The world has been focused on the Russia/Ukraine war for a few weeks and almost everyone would have to agree that the leadership of Ukraine's President Zelensky has been heroic.
He has shown his commitment to his country and done everything he can to inspire his people and rally the world to the cause of Ukraine. I've heard a number of people state that the US could use this kind of leadership right now.
That being set aside, there are some great lessons we can learn from Zelensky's leadership.
First, let me say that there is a lot happening in this conflict and neither side are angels. But, Russia is the aggressor invading a sovereign nation and no matter how many issues it has, that is wrong.
President Zelensky did not pack up bags of money and run giving up the country, like a lot of leaders have done in the past in situations like this. Instead, he stood firm, showed his commitment to his country and people and had inspired the world in many ways.
Here are 3 universal lessons you can take from Zelensky's leadership.
1.) Choose Your Principles and Stand for Them
Zelensky has stood on his principles and has not wavored. I think that is why the world is so infatuated with him. In today's world, to see a leader clearly state their principles, stand for them, and back them up no matter what on the world stage is refershing and courageous. Keep in mind that just a few years ago, Zelensky was a comedian and actor playing a president on TV. He is an unlikely hero, but has shown remarkable strength by sticking to his principles and it is resonating with the world. As a business owner, what are you principles? How do you stand for them no matter what is happening?
2.) Never Underestimate People Who Have Nothing to Lose
Zelensky could have ran away when the Russians initial invaded, but not only did he stay, but he has shown his unfallpable commitment to fighting for his country. For him, there is no turning back. He has "burned the boats." And he is the #1 target of the Russians. If they capture him, he is a dead man. He knows this, but has accepted it and will fight until he either wins or takes his last breath. Telling President Biden that he "needs amunition, not a ride," when given a chance to evacuate, shows that he is all in. You may not be in a war, but do you look at your business in this way? Are you all in? To succeed, you must be.
3.) A Small Group Deeply Devoted to a Cause Can Do Remarkable Things
No one expected Ukraine to stand as long as it has against the Russians. Conventional wisdom says they cannot win, but when I see thousands of people picking up arms and going into Ukraine to fight against the invading army, it tells me that Russia is in for a long fight. Already, we've seen examples of great bravery and incredible things that the outmatched Ukrainians have accomplished. It's possible, because they are deeply devoted. They have a very strong "why," which is keeping their country and not be ruled by Russia. This smaller group which will become more of an ongoing insurgency if Russia completes its takeover has done and will do remarkable things in their fight. They are devoted to their cause and that won't change. For entrepreneurs, this goes to discussion on culture. Is your team a small group deeply devoted to your business's cause? If not, how can you foster this devotion?
What is happening in Ukraine is sad and it will get worse before it ends. I don't know if Zelensky will make it or not, but I do know his example will live on for years to come.
You Need This to Succeed
There are many things needed to be successful. In fact, there are way too many to list. Each area of success has its own needs and focus.
There is however, one thing needed above all others, because it is what leads to everything. No matter what you do, if you do not have this one thing, you cannot succeed.
What am I talking about? A deep driven desire to succeed.
I have known many talented people that had everything needed to succeed - except desire. They lacked the drive to reach their goal. The talked a good game and would tell you what they wanted and how they were going to get it. And, in a lot of cases, they had the potential to get it - but when it really mattered, they were not driven enough to do what it took to make their goals reality.
There is a lot of debate on whether people are just naturally driven or just "don't have it." I don't believe it is a "have or don't have" scenario. No matter who you are, in some area of your life, you are driven. You may be deeply driven as a fan for a favorite sports team or maybe a huge movie buff and have to see the midnight release of new movies. Whatever the area is in your life, you have a driven desire for it. It just may not be in the area of success.
If you are someone who lacks the drive to succeed (deep down only you know the truth), is it possible for you to get that drive? I believe you can. I believe that if you can recognize where you are already driven in your life and what it feels like to have that passion, you can transfer that same drive and passion to your success. It is simple association. If you can associate those same feelings with when you reach success and a goal, then it will become a reality for you. It will not be easy, but it is possible.
If you are someone who knows you are destined for more, but cannot escape the inertia keeping you in the same rut of life, you can use the above technique to shock the system and get going. And once you are going, don't stop. Momentum is a very powerful thing and you can use it to your advantage. Keep feeding it and it will compound.
Here's to manifesting the driven desire to succeed in your life!
Having interviewed hundreds of the most succesful entrepreneurs in the world, you start to notice patterns over time - consistencies across these highly successful people. There are more than you think. Things like be highly organized and structured, taking care of their health, focusing on the most important things that they are best at, committing to continued personal growth, etc. are just a few of these consistencies.
But, there is one thing the highly successful do that is often overlooked. They schedule time to "think" each week.
That's right, they make sure to set time aside to "exercise" their mind outside of the day to day where they think and let that thinking show them opportunities and answers in their lives and businesses. There are a lot of different processes that these people use and in many ways, it is personal to them, and should be personal to you, but at the very least, you should set aside 30-45 minutes once per week to think.
You should find a comfortable place, outside of your normal work environment. During these times, you should let your mind wander and use a journal to take down unique insights or thoughts that come through. You should ask yourself key questions and think through current challenges and write down potential answers to them. You should also create some action items from each session.
As stated earlier, the process for each person is different, but if you can get into the habit of thinking at least once per week and design a structure that works for you - it will go a long way in helping your success. Make time to think!
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