A single parent mom aged 25 years old with two kids less than 5 years old each managed to finish her college education, get a degree, get a good job, pay the mortgage, raise her two kids, and now looking to get a Master’s degree after saving some monies.
A paraplegic has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro helping fundraise a million dollars for building schools in Africa. He trained for one year and with the help of trainers get him into shape to accomplish his goal.
How can they do that? Do they have superpowers?
No, they are just regular people with an extraordinary sense of commitment to a certain task or a goal. Their bodies, environment, circumstances, and conditions were never perfect for those goals but they set out to perfect and harness their assets- strength of character, wholeness in their lives, and getting support they need from loved ones to get to the place where they want to be.
Capacity is not what you have in the present moment. Capacity extends and grows out of the abundance of your vision to change, to advance, to grow, to move forward. Capacity goes with you in the direction where you want to go.
When organizations say they do not have the capacity but are not able to invest either their time, staff, and resources to build capacity, they are simply saying that” it is not a priority.” Because capacity-building is never without a cost.
When people refuse to build personal capacity because they are lazy, ill-motivated, disillusioned, given-up on life and work, it means that they have given up on themselves.
Capacity is not about the size of your wallet or your mansion or the type of the car you drive.
Building capacity is building oneself. Building capacity is loving your self to work on how you can be a better person, a better manager, a better employee, a better husband/wife/son/daughter.
Capacity-building at the personal level is not the crash diet that is never effective.
Effective capacity-building is operating on the basis of why and coming up with accountability measures so that change is internalized into the core being of your person. The ‘who’ you are inside is dying to be fully freed from the shackles of mindless and thoughtless self-defeating thinking and action.
It is time to build your capacity muscle. How big is your capacity? It is as big as your vision.
My two-year daughter knows how to pull the right strings. When she wants to play with the dog, she would say, “Nemo” a hundred times until we give in to the demand. This incessant demand will drive us crazy and will not stop until she gets what she wants.
In life and in business, are you persistent (not overbearing and spammy) enough to endure the momentary hardships that accompany the task of getting your products out to the door, getting donors to support you, getting to the right audience for your content, or getting to the right customers that know and value what you are offering?
Are you persistent and ever-acknowledging that getting to the goal is incremental? It is not that one shot, one sale, one product. The basketball player has to get hundred (or thousands) of shots to perfect their shoot. The athlete has to prepare for the Olympics one to two years ahead of the game. The farmer has to persist with weather, prices, and regulations that made harvest a truly happy result. The juggler in the circus act has to perfect his stunt for two years before he can confidently perform on stage.
Have you asked enough to get what you want? A promotion, a raise, a referral, a testimonial, a developmental project, a speaking engagement? A product endorsement? A Board Trustee for your non-profit? A mentor? A sponsor? A friend of a friend of a friend that can get you to the right venture funder? Have you figured out in your head or have you really tried asking?
Ask more. Ask often. Ask until the door is opened for you. There is no reward for not asking. You get nothing.
My goal of winning this year is not just a matter of scoring few assignments. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to have those assignments to keep me busy for the last quarter of the year. A great kick-off for next year’s work actually. But yet, the consistency of my work has to be there, day in and day out, in bad and in good weather, in slow times and in fast times.
This consistency is what I would like to celebrate and further strengthen. This is not the goal itself but looking at what I have done since January, I am pretty set up for a more disciplined and targeted approach to acquiring the kind of business that I want for the next five years.
To the organizations, individuals, and companies that are putting in the right effort and the right strategy to use to achieve their goals, hang in there. Michael Angelo painted the Sistine Chapel. It took him a long time but each time, he was getting closer to his “ Obra Maestra.” Your work of art will not be an overnight success.
Nobody is an overnight success. Their discovery is an overnight success but their journey from zero to getting there is never done overnight. Show me one and I will prove to you in million times over that it was never what it appeared to be. Easy on the outside, difficult on the inside.
There is a lot of pruning that needs to happen on a daily basis. Discarding those that no longer suited you or have become irrelevant in your life is important. You do get sidelined sometimes but as long you keep your goals in the frame of your mind, it will stay as priorities.
Eliminating things that no longer fit your own frame of mind and future you have set for yourself is crucial. Those are beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes that are self-limiting. It tends to slow you down and its weight will make you paralyze from inaction. Some of these are good for when you were younger and have those conditions that are sort of set for you by your parents, school, etc. But you have evolved as part of maturity. A 42-year-old person will no longer afford to just ” go with the flow.”
The winning behavior, attitudes, and beliefs will increase your traction, create the change that is balanced and sustained, and set you for the long-term achievements to come.
What elements in your life can you discard, retain, and accept as part of your winning formula?
Have you ever said no to a request and felt really happy about it?
Yes. That's what I felt with a considerable No that I gave recently. After a careful examination of my internal dynamics, what is going on with my day-t0-day load versus my strategic priorities, I have to say No!
Saying No is an affirmation to myself to clear what needs to be cleared and maintain that life-work balance that puts everything in the right perspective.
Saying No is a validation of my internal GPS. When the feeling is that you need time for the self, for peace, for things that you want to do as a person, and for things that you want to accomplish, for things that matter most in life.
The distinction between busywork and strategic work is very important to me these days.
Busywork can be disguised as good, lucrative, productive, and promising work but it ended up eating a lot of time, effort, and with unclear direction- it's like aimless driving! Aimless driving is very stressful.
Strategic work is different. It is aligned with your goals and priorities. You can see the results that will bring enough benefit for the short-term and long-term. Every time I do strategic work, it is always redounding to plentiful opportunities. There is no guesswork as to how it will help me get closer to my goals.
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." - Michael Jordan
When you failed at something, it's not as if you are the worst in the world. It’s just that you didn’t succeed.
Do not generalize one failure into your character or that it represents your whole life. Well, so what?
It’s never too late to go back to it and do it better, more, faster, lesser, and just use plain common sense.
The muscle that you should be exercising is your resilience muscle.
Any time that you hit a snag or a setback, or failed in something. It is not the end of the world.
Or the alternative didn’t work out or failed from the outset. The passion and mission are still there.
Take hold of the opportunity to learn from what happened.
Next time, get better at it. Chip on it slowly until you get what you dream of.
How can you motivate people? You can’t motivate people. Motivation is from within.
Those motivation speakers are fluff. They do the song and dance but afterward, you go home the same person.
Nothing has changed.
When organizations pay for motivation speakers, the CEO or executive is literally putting monies down the drain for no ROI at all. Only fluff and drama.
Motivation speaking is a billion-dollar business without any evidence of gain or return on the part of customers. Who are they kidding with their antics? T
hey cry and laugh and cry again in their whole speech. At least, with clowns and comedians, you know what you going to get.
The best motivation is finding out what you really love to do.
This is the fundamental question that will actually make you feel better and your life better.
I advise high schoolers on wanting to enter the international or community development sector to find out where their interest lies and hone in on their strengths.
These interests and strengths are the stuff some great careers are made of.
Q: How do I do something meaningful in my career while still being able to sustain myself?
This is a very important question. A young person has asked this and I am impressed by the honesty that this is brought out. Young people are expected to work after they reach a certain age and then figure out hopefully what they want to do with their lives. The person obviously is looking to find a career in international development and wanting to also sustain herself.
Well, the sector is not for someone that wanted to be a billionaire. While saying this, we also don’t want for people to not stay in the sector because they can’t make a gainful employment enough to provide for their families or their own needs. I am sad that many millennials are turned off by the low level of income and opportunities in this sector compared to the corporate sector. This has to change!
Another point of sustaining is Self-care. And this comes with self-awareness. How much is too much? As I was telling this crowd of young people, this is a long game! You need to pause, take a stock, rejuvenate from time to time to get a better perspective on things. These have to be done on a regular basis in order for you to avoid burn-out and all of its negative consequences. Check and monitor yourself when you have become mechanical and apathetic to what you are doing. These tell you that you need to have a break.
It happened to me. Burn-out had crippled me and reduced my ability to be effective in what I was doing. I was traveling out of the country, sometimes 3 times a month for 3-6 consecutive months. The time in the office was used for issuing invoices, making reports, checking in on office matters, preparing for the next trip, engaging the contractors, etc. There was no time for social downtime or for recreation. Weekends were used to complete unfinished projects or think about the next proposal. In the beginning it was great but later on, I was tired, worn out, and ready to quit. I had lost my creative juices.
I also found out that it is important to look for people, network, and allies that could re-energize, restore, and re-establish the reasons why you are working in this sector. You have to seek out and nurture the networks that are genuinely interested and truly cares for your well-being, not only about what you can offer as a contribution.
Sustaining oneself on a regular basis is what keeps you going and thriving in the long game of this work. Instant gratification is not the goal.
I don’t believe in starving all the other elements in your life to be successful in one game too. This thought has proliferated and is the one to blame for the suicides and depressions people faced while building up their businesses or careers.
As I told someone, it is not selfishness that you take care of yourself and discover your self before you can take up the world’s problems.
I think it’s a smart and healthy thing to do. Balance and moderation win the day.
What are you thoughts? Share it here.