I recently decided to take a road trip, with all the ‘staycation’ I have found driving to the country very therapeutic, great for introspection, reflection and thought.
It was another beautiful hot day driving through some of the back roads in Surrey and Hampshire, I started to think about purpose-driven outcomes in business, the recent changes through the pandemic, the failures and successes, and one of my key topic’s leadership and trust.
I have always believed that meaningful lives are for extraordinary people: great saints, artists, scholars, scientists, doctors, activists, explorers, national leaders…. If ever we did discover the meaning, it would – we suspect – in any case, be incomprehensible, perhaps written in Latin or in a COBOL computer code.
It wouldn’t be anything that could orient or illuminate our activities. Without always acknowledging it, we are – in the background – operating with a remarkably ungenerous perspective on the meaning of life.’
Perhaps, I could be wrong. It is conceivable that everyone on the earth plain has a meaningful life in their own way, we all make choices, we all have dreams, and we all possess the ability to see out our individual outcomes, our purpose and trusting that the choices we make drive learning, expansion and growth.
Do we lack determination, imagination, courage, and passion in today’s business world?
I watched an inspiration film recently, a true story called “I Can Only Imagine“. The story revolves around the band’s lead singer Bart Millard, who in the film’s opening scene tells fellow performer Amy Grant that he wrote the song that changed his life in only 10 minutes.
“You didn’t write this song in 10 minutes,” Amy Grant replies. “It took a lifetime.”
The story then flashes back to Bart’s unhappy childhood when he was growing up with his abusive father Arthur and a mother who left both of them when he was an adolescent.
Even as a child, Bart loved music, but his father would have none of it. “Dreams don’t pay the bills,” Arthur tells his son. It’s one of many lines Arthur utters that signify what a miserable son-of-a-bitch he is, along with such gems as “Life hits me, I hit it back harder.”
It’s no wonder Bart grew up to be a pop star. Everything his father says sounds like the title of a country song. You can also tell how mean Arthur is by his perpetual stubble. Not a beard, not five o’clock shadow, but carefully groomed stubble that’s always the same exact length. There are male models who don’t pay as much attention to their facial hair.
Bart leaned into an active imagination and his love of music as escapes from a troubled home life. As he grew older, Bart turned to football in hopes of somehow connecting with his abusive father. But a career-ending injury-combined with the vision of a teacher who saw unlimited potential set Bart on a musical pathway.
Chasing a dream while running from broken relationships with his father and Shannon, his childhood sweetheart, Bart hits the road in an old, decrepit tour bus with his new band MercyMe – named for his grandmother’s favourite expression. With the guidance of a grizzled music-industry insider, the band begins a journey none of them could ever have imagined.
I can only imagine- the heart of the film
Some of my readers will remember my first book, Freedom After the Sharks, I have always said that each of us is, to some extent or other, a reflection of the experiences of our lives.
However, whether and how we succeed is determined at least in part by how we cope with those experiences and what we learn from them.
Freedom After the Sharks is the story of a man who, despite a difficult family life and professional setbacks, developed the determination, drive and skills to create a successful business and happy life. Skills and self-motivation gave this young man the drive, determination and tenacity to continue a journey through hardship to reach self-fulfilment and, ultimately, success.
The question is do we give up at the first hurdle or do we continue with perseverance?
Every leader eventually faces difficult circumstances. In these situations, perseverance, determination and courage is a must if you are to be able to achieve your goals. Without these traits, the opportunity to succeed becomes less because you don’t have the ability to persist.
There are countless examples of courageous leaders. The one thing that each has in common is their determination to continue pushing forward, despite what others believe, or what current circumstances continue to throw up at them.
Rather than focusing on failure, and becoming discouraged from pursuing their goals, courageous leaders look at challenges as opportunities to improve. Buoyed by optimism and enthusiasm, they motivate themselves to look for meaning in each challenge and turn it to their advantage.
Like many other leadership skills, courage is a skill that can be learned and strengthened. The following tips can help you to cultivate your courage and use it to increase your success!
One thing that commonly happens when you are pursuing your goals is that suddenly you’ll hit a roadblock and all movement comes to a standstill. The first emotion you feel at these moments is fear, and then panic.
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, believed courage to be the most important quality in a man. “Courage is the first of human virtues because it makes all others possible.” When we are courageous, we step outside our comfort zone of predictability and familiarity and are exposed to new ideas. We can take in new information and broaden our understanding of the world, an important tool in overcoming adversity.
Having courage enables us to stay our course when external circumstances threaten to challenge our well-being. It empowers us to confront problems head-on, even if having doubts, rather than risk experiencing fear, resignation and victimization.
Through courage, we are better able to control our destiny and honour who we are and in what we believe. We have a chance to avoid even greater problems that might have resulted had we not been courageous.
We develop a psychological muscle when we push through fear. This muscle helps us when we need the strength and resilience to overcome or avoid adversity. The more we exercise this muscle, the more our self-confidence and faith will grow. We will feel empowered to confront problems head-on and courageous in challenging times that fill us with pain and fear.
Life is meant to take challenges and overcome hurdles and obstacles instead of having reservations on challenges. Success lies in going beyond the boundaries and leaving no stone unturned for achieving your goals. One has to read between the lines that what success lies in because pain is the only thing that tells that a person is alive.
When you believe in your purpose you can work through obstacles, overcome disappointments and endure hardship.
As John Seamon Garns – American Author of Prosperity, once said: ‘Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determinations.’
Often in life, you make a journey that changes the meaning of life as you knew it. I believe every single person can be extraordinary for something if directed in the right way and if circumstances can take them there for the great of good, amazing things can happen.
Final thought: society cannot flourish without some sense of shared purpose and belief system, and most importantly love.
I am a firm believer in the power of curiosity and choice as the engine of fulfilment, but precisely how you arrive at your true calling is an intricate and highly individual dance of discovery.
Still, there are certain factors and certain choices on your journey of life that make it easier and more worthwhile.
Everyone has a story, despite difficulties in family life, professional setbacks and extraordinary events like COVID-19. The journey of life is the learning’s, we all possess the determination, passion, drive, creativity and skills to create a foundation.
Business professionals and individuals in the great challenges of today’s business world have renewed responsibility for what business does best: innovate, invest and grow.
We are all extraordinary people and have the ability to share and provide wealth creation and richness to our surroundings – the bigger question is how much do we want to change and to be extraordinary?
As Thomas A. Edison, American inventor and businessman, once said:
“Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be as brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!”