Military and Civilian leadership is vastly different but share some of the same principles, the big difference lies within the leader.
We live in a world where the classic job and job security is disappearing; being a good employee means nothing when the company downsizes. It means nothing to make the best products when a foreign company purchases that company and sends production elsewhere. Pride in our tasks and results mean nothing when management is only worried about the bottom line and not being relieved, this all leads to unhappiness in the workplace, 8 out of 10 people dislike their job, how are you doing in that department?
Cut to the entrepreneur who struggles daily to put food on the table, then has a great month, pays off all the bills and ends up struggling again the following month…at least that’s what you hear very often. Then there are those who make a nice living, I say nice because the work to enjoying life ratio is very lopsided most of the time. There are a handful of super successful entrepreneurs in relation to the number of self-proclaimed entrepreneurs.
So what do we do? Have a semi secure job we hate, which is not secure, or do we start our own business, join a network Marketing company and try our hand at that, what about a franchise, where the fees force you to work 80% of your week? So we ask ourselves: What can I sell, what can I build, what can I create or what will get peoples attention so I can sell my service or product.
Wait…what about the most important product of all? You. Is it not true that all famously successful entrepreneurs also have one thing in common? We know their name, their story and their brand. So why seek elsewhere, why put yourself on the back burner? Being happy includes loving your daily activities, so if you are working for you, on you and you can earn from that…well you pretty much hit the jackpot.
I preach three viral personality traits in all my workshops, classes, speeches and articles, and it never gets old or out of date: Honesty, Transparency & Integrity; I say viral because it is contagious being this type of person. When I say, “being honest” I am speaking first and foremost about being honest to you. How do I mean? I mean don’t rationalize a bad feeling (that is your intuition ringing the alarm bell) away because you may be benefiting from doing it, or worse yet; you think you will benefit.
We all have felt out intuition but most ignore it because we have been trained to follow, not lead. The lucky ones can generate solutions for anything because the brain does not engage until we have the premise of what it is we will do, which is using intuition.
In the end being honest is an incredibly simple concept but I will be darned if it is not one of the most difficult things a human can do. This is where the choice comes in as to how you interpret how far you go with honesty.
Being a combat veteran and having lost my battle buddy on the battlefield right in my arms, I know what it is like to lie to oneself, I know how it feels when you just know you cannot face the truth or it may kill you, my brothers and sisters will agree with me here, I am positive.
Luckily we can use these experiences as lessons and pass them on to whomever we lead, I learned to turn these bad situations into positivity and ensure I move forward every time by accepting them as a part on my training and my path. You see, leadership is first about you: your attitude, belief and motivation in being a better person all around, embracing diversity prepares you for the hard times when everyone suddenly turns to you.
Wanting to be the CEO of a Multi National is great but training to be a leader in business without being a self leader is like painting half a house, not very pretty…we have all met those leaders haven’t we, can we all agree no one wants to be like them? Good; another step forward.
Lets move on to Transparency; being transparent with yourself is key to self-development, which then leads you closer to knowing who you are and allows you to recognize what is unique about you and your leadership. Being authentic is key; Authenticity dictates our market value and ensures everyone remembers you…some people who remember you are like money in the bank but this should never be the first goal when meeting new people.
Practising being transparent allows it to turn into a habit, this habit then bypasses your cautious and self protecting brain programming, which we all receive on a daily basis, and allows you to hear and feel your intuition, this gives you permission to make the morally right choices but most of all it allows you to know when you must make those choices.
Getting used to hearing and feeling our intuition takes some practice because we are taught to second-guess our gut. I can tell you that my intuition saved me more than once and it led me on a path where I have done things others only dream of, I am truly blessed, but only because I allow myself to embrace, and learn from, whatever comes.
Honesty and Transparency is like a shield, lets call it Captain Americas shield. It protects you from attacks, slander, cheap shots and much more because when you are honest and transparent, no one can “have anything on you” that you have not already communicated, shown or otherwise made clear. This is not why we do it, this is simply a side effect.
We do it because it is the right thing to do, because it makes our brand unique and it makes us a sought after business personality and that can turn into your wildest dreams and more. It is more than just two words; it is the difference between true leadership and all those different degrees of quasi leadership we see on a daily basis. Remember; Leadership is not a talent, a gift or only something you learn; It is a conscious choice, a choice to be 100% leader, all the time, and that means being honest and transparent in all you do.
These two viral traits lead to the third principal: integrity, my favorite. All stable and healthy relationships are built on integrity; Wife, Husband, Friend, Client, Customer, Employee or even the Boss. Integrity creates lasting relationships in good and in bad times and is actively created through which trust is then built, this does not happen in two days, it is a long-term goal, getting there with hard work and sacrifice is the only way.
What kind of sacrifice do I mean? It often means turning down a proposition, asking for clarity when it is uncomfortable, stating your mind in a constructive but clear and direct manner, it also means taking the hard right over the easy wrong as well as accepting that short term success is called short term for a reason, in any field of relationships. It can mean that no matter how much someone offers you for doing something, if it compromises your integrity, you must say no, and I do it all the time. I see it as if I am simply making room for the real offers or contracts. (again; seeing it positive)
All this requires the conscious will to change, to learn and adapt, and that can be really uncomfortable, but you can do it and it is worth it, believe me. Many ask; well how do I begin? What do I need to do to be honest with myself and transparent? It is not easy I will tell you that because you cannot be on autopilot, you must consciously monitor everything you do in the first stages of this re-birth.
Now all this requires belief in you, it really does. When you trust your intuition and it is telling you the opposite of what your programmed brain is telling you, it takes guts and total belief go with it. Belief is a funny thing. Many think it is a conscious matter, which is does start out as, but what is true belief?
Do you believe in God? Allah? Buddha? How would you describe that belief? What kind of a feeling does it invoke? What is the definition? Let me help you out. Some say it is faith, sure, that is part of it but what is true belief…I will tell you:
True belief is the absence of all doubt, all of it. When you pray, if you pray, or when you meditate, if you meditate, you simply have your intent, ask for that what it is you wish, or need, and then you let it go, you just know it will happen, you cant say you “trust” it will happen because trust is a conscious thought, you simply have no real though about it because God or the universe is taking care of it right? Well, get there in all you do, all the time, every day, in every situation…then you are a master creator, a person everyone wants to be around and who knows that nothing, and I really mean nothing at all, is impossible.
Lets wrap this up now: you have my view on the matter, there are only two ways: You are or you are not, it is up to you. Either you put in the time to be an exceptional, memorable and inspiring leader or you do not: There is no in-between trustworthy and not trustworthy.
I hope this short article brought value to you, use it in your daily life, use it with passion and inspiration, and be authentic! Because no one can be you better than you can.
Contact Steven for incredible workshops, personalized coaching one on one or for his famous Key Note Speeches.