A few years back, I realised for the first time that I and many people I knew were champions in making excuses. Let me give you a real-life example of what I mean by that:
The other day, I was delivering a personal development / leadership training for a group of A-level students. At the end of the training, I asked them to rate their level of participation in the training. They rated themselves a three out of ten. They could have participated as a ten but well, they didn’t. Looking at that result, something interesting happened to me: I could hear my brain automatically making up some great stories. I had inner-voices whispering, “Yeah it’s understandable. It’s way to warm for anyone to participate as a ten”; “It’s a difficult group”; “Well, a ‘three’ is better than a ‘two'”; and the best one: “It’s because we are in the school environment and no one likes school”.
I stumbled upon a LinkedIn post in which someone wrote about our resistance towards change, and he referenced the “New Coke” disaster. I actually didn’t know what the “New Coke” thing was about, so being born in 1987, I did what every good Millennial would do – I Googled it. 🙂
32 years ago, Coca-Cola advertised a new product launch. A new drink called – “New Coke”. People were absolutely optimistic about the new product and the Coca-Cola Company assumed that with the product launch of “New Coke” they will hit the bulls eye. It turned out to be a disaster. Only 13% of the consumers liked it and eventually the original Coca-Cola came back. (source)
I shared the article with my fiancée and while reading it to her, I started crying. She responded with “Oh you are so cute”, while hugging me. I, on the other hand, was baffled by my own tears. I always knew that I wept easily, but about Coca-Cola? Please, that I felt was too much, even for me.
After a great coaching session with my own Coach, I took some time to reflect on my learning. Let me share:
I’m reminded about the fact that I’m able to stand tall and keep going because I’ve developed the ability to cope with falling, again and again. Not only that; I’ve learnt to pick myself up after each fall and run even faster, jump even higher. In essence, I’m practicing resilience. Intentional resilience. This means I don’t just deal with my circumstances; I create new ones that work for me.
But where does resilience come from?
“Leadership starts within yourself.”
This statement is probably the biggest lesson I’ve learnt about growth in the last few years. John Wooden, the Coach of the UCLA Bruins basketball team, said:
“Winning takes talent, to repeat it takes character.”
Character is the single most valuable asset I have. And on my own journey of personal growth, I came to the conclusion that: A leader is nothing more than a person who constantly takes responsibility for his/her own results and the results of others.
Very often people ask the question if coaching does help anything and my answer is always the same: “Yes it does!” Usually I would use personal examples to show how greatly coaching has helped me to change and to become more effective in whatever it was I wanted to do. But now I will use another perspective and show what different studies have found out:
Have you ever had a dream, bigger than yourself? Have you ever wanted to be a superhero? Change the world?
I know I have.
I wanted to fight evil, ease suffering and make the world a better place. I wanted to fill hearts with joy. I wanted to make a difference. But I never really did anything about one particular dream I had, until now.