Tag Archives: Secret

Self-Leadership Secrets of an Extreme Athlete

By Michael Hyatt

What could the sport of running teach us about the secrets of self-leadership and reaching our business finish lines?

I’ve been a fan of Dean Karnazes ever since I read his book Ultramarathon Man several years ago, so I eagerly devoured his newest, The Road to Sparta, which tells the story of history’s first-ever marathon.

Some of us know the popular version of the story, where after the Athenians defeated Persian invaders at the battle of Marathon 490 B.C., a messenger ran 26 miles to share the exciting news.

But Karnazes shares the real story, where the runner, whose name was Pheidippides, actually ran more than 150 miles all the way from Athens to Sparta, then back again, before the battle.

That’s 300 miles.

Why would a person willingly go through something like that?

“Western culture has things a little backwards right now,” Karnazes said. “We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives.”

That observation doesn’t just apply to running. That applies to all of life, including leading our organizations. When it comes to work, comfort equals boredom.

Engagement and even happiness come when we’re gunning toward major goals. I’m talking about the kind of achievements that push us outside our comfort zone.

Maybe it’s launching a new product line, starting a new career, or growing a sales channel by double digits. If staring down the goal makes you feel uneasy, you’re on the right track.

This ‘Discomfort Advantage’ is only one of the lessons running can teach us. Here are three leadership takeaways I discovered when I read The Road to Sparta:

1. Leverage your unique abilities.

When Karnazes was a child, he went to a basketball camp coached by the legendary John Wooden. A small kid, Karnazes struggled to get rebounds like the bigger children. But Wooden could see his spirit and gave him some advice: “Do what you can.” Instead of going for rebounds, he started playing the backcourt. And he dominated.

When we compete head-to-head as if our abilities are the same as others, we sometimes miss playing to our strengths. It’s like we tilt the playing field against ourselves. Instead, we need to focus on what makes us unique. Steve Jobs is one of the best examples of this in recent years. Apple played its own game and rose to dominance.

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2. Let passion outrun balance.

We have to be careful that our jobs don’t dominate our lives, but there’s a natural tension in play if we really love what we do. “People speak of finding balance,” says Karnazes. “To me, that’s a misplaced ambition. If you have balance, you do everything okay. … Balance doesn’t lead to happiness—impassioned dedication to one’s life purpose does.”

What else could lead a person to run 153 miles through Greece? What else could lead an entrepreneur to do what the market believes is impossible? Balance is desirable, but it’s not the endgame. Finding and achieving your life’s purpose is.

3. Celebrate your wins.

When we reach our goals, we need to take the appropriate time to celebrate. That’s a critical way to honor our work. But it’s also a key component of living a full life.

Hosting another run in Greece called the Navarino Challenge, Karnazes was surprised at how the townspeople came out to celebrate the winners. “These people were all willing to put aside what they were doing and join together,” he remembered, “rejoicing in the moment.”

“If we always made decisions with our heads instead of our hearts, we’d probably live much more orderly lives,” he says, “but they would much less joyous. … How many people spend their entire lives striving for something with their nose to the grindstone, only to wake up one day and realize they haven’t really lived at all?”

Trade on your unique abilities, stay fueled by passion for your work, and take time to celebrate your accomplishments.

Those three takeaways might serve an athlete. But I’m confident they’ll serve leaders even more.

Originally published by Michael Hyatt on December 16, 2016

About the Author: Michael Hyatt is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, which is also a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller. He is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, and now writes, speaks, and coaches full-time.

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How to Create Better Habits — Fast

 
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” — Benjamin Franklin
 
 
How to Create Better Habits — Fast
 
By Jason Leister
Today I want to share with you a real secret. I will be so bold as to say it is THE secret to accomplishing anything worth doing.

You have probably encountered this secret many times yourself. Most people have. But few people recognize it as the secret it truly is. Instead, they walk right past looking for something better.

This secret is something I walked past many times on my way to something else too. I would often see it laying off to the side of the road. Partially covered with dirt, it didn’t glisten or glow like the secrets I thought I wanted.

At that time in my life, I had no idea that truth and power don’t glisten. They’re not flashy and they certainly don’t attract much attention. Instead, they are still, just giving off their quiet power for those who are ready for them. This is how they stay protected from people who have more growing to do.

Apparently, I had much growing to do before I discovered this secret. I certainly didn’t know it in college.

Back in music school, there’d be these times where everything in my life would start to go down the tubes. Lessons with my teacher wouldn’t go well… performances wouldn’t go well. It seemed like every day was just struggle.

The first time this cycle appeared was sometime during my second year. That’s when the excitement of the first year had worn off and those who knew this secret began to excel.

I certainly didn’t know it.

My frustration was a clue I hadn’t yet discovered the secret. For if I had, these turbulent months would have come and gone virtually unnoticed by myself.

I still hadn’t discovered the secret during my first real job out of college either. I thought it was the crappy employment situation that was to blame for my frustration. Hardly. It was all caused by my lack of understanding of the secret.

So what is this secret to everything — the one I didn’t manage to figure out until not too long ago?

The secret is this:

The only way you get the life you want is to make small investments in your dreams, each and every day you are given to live.

Your future is not determined by luck, by flashes of brilliance or even by “who you know.” It is determined by your willingness to make small investments consistently in the direction of your dreams.

Some people call these “investments” habits.

No one will reward you for your habits. Almost no one will even notice them. So if you are not developing them for you and you alone, then they will never stick around.

Trying to create new habits for “someone else” is a waste of time. Doing it because you feel “compelled” to do it won’t work. Do it for you. Do it because you want it.

And that’s what makes developing habits such a challenge. The training we’ve all received (courtesy of “the system”) has effectively cemented over our ability to be in touch with what we truly want.

Ask 100 people, “what do you want?” and most of them won’t be able to tell you. They can’t even tell themselves.

The odd part is that humans are already “hardwired” to go after what they want. So if knowing “what you want” is a challenge for you, it probably means one of two things is true:

·         You haven’t done the work to “reverse” the training you’ve received. So you aren’t in touch with what you want.

·         What you say you want is not actually what you want.

Once you know what you want, then all that’s left is a simple decision:

Will you live habits that support your journey towards what you want or ones that obstruct it?

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If you really want what you say you want, the habits aren’t really an issue. Small habits, lived daily, will get you there. The power of the small habit is pretty much without limits. Small investments, made consistently over a long enough period of time, can accomplish anything.

If you’re like me, reading a secret like that most likely leaves you underwhelmed. “That’s all?” you might be thinking to yourself. Yes, that’s all.

There’s far more power in these small habits than it appears.

If you truly want to become the best possible version of yourself, then do the thing that very few people are willing to do. That thing is to commit to small habits, daily.

Nothing much will change right away — certainly not in the first few weeks. Maybe not even in the first few months.

But eventually, you’ll wake up one day and find your life transformed. People will ask you how you did it. They’ll try to discover your “secret” for such a major transformation.

They probably won’t be interested in hearing the truth, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’ll finally see just how powerful your secret really is.

About the Author: Jason Leister is a direct response copywriter, internet entrepreneur and editor of the daily e-letter, The Client Letter, where he empowers independent professionals who work with clients. He has seven kids and lives and works in the mountains of Arizona.