It is easy to sit back and point to individuals who have accomplished great things and turn them into mythical legends. We tend to do this throughout our careers. It can be as simple as the sales guy in the northeast region who closed the company’s largest deal last quarter, or it can be the captain of the industry who turned around the failing company to create a market leader.
In business, we continue to find excuses for missing our goals. We point to the lack of leadership within the company. We point to the individual within the company who is a roadblock to success. We remember companies we have worked for who had great teams and great leaders and wonder why we don’t have the same in our current company. We look to leading companies in our market and wish for similar opportunities. It is easy to find a reason to give up and simply go through the motions without really trying.
It is far easier to point to someone else who has reached an accomplishment and convince yourself that they are a brilliant strategist, entrepreneur and/or leader, than to simply believe that they worked exceptionally hard to reach their goal.
If we believe that they were no better skilled than any of us, then we have to admit that we simply are not trying hard enough. That is an uncomfortable thought for many of us. The ironic fact is that often when we meet the leaders within our industry, we are let down by how “ordinary” they are. In many cases, they are less than ordinary.
There is a famous quote by Marianne Williamson where she explains that we are more afraid of our ability to succeed than our ability to fail, “…it is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure….”
What would happen if we stepped out and attempted those great things? Rather than complaining that no one is leading the critical team at the office or tackling the nightmare challenge, why not step up and own it yourself? What is the worst thing that would happen? Would it be more terrifying for you to fail or to succeed? If we are honest with ourselves, in many cases success is more intimidating than failure. Failure means that we are right where we started. Success means that people will be looking to you to succeed again on the next challenge.
Most of us have people in business that we admire. They may be famous for being the CEO of a successful company. They may be known for being an entrepreneur and changing an industry. They may have led a new industry trend such as social media. The common denominator is that they had a vision and the passion to work hard to achieve it. The other common element is that most of them failed several times before they succeeded.
Rather than worshiping a hero, step out and become one…
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