There are athletes that show incredible talent even in grade school. Some of them will demonstrate skills and even make a name for themselves in High School sports. Just a few though, will be recruited and drawn into college athletics. These rare few will be able to make a living professionally in the sport of their choice.
There are kids who show unbelievable intelligence in grade school. Some of them will make it in the High School Honors. But just a few will be recruited for their intelligence and taken into university. These rare few will be asked to make their living trying to solve the problems of our world.
There are young people who show a great propensity for leadership early in grade school. Some of them will take leadership positions in High School. Just a few will be recruited and nurtured in college to become tomorrow’s great leaders. These rare few will rise within the industry of their choice to truly lead.
Why do we have that funnel when there is so much potential? Consider the impact on our world if more people were able to move to the next level on a consistent basis. I believe that we could see human development excel like never before.
Problems that the world find unsolvable will have easy solutions. More leaders would surface to serve our people better. Are YOU ready to move to the next level and excel?
If you are, consider these three lessons that can help you push yourself to become the next super athlete, scholar, or leader that our world needs.
3 Tips To Push Yourself To The Next Level
1. Learn to be uncomfortable.
We live in a very comfortable world. Most of us have a roof over our heads and thermostats that control the temperature in every room. We have soft and cushy blankets that keep us warm, and a comfortable bed so that we can get a good night sleep.
We have lights in our homes that keep us from tripping over unseen obstacles. Safety concepts invade every area of our lives: from smoke detectors, seat belts, to safety briefings. We live a comfortable existence.
While we enjoy it, it keeps us from daring and risking. The times in history when we see the greatest of leaders emerge are times of discomfort and challenge. Think of the Revolutionary War era with new ideas in communication, battle, and government. This was NOT a comfortable time to be alive.
Your neighbor might be a spy. Battles often took place on private land so cannons could be fired from your front door. Many times, you would have to watch helplessly as your crops were destroyed or stolen. There is something about harshness that creates the need and the motivation for change to take place.
If you are going to move to the next level, it is likely that you will have to give up some sleep. You will have to push yourself, run a little further, or faster. To get to the next level, you may need to increase your time of study.
This will NOT be easy. You will need to exercise your mind to look for new ideas and concepts. You will need to open your mind to ideas that may initially repulse you if you are to get to the solution. You may need to work with people you generally don’t like. Discomfort is the cost of moving to the next level.
To move to the next level of leadership for instance, you may need to lead in a difficult organization. I remember a season when I was somehow elected to leadership of an organization that I fully believed in. I believed in their mission and purpose. The difficulty was that, I fully disagreed with the methods of the group to get that mission accomplished.
The leadership lessons were fast and furious as I developed better listening and negotiation skills. I learned to think differently and speak differently. At the end of my term, I was a better leader and the organization was better than what it had been when I arrived. Both myself and the organization benefited because we were willing to be uncomfortable.
The discomfort is generally only for a season. Eventually, you may learn to like those people that are currently making your skin crawl. Eventually that longer or faster run will seem easy. The new ideas will seem like common sense. But to get there, you MUST push yourself into the uncomfortable.
2. Discover mentors.
One of the fastest ways to move to the next level is to find mentors who will teach you what they have learned. They paid the price of discomfort, and if they are willing to share those lessons with you, you should be thankful.
Consider masters in your industry and schedule a time to sit with them and glean all that you can. Many years ago, I looked at the position that I wanted to fill. I went to my boss and said to him, “I eventually want your job. What do I need to learn in order to do your job fantastically?”
This man had close to 20 years of experience at that point. He had made mistakes that he shared with me. I won’t be making those same mistakes, which will save me much future heartache. He also introduced me to other leaders in other areas where he thought I would benefit from.
Once, he recommended that I join Toastmasters to improve my leadership and public speaking skills. I did that and my public speaking talent blossomed. Month after month for six years, he encouraged, prodded, and challenged me to grow as a leader. The whole time, he was watching for opportunities for me to lead where I would face challenges.
Toward the end of our time together, he was listening for open positions like his across the nation. Some, he mentioned, would NOT be a good fit. When certain openings came up, he would check them out behind the scenes and give me insight. When the right position showed itself, he spoke enthusiastically on my behalf so that I would get the job – and I did.
A solid mentor can help you like that. I also have developed my dead person counsel. On that counsel, I have people like Beethoven, Napoleon, and Mother Teresa among others, to guide my life decisions. I study their lives and their personalities. When I run into a difficult moment, I wonder what Gengis Khan or Jesus Christ would do in my current situation.
Often times, the members of my counsel would disagree – but now I have new options. They are mentoring me. Mentors exist to help you push yourself to the next level.
3. Single focus.
Finally, we have to decide what that next level looks like. When we have a clear picture in our heads, we will need to go for it with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Let that become the focus of our lives and work.
It could be a degree, a discovery, a World Series Ring, or a deep impact on poverty. Whatever it is, find your passion and focus on it. You should be able to move to the next level.
Our world today needs you to rise up and push yourself. It is our most desperate hour. Throughout history, times like these created a crop of leaders that turns the tides.
We need YOU to join the effort.