Your job as a leader isn’t just to keep the trains running on time. Your job is to create innovations and breakthroughs so that you can remain competitive.
Breakthroughs and innovation are a necessity — for you, your family and your business. Nothing stays the same, and if you aren’t growing, you are stagnating — or worse, reaching a place of atrophy, becoming less effective, and losing your edge.
I have been a breakthrough leadership strategist for more than 10 years, helping individuals and groups to understand the power and potential of breakthroughs.We, as leaders, must become breakthrough seekers.
In 2018, I’ll be sharing a series of articles on E3Aligns and in Green Living magazine on the power of breakthrough leadership. The first shows you how to create your own personal breakthroughs (yours), followed by leading for breakthroughs for others (theirs), how to create a collective breakthrough culture in your business (ours), and then how your organization can communicate a breakthrough mentality to your clients and customers — reshaping the world around you! Let’s start your breakthrough. Now.
Breakthrough Leadership: Yours
The first step in the formula is learning to be a leader who can create their own breakthroughs.
According to Webster’s dictionary, a breakthrough is a sudden, dramatic, important discovery or development. It can be a new skill, understanding, or emotional plateau. Breakthroughs happen when you say “I do,” “never again,” or “I will commit to this forever.” Breakthroughs can be marked by unusually high levels of performance, where old limitations are left behind.
As leaders, we all want to be able to have our own breakthroughs. After all, how can we hope to lead others towards breakthroughs if we can’t create them for ourselves? I’d like to invite you to consider two things to avoid and two things to pursue to help you to more consistently experience leadership breakthroughs.
What Breakthrough Leaders Must Avoid
Data-driven limitations and reasonable expectations.
It is impossible until it’s been done. The world is shaped by optimists or challengers of status quo. Breakthrough seekers set what others might think are unrealistically high expectations, of themselves and others. If you look at an actuary table or a life timeline, you may believe you are too old to run the race, or not old enough. If you believe in yourself, you can overcome data-driven limitations. Successful breakthrough leaders may be aware of the data, but they don’t let data and the expectations of others hold them back. They use records and stats as fuel to “seek” disruptive, innovative ideas.
Negative speak and people.
Our language is very important. Our word choices significantly impact how we see ourselves and others. Neuroscience shows us that our brains are continuously creating neuro-feedback loops. If our internal dialogue is negative and we share that negative dialogue with the world, we set ourselves up for a double dose of disempowering beliefs. We need extra empowerment to rise into a breakthrough. Secondly, It goes without saying that negative people can have a debilitating effect on our ability to lead a breakthrough. Negative people will tell you that it can’t be done. They may even sound sensible in their assessment. If you want to be a breakthrough seeking leader, stay away from these people to minimize their effect on your mindset.
What Breakthrough Leaders Must Pursue
“Act as if” to harden habits.
Sometimes the way to achieve a breakthrough is to forecast the desired goal and “act as if” to instill a new, rigorous habit. To “act as if” is to envision the end result you desire and step into that vision mentally and physically through action, as if you have already arrived.
For example, one of my passions is to lead high-intensity spin classes with audiences of breakthrough seekers. I have disciplined myself to spin every day and visualize how the class will unfold. Whether I am in the mood or not, I get on the bike with the intention of stepping up my spin game, practicing as if I am leading an army of passionate breakthrough seekers towards their most thrilling, intentional and challenging spin class ever! I envision brilliant breakthrough leaders in front of me, the fierce energy in the room and excited faces ready to collectively take on the challenge. Each day when I practice, the specific area of focus may fluctuate, but my end game of visualization, physical embodiment, and consistency in showing up is the constant.
Woody Allen said, “80 percent of success in life is just showing up.” If you are trying to establish a new bar for any goal, you must manifest it by acting as if it already exists, consistently. Visualize the goal as clearly as you can, let go of your old pal, Perfection, and get acquainted with your new friend, Progress.
Resilient mindset and faith.
One of the most important things you have to achieve in order to have a breakthrough is to believe that it’s possible. If you don’t believe you can become a better leader, a better mother, a better athlete, you probably won’t. You have to have belief in your own abilities and have faith in the actions that you’re taking. What we flex grows. Obstacles are a given. Expect them and make your work about flexing your faith and resilience muscles as often as possible. When approaching resistance, remind yourself that it is possible and that the challenges you are facing are a requirement for a breakthrough. Be grateful when resistance shows up, as it is a symbol that you have a breakthrough opportunity. Seek and embrace the discomfort of challenges with that in mind. When you practice this, you develop a calm, powerful trust in yourself despite circumstance. You develop the superpower to quiet the noise in your mind, regardless of the external world. You develop the steadfast perseverance and resilient staying power that allows you to stay the course. When you stay the course, you earn the opportunity to break through.
In my next article, I will be elaborating about how breakthrough leaders can help establish a pattern of breakthroughs in others. In the meantime, think about what I have recommended in this article and try to visualize your breakthrough and establish your habits “as if” with faith and a resilient mindset. I look forward to your breakthrough!
What Will Be Your Authentic Breakthrough in the Next 100 Days?
Challenge yourself in the next 100 days to achieve a meaningful breakthrough that adds tremendous value to your life! Putting your goals in writing is one of the most powerful things you can do to get clear about what you want and hold yourself accountable. To break through over the next 100 days, answer the following questions:
- In the next 100 days, the breakthrough I want most in life is __________________________________
- I want this breakthrough because __________________________________
- To achieve this breakthrough, I am willing to __________________________________
- The people who I need to support my breakthrough are ___________________________________
- The five most important action steps I must take in the next hundred days to achieve a breakthrough are as follows (list 1-5): _____________________
- My start date is __________________________
- My end date is ___________________________
To make it real, send the answers to these questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll keep them confidential. And you will have made a commitment to your own most excellent growth!
On or about your end date, I will follow up with you to see if you met your breakthrough goals. I will be your supporting accountability!