You and your team must have the right tools for success. These tools may come in the form of constant, positive and appropriate guidance from you, as the leader, freedom to share and contribute, as well as resources to make the vision and the meaningful why a reality that now belongs to the team as a whole. The action of sharing your meaningful why will only work to empower the team and the tasks that each member must perform. The why will become the element holding the pieces together while the now community goals are being met. Once your team has been empowered with your vision and your why they may start assessing their own, establishing a new level of commitment to your vision for themselves. Achieving of a unified vision and why will enable you to build on the development and performance your team and better manage and lead their efforts.
I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.
To achieve your vision you must inspire and rely on others. Your meaningful why needs to be shared to become stronger. Once the idea and the vision are in place, you must foster and develop a team, a group of people who will be there to support and further advance the completion of your original vision and goals. It’s key to understand that the path to success and the realization of your vision cannot be realized in an environment of complete independence and isolation from others. Your team will not only provide you with resources and strategies, but with the solutions you need to overcome hurdles and strengthen the true reason and purpose behind what you do, how you do it and what you ultimately want to accomplish.
Your meaningful why needs to be the force behind all efforts towards your ultimate vision. This vision will never be realized until you embrace changes and challenges. These will, as a result, open up new possibilities, and therefore, new ideas and new opportunities. By refusing to change and challenge ourselves and our vision we may end up diminishing or completely eliminating our chances of success. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a Possibility is the condition or fact of being possible; the potential or prospective value, usually used in plural –Possibilities– This should make us think of a couple of things. First, the concept of what is possible goes beyond the singular thing, object or idea. Second, this means possibilities are a driving force with the potential to move us further and push us ahead. We must choose if the move will be positive, onwards and upward, or otherwise. By embracing possibilities we embrace as well the certain uncertainty of life. The adventure, the road to success, may only begin once we shed our fears and find the courage to open up the mystery box that has been placed before us.
PS: This post was inspired by J.J Abrams TED Talk “The Mystery Box”
The driving force behind every move toward success must come from a source outside the self, a deep sense of social responsibility and an honest commitment to give back, help and better other people’s lives, be it through education or the necessary resources for their own self-improvement and success. The meaningful “why” is the one that takes your original idea, and personal endeavor, and translate it into a success multiplier; a source for new opportunities and new visions to be realized. By having a positive vision that connects your success with other people’s successes you re-purpose your own business and life’s goal to work as a model for optimistic and attainable entrepreneurial values; in which the individual is not alone and isolated in his or her pursuit of happiness, but in a semiotic relationship with the human, social and technological elements that have given his or her the tools to achieve that success.
It is good to think about other possibilities beyond our current reality. Asking what if this or that had happened or what if I did this or find that or get this and lose that, it’s all part of our capacity, as humans, to dream and visualized reality that has not happen, could have happened or does not exist, and feel it as a real life experience. However, what ifs are pointless if they come from wanting to change the outcome of things that have passed instead of focusing on solutions. What ifs are inconsequential as well if we keep them in the realm of the mind and never find a true purpose or drive to take them to the next level.
What ifs may be use as pathways into untapped regions of our consciousness, where we may explore ideas and concepts, possibilities. They should be means to an end, not ends in themselves. They should lead us in to bring out new inspiration to take action and follow throw those visions into reality.
The danger that we all should avoid is letting what ifs stop us in our tracks and keep us from moving into action. By staying motionless and in a state of day-dreaming we will only be robbing ourselves of an opportunity. We sabotage our own potential not only with negativity but with inaction and procrastination. What ‘s stopping us? Fear, the possibility of failure, and the impossibility for us to leave behind a legacy worthy of what we think others expect from us.
Yes, I encourage you to dream big, however, to minimize the potentially harmful what ifs, those that restrain you from action or spring from regret instead of wonder, you should aim to design those dreams around a true knowledge of your “self”. To move away from the negative what ifs in your life you must take accountability of your actions, assets, financial and otherwise, your traits, your expertise, your passions, your wants, your needs, your habits, your character, your why. Negative what ifs may only be defeated and overcome once our true reason and purpose has been established, without the shadow of a doubt, our path has been set and our mind has a clear vision of its destination.
“To be or not to be, that is the question”
Being, noun, “the state or quality of having existence” (thedictionary.com), present-participle verb, Be-ing (dictionary.com)
Recently I thought about a concept which was explained to me by my father in law. In turn, it was taught to him by his father. The concept was simple, and it centered on action as the path to learning, change, evolution, being. We “are” in the moment we move toward something or someone. We exist in action.
According to The Free Dictionary, a Human Being or Homo Sapiens is “any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae characterized by superior intelligence, articulate speech, and erect carriage”.
We call ourselves Human Beings; that is the name of our species, but only by dissecting those words we may begin to comprehend who we really are, and what we really need. We stood up, we made connections, we created tools, we expressed complex thoughts and emotions through physical mediums; we developed. All the things we have accomplished are the result of action, movement, change.
But it seems we are still caught by surprise when we find that these elements are what make us human. It seems we are constantly trying to stop or slow down change, refrain from movement and find excuses to take actions.
If we stop acting, what would that mean for our humanity, if we do not act, move, change, are we still “being”?
Even for Shakespeare’s Hamlet the question of “being” involved a decision to act or not to act.
The choice not to act goes against our nature, even when it means risks and sacrifice. The alternative to action and “being” is to remain in a space of doubt, continued questioning and rest. A place in which we “are not”, since we “do not”.
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause—there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovere’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.
Hamlet Act 3, scene 1, 55-87.
“I think, therefore I am”
“Being” in action is the process of moving forward from the abstract idea into the physical manifestation of that idea. Indeed, as we have said before, it is through the human consciousness that we find awareness of the self, however, to “be”, thought needs, essentially, to be put aside. The realm of the mind and the self needs to give way to the realm of the body; and the actions that, through our bodies, we can accomplish.
Our thoughts may be the effect of our existence, nevertheless, for our existence to have true value and meaning we must be willing to participate in the everyday. This does not happen in absence of action and change. This does not happen when the mind that is conscious of its body’s existence does not compel this body to act.
Like me, most of the people I know have followed the very traditional path of formal schooling, college education and a graduate level degree. That was the only road to travel in my mind and a result of my upbringing. I do not regret it. For me, learning is a passion, and my years in college only fueled me with more desire to learn and teach. However, I was fortunate enough not to depend on student loans, thanks, in no small part, to my parents sacrifice. Others aren’t, or have not been, so lucky.
I had, unconsciously, adopted my mother’s mentality, “We are meant to work for somebody else”. She only told me this a few months ago, nevertheless I always felt it. That had always been my goal and my vision, all throughout college. I was to go out into the world, send my resume to strangers in the hopes they might get a glimpse of all my abilities and potential, a glimpse into who I was, and give me the chance to work 40hrs a week to get pay minimum wage, and someday, may be, I would get to climb my own ladder and make my own imprint on the glass ceiling.
These all might sound a bit sad and depressing. It is not. We can surely find success taking the traditional road. Professionals can become experts in their fields; get the opportunity to be part of a great, innovative company, with a great culture and values. You may be able to break through the glass ceiling, and reach the position you were always meant to have; in my mother’s case, an office with a window.
I do admire her for that goal, and for her achievements. She has belonged to the fast-pace, male dominated corporate world since the 70’s.
But I do wonder if my vision of what I could do and what I could accomplish was blurred, and I could not see, at the time, the bigger picture of possibilities.
This week I watched the CNBC 20 under 20 two-part documentary (about The Thiel Foundation’s Fellowship Program). The selected group of young men and women will be given 2 years, and a substantial amount of money, to develop their own unique ideas and projects. The core thesis for the program comes from at least two elements of our current reality; first, the fact that college tuition and the amount of student loans graduate students have to pay after graduation is a great burden for the young professionals trying to get ahead in the eight to five job market. Second, the growing awareness of our social consciousness about the fact that traditional college drop-outs have come up with ingenious ideas and business ventures that have had great amounts of success, and have actually change many aspects of our lives and the course of our history.
Why were we lead to believe we could not act upon our ideas and ideals without the patronage of a corporate overlord? Could this mentality be the product of my middle-class upbringing?
What is the difference between us and men like Disney, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Peter Thiel? Yes, they have made a lot of money, but most importantly, they created a legacy; they had an idea, and found the way to follow through, and some of them did it without a college degree.
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, an entrepreneur is someone who “organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise”. So, as I see it, the difference between them and us is simply the amount of risks we are willing to take, to take a concept from idea to reality, to take a project through every failure up to success.
Society will not change its traditional structure by tomorrow, the traditional path to a career, and more importantly, to a job, will still be lay down for our young people, pretty much the same way that was lay down for us. Our college years may be long gone, but we still have ideas, we still come up with interesting projects, and now, thanks to those entrepreneurs before us, we do have some valuable tools to make them happen. What would it take for us to start assuming more risks on our own, instead of conforming ourselves to being only witnesses of other people’s ventures? What would it take for us to set ourselves, our children and young people toward as riskier path? Yes, it would involve facing failure and fears, but in the end, wouldn’t it have been worth it, if all efforts and risks resulted in greater freedom, and greater ownership of our and their own success?
Consciousness, “the quality or state of being aware, especially of something within one self.” (Merriam-Webster dictionary 08/14/12)
Consciousness; the human capacity to be aware of our thoughts, the source of those thought and the significance they hold from the perspective of the past and the present, as well as its possible impact on the future. All these processes that take place within the fabric of our minds is wonderful and should not be taken for granted.
For its own part, the sub conscience; that which exists in the mind “but is not immediately available” to our consciousness, (Merriam-Webster dictionary 08/14/12) is another reservoir of thoughts, of ideas, of memories, of beliefs. It is a treasure throve of images and situations, of possibilities.
For Self-mastery to be achieved, we need to master not only the responses that come from our conscious mind, but those that may come from the depths of the subconscious.
Use the power of your own mind.
We have talked about developing a self-soothing mantra, a combination of words and sounds on which to find comfort and solace in times where negative feelings arise. A self-soothing mantra is a step in the right direction, one in which we re-tooled our mind to control our emotions and find a level of relaxation that comes from within.
I do find this a very challenging exercise. It is not easy to lose our grip on the past or our worries for the future, and just stay in the present moment. But it is important to take the action and follow our mind where it may lead us. Without the guidance of a stranger, but the person that our self in must dependant on, us.
The time to meditate, visualize and concentrate in your positive self-soothing mantra is a time exclusive for you. As much as we need sleep and hydration, we need to replenish our self with imagery and sounds that awaken a deeper level of our consciousness as well as the hidden potential of our subconscious.
For more information on stress-management check out this website:
Only once we have a firm grasp on our “why”, our meaningful, personal reason, and the source of our inspiration and motivation, is it that we can move forward and onto a platform of success built according to our own design.
Unfortunately, in business, as well as in life, passion is not enough. Passion is a desirable ingredient, nevertheless, you need more than a commitment to your idea; you need a purpose behind what you are doing. This “why” is what should move the passion and cement the intent behind every step you and your team, take towards success. The meaningful “why” must essentially become your guiding principles and values, which, as a result, reshape your vision into something bigger than a mere monetary or material achievement? The meaningful “why” is attached to personal statements and emotions?
Remember: “Success is not a destination, it’s a journey”- Zig Ziglar
Success comes with the knowing of your ‘self’, the having the right tools, the searching for the right resources and the setting of a plan, or a map, to achieving short-term and long-term goals. These goals, as the map itself, need to be in constant revision. Indeed, we must visualized success not as the ultimate unmovable space of final and complete fulfillment, but as the ongoing road towards a better understanding of our mission and our capacity to create value for our lives and the lives of those we care for.
In this self-exploration we may find the first glimpse into the meaningful “why”. I leave you with some key questions. You must ask yourself: What is making me move towards these goals, and towards attaining my ultimate vision? And, what are the key components and elements essential for that vision’s existence?
To be successful you must have a clear vision and a clear plan. Your vision and plan will be the tools with which to keep you and your team concentrated in the achievement of individual goals and the steps you need to take to get there. The truly successful people do not quit but re-group, re-organize, re-focus. You must be willing to persevere in the face of criticism and adversities.
To be able to keep motivating yourself and your team you need to developed a meaningful why, a powerful reason and purpose, a driving force for all your efforts, time and sacrifice; you need a true source of inspiration.
I believe this source must be unselfish and honest in nature. It must come from the realm of ideas, ideals, emotions and humanity, not from the self-centered, the selfish and the material. I believe as well that this source must be defined, searched for and found in an intimate and equally honest dialogue with our “self“.
“Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.”
I encourage you to focus on yourself first. Find the source and reason for your vision and goals; find the true why for the steps you are taking and the success you want to achieve. Then, focus on that, and let it be the guiding principle, motivation and fuel for your actions. They (your reasons and purpose) will indeed have a double duty. Not only will they keep you mind and actions focus on the goals at hand, and the ultimate vision, but will keep the fire burning and the engines running.