Recently Geoff and I had the opportunity to travel to Big Sky, Montana to teach principles of effective school governance and leadership at the annual TeamCFA Conference. During a hike to the top of Lone Mountain (elevation just under 12,000 ft), I saw a sign that read “caution” uphill traffic.
It made me think of what John Maxwell shares during every talk, “Everything worthwhile is uphill and you cannot get to the top of the hill with downhill habits.” Since your thoughts drive your actions, the true traffic to get uphill is caused by having negative thoughts.
Here are some examples of the uphill traffic you need to navigate through:
Naysayers: Some of these naysayers will be the closest to you; especially your loved ones. Even after three years as an independent business owner my grandmother still begs me to go back to that nice safe government job I used to have. The human brain is trained to keep you safe, just like family. I have learned that if the masses are trying to influence you to stay away, especially if they are “play it safe people,” you are on the right track!
Self-Doubt: Zig Ziglar said, “The most powerful voice you will hear all day is your own, so be careful what you say to yourself.” Negative thoughts about whether we are good enough to succeed often leads to us talking ourselves out of starting anything.
Fear of failure: If you take the counsel of your fears it may paralyze you from taking action and 99% of the time, the fear is more paralyzing than the consequences from the actions.
Poor Planning: A goal without a wish is just a dream. To succeed you must put your thoughts into action through definite purpose and plan.
Procrastination: Procrastination is the number one cause of failure. Dr. Martin Luther King taught us, “You don’t need to see the entire set of stairs to get to the next floor, just the next step.”
Self-leadership: If you cannot lead yourself you cannot lead anyone. You will lose credibility and have little followers if you are not disciplined in your daily actions yourself.
Attitude: John Maxwell taught me your attitude determines your altitude. Your attitude determines what we think and what we do which ultimately determines our success in life.
Ego: Your ego is the enemy. If you do not put judgement and faulty assumptions aside, you will go fast, but not very far as a leader.
Perfection: Nothing will ever be perfect but if you have high expectations throughout, you will be close. However, you cannot allow your need for perfection stop you from moving forward. Jump and build your wings on the way down.
No Priorities: Covey taught us, “The key is to not prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” You create your own busyness and you, and only you make that choice.
There’s only one thing to life that a certain and that his death. It is critical that you take control of the gremlins that are causing the traffic impeding your success. First take a look in the mirror. Those who fail to take a look within, usually go without. Where are your traffic jams occurring? What is the root of this issue? Identify what is it that I really, really want out of life? Many people make the mistake of thinking we will get what we want, but when they look deep they realize that they got who they are. It’s never too late to turn those good intentions into intentional action. You cannot take others where you have never been. So find a mentor or get a coach. Ask questions, be a good follower and execute on your dreams.