This is a short note on what it takes to be great. Having worked in over 8 industries directly and indirectly, a millennial in true form; wanting to make an impact, make a difference and make things happen. Greatness however, is something that isn’t based on these three things a lot of millennials strive for. It is the little steps one takes on a daily basis, the menial tasks that we face and our response to irreverent interactions with people we might not like or are uncomfortable with. The fact that you can manage to achieve the three initial things (impact, difference, things happening) whilst doing through the subsequent three, means something.
It is not easy trying to translate whatever qualifications/talent you have for the workplace, in some instances or professions; one’s transition from student to professional is seamless, think coder/programmer, journalist, artist. To a certain extent, the learning environment contributes largely to this gap between tertiary and industry, but certain skills are needed for one to be good at what they do. This requires knowledge (keeping up to date with what is happening in your industry), emotional intelligence and consistently learning (building yourself). This should, in the least make you good at what you do.
Being good at what you do is nice, given the rewards, the fact that you’re happy and are possibly at a point of comfort. However, being great, I have observed requires a little more than just achieving. It requires one to give back, be it through teaching others, community work or building a great team. This is the point where one becomes a leader. Investing in other people is one of the most understated aspects of leadership and what ultimately makes one a great person.
If you believe you have surpassed the stages of expertise, management or great work; find someone to mentor, support and invest in, you’ll be surprised at how greatness is in the most unexpected of areas and that it’s available to any one at any time in their lives. Importantly, if you believe you can be great now…. Go ahead, you’ll be beyond your years in the journey of leadership!
There is something great about learning in the worst of ways, and its just that; learning in the worst of ways. More often than not, we find ourselves making bad choices despite knowing the probability of negative outcomes. As a result, we tend to perpetually make the same mistakes or bad choices until we either hit rock bottom or the impact of the outcome becomes so severe, we can no longer ignore the damage we’re causing to ourselves, our dreams or those around us.
I am a victim of my own vices. This is something I, at times, forget. Each and every experience we go through ultimately serves a purpose; that you are building yourself towards the life you’d like to lead or you’re slowing down that process or unconsciously, denying yourself of that in the long term. Change also has its ways of influencing our thinking and actions. Recently, I found myself scrambling for sanity because I believed that life as I knew it, could go back to how it was. This however, was not the case. It took a trip to France to understand that what we go through in life, is all a part of the process.
The people we meet and engage with play a huge role in our work, happiness and the choices we make. It is painful to say goodbye or experience a change that affects something you love or that you’re passionate about; i.e. a job, your disposition or your studies. However, one must accept that this is all part of a bigger picture. This makes it easier to move on and detach whatever feelings or resentment there might be. The memories we have continue to shine a hope for the future. I believe, that as a developing leader, as a professional and as a member of society, it is important to understand why you must lead by example.
Holding oneself to a higher standard not only enables you to achieve that which you might not have, but also grounds one with the ideals of character, vision and making an impact. I am slowly and consciously becoming more aware of these and this is through learning in the worst of ways. Its only until you are fed up of your surroundings that you take action to redefine your understanding. It is only in financial challenge that you feel the pressure to find multiple ways of making an income. Finally and most importantly, it is only through failure and rejection that you become more driven to realise success.
I hold myself accountable for the choices I make and at times, might forget the bigger picture for momentary satisfaction. To better manage this, I remind myself of a few lessons from observing other successful people:
- Routine is king: this enables control, predictability and positive thinking – three difficult aspects of any person’s day/life.
- Discipline goes a long way – and its certainly hard to embed within your habits.
- Start small, think Big – this is the only solution to procrastination, large tasks and making things happen.
- Be grateful – you will be surprised at how much fun you can have, how creative you can be and how driven you’ll be.