Working hard does not guarantee success in life, and does not increase your impact as a leader.
Of course, it's easy to believe that it would because from the time you were young, you heard the messages from your parents and society about the importance of hard work. You were raised to believe that people who work hard are more valuable and you internalized this story, therefore solidifying your path of working hard (long hours, uninspired, mundane tasks, stressed out) and all of the suffering that can come along with this belief.
We know that working hard does not guarantee success because if it did, everyone who works hard would be manifesting the life of their dreams. That's just not the case now, is it?
In fact, you have evidence all around you that putting in more hours, doing more, and trying harder is not the key to influence and impact. If it were, you would be living your legacy right now. Those you lead would be inspired to take bold, world-changing action every day and you would be reaping those rewards.
You would rest assured knowing that your actions are making a real difference each and every day. So, if working hard doesn’t guarantee success, what does?
The most successful leaders have the right mindset. Find me a super successful leader without the right mindset. You can't. They don't exist.
So what's the mindset required for success?
1. Clear Purpose
It starts by having a clear vision that is aligned to your very own unique purpose in life. You must know exactly what you want and why you want it, because when you are clear, the universe will rearrange itself to support you in achieving it.
But, most leaders I know can’t answer this simple question:
“What does you heart really want?”
Leaders want to leave a legacy, but most are busy working hard at something that isn’t aligned to their hearts’ deepest desires. This misalignment is a major block to having the influence and impact you crave.
I know it can feel scary to really examine your deepest desires because it might require a career change. It might even require some adjustments for your family or living situation. But making an impact on the world requires you to figure out your true purpose, and to boldly step into it. A purpose/work misalignment is a guaranteed way to feel like you're treading water and about to drown from the exhaustion.
When you aren’t tuned into your heart’s deepest desires, you aren’t sending your dream out into the world and energetically speaking, there is no way for the universe to support you in achieving it. It cannot respond to a call that isn’t made or isn’t made clearly.
Close your eyes, place your hands on your heart, breathe deeply, turn off that analytical mind of yours and ask,
”What does my heart truly want?”
Then trust what it tells you.
2. Big Dreams
The successful leader’s mind has big dreams and believes that they will become a reality. You need dreams that are so big they scare you. These dreams must stir your soul and of course, they must be aligned to your purpose.
Everything you need to accomplish these big dreams is already within you. You just need to start believing in yourself, stop making excuses, shed your limiting beliefs and go for it. The how will come, the support will come...you just need to know the what and the why to get started.
The most successful leaders, the ones who change the world, don’t inspire others with small, incremental steps to an uninspiring goal. They have big dreams and the bigness of their dreams inspires others because it’s exciting!
Ambitious people love a good challenge so the bigger your vision, the more energy your team will put behind it.
Small dreams are boring. You want your team to step up in big, bold ways? Give them a big exciting dream to go after. The enthusiasm and energy they commit to it will be proportional to the size of the challenge.
Do your dreams stir your soul? Are they big enough to scare you?
If not, it’s time to dream bigger, my friend, because right now you are holding back.
If you’re holding back, you aren’t believing in yourself, and if you aren’t believing in yourself, no one else is either.
The successful leader mindset is one of commitment. When you are wishy washy in what you want, it’s usually because of fear. You’re afraid that if you truly commit, you will need to follow through. And there is some risk to the ego. What if you commit and you fail? What if you commit and succeed?
These fears are normal, but what differentiates the most successful leaders from the rest is that successful leaders take the risk because they know that the rewards are far more valuable than the fear.
They are so committed to their dreams that they push through the fear, and every other obstacle that surfaces.
Did you know that when you are committed to your dreams, the universe conspires on your behalf to make them come true? In fact, commitment is required to activate the the universal law of attraction, and once activated, incredible things start to happen!
So, what are you more committed to…
The world needs you to step up and share your gifts...the ones you are hiding and downplaying every day by using the excuse that are too busy working hard.
When you embrace the mindset of purpose, big dreams, and commitment you will quickly learn that everything you need to be successful beyond your wildest dreams is within you. Things will fall into place as you take bold imperfect action and your life will be transformed.
***Are these three elements the full recipe for success as a leader?
Of course not, but they are the foundation and a damn fine place to start.
Interested in learning about the remaining mindset ingredients?
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A proven executive coach and consultant, Carrie has a doctorate in organizational development, and over 16 years in non-profits. She has consulted and coached leaders from more than 30 states, and has held various leadership positions in some of the largest nonprofits in the US.