape to count on, do you?
If you thought about it, you could recall times when you felt your strongest (I am not using “powerful” because I don’t want to imply “forceful.”) What was going on around you and inside you? If you are not at that peak right now, think about what must have changed—either you started doing something differently, or you stopped doing something that was working well.
In addition to analyzing what actions or attitudes changed, here are three things to focus on that are guaranteed strength-builders. (Because weak leadership is no leadership at all.)
- Eliminate tolerations. Things you’ve been putting up with, big or small, drain your energy. Make a list and then pick two or more easy ones to knock out. Completely handle each, no temporary band-aids. It could take months to eliminate each item, and that’s okay, just keep at it.
- Feed and grow your mind. As well as reading the ideas and stories written by others, exercise your mind by undertaking meaningful writing. It could be a poem, a gratitude list, an introduction to a book, or a long letter of appreciation to someone who has impacted your life. Also, Mark Twain said that travel is key to expanding your mind. Charles Darwin wrote that reading poetry and listening to music prevent atrophy of the mind.
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” –President Harry Truman
- Put integrity first. In Robert Carroll’s excellent book, Building Your Leadership Legacy: It’s All about Character, it’s clear that a weakened character (i.e., fissures in integrity) destroys leaders, sooner or later.
You want to be the kind of leader who approaches the highest obstacle with confidence in their jump. If you seek to be the best and strongest leader you can be, make time right now to plan for that. If you don’t have time to make the tolerations list right now, schedule a time on your calendar to do it. Make an appointment with yourself to read and write for a two-hour block of time. Take care of fulfilling a commitment or promise you’ve neglected. Engage with all three of these strength-builders and watch your influence expand and your results multiply.