Intent and action for better results

BY Archana Law

If you were to list a few characteristics of great leaders, what words come to mind? Courage, tenacity, compassion, vision, drive, authenticity, determination, empathy, understanding and results focussed…?

And how do these traits help one become a better and more successful leader? What is remarkable about such leaders and how did they become successful? And more importantly, are leaders born or is there something they do to achieve success?

There may be some truth to the thinking that certain people are born into positions or circumstances that set them up for success. However, as legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi once said: “Leaders aren’t born, they are made… like anything else, through hard work.”

Through my own journey and research on the topic, I’ve learned that there are several practices that effective and successful leaders adopt, which help set them apart.

Realising that the only way they will ever accomplish their dreams is not by accident or luck but putting work into the right things over a reasonable span of time, they focus on intent and action for results.

American politician Mark Udall observed: “You don’t climb mountains without a team, without being fit, without being prepared, and without balancing the risks and rewards. And you never climb a mountain by accident – it has to be intentional.”

Intention is defined as a determination to act in a certain way. Living with intention means experiencing a more balanced life that’s full of meaning and purpose, and the activities you engage in are worthwhile to you as well as focussed on betterment.

You step out of mindless activities and off autopilot mode to ensure that your life is based on conscious choices about how you want it to be.

So how can you prepare and develop yourself to become a better leader – and person – while living an intentional life? Here are some tips…

LEAD YOURSELF Most people want to learn how to lead their prospects, clients and team members more effectively. But before you can lead anyone else, you must first be able to lead yourself.

While there’s no doubt that job-related skills development is crucial, there isn’t a more important investment than the one you make in yourself. According to author Jim Rohn, “if you work hard at your job, you can make a living; if you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune!”

So where in your life and business do you need to grow and improve? And what personal and professional skills do you need to develop?

The bottom line is that the most challenging person you will ever lead is you. Lead the person in the mirror with excellence first, and you’ll soon begin to see others follow you as well.

ADDING VALUE Every interaction you have with another human being is an opportunity to add value.

As American educator Dr. Stephen Covey said, “in every interaction, you’re either making emotional deposits that strengthen relationships or withdrawals that strain them.”

By the same token, if you make too many withdrawals, you’ll eventually go bankrupt. Ask yourself the following: Do you care about others? Are you ready to help people? And are you trusted by them?

Adding value consistently to others’ lives is a choice that you get to make every day – so choose wisely.

GROWTH MILIEU In the same way a plant can’t grow without the right soil, air and a conducive climate, you too will never grow in the wrong surroundings.

Charlie Jones – the American sportscaster – noted: “You will be the same person in five years as you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet.”

So what are you feeding your mind every day? Are you seeking books, podcasts, videos and workshops filled with positive and informative material? Who are you spending the most amount of time with? Are these people helping you grow or holding you back? Remember, your environment is crucial for your development.

SUCCESS MINDSET Top performers know what they want and take consistent action to achieve it. They focus on their most important projects; continuously improve their abilities; and tap their resourceful minds to create emotional states, motivation and beliefs that lead them to success.

You too need to believe in your success, and visualise and affirm it – because what you endorse is what you become. So see yourself in a better light and become that person.

Living intentionally through workable values and principles will always cause transformational growth – after all, life is what you make of it!

As the Executive Director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace Ray Goforth has said: “There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world; those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.”