Grit

How Important Are Your Dreams?

Last night I dreamed that I was going to the opera to see The Nutcracker. In dreams, everything is possible. I love the opera. Now, when I am speaking about the opera, I refer to the musical experience, not to any web browsers or software with the same name.
 
When you Google the word “opera”, the first three pages of search results unfortunately include a lot of information about Opera-named web browsers and/or software. Of course, search engine algorithms – you have to be more specific with your online searches if you want to find what you are looking for!
 
On the other hand, as an internet entrepreneur or online business, you have to be specific about what kinds of products and services you are selling unless of course, you do not want to be found online.
 
My most exotic opera experience so far has been an opera in St. Petersburg, Russia, which was sung in both Italian and Russian, years before I had continued to improve my very basic skills in Russian that I had acquired as a young student back in 1998.
 
Italian, as a language, is much easier to comprehend and to learn, especially if and when you speak fluent French. The more languages you know, and learn, the easier it is to understand related languages. With fluent Swedish and German, for instance, it is easy for me to understand Norwegian and Danish. Dutch is a bit harder although Dutch too is a Germanic language.
 
I have taken classes in Italian as well. When you live for several years in Switzerland, you can nothing but learn some Italian automatically since the language is present everywhere in the country that has four official languages. Finland has only two official languages; Finnish and Swedish. Saami language is unfortunately not an official language in Finland although Finland claims that it is honoring Saami culture and traditions.
 
Even more than the opera, I love the ballet; watching all those artistic choreographies and talented dancers with so much passion for what they do that they put their bodies through so much pain for every single performance, day in and day out, with bleeding toes and cramping muscles, without ever complaining.
 
In my dream, however, I arrived late at the opera since I was helping someone out with their photography and realized far too late, that my train connections to the opera would take at least two hours one way. I left far too late and realized that I would miss the beginning of the performance or arrive at least half an hour late.
 
Lesson of the dream?
 
Do not postpone your life´s dreams because of circumstances or other people, or despite of the fact that people around you do not approve of your dreams. There is always someone out there who will support your dreams, and if not, you can support yourself!
 
Many years ago, while I was working as a cabin crew member in a charter airline company, we were taught that in case of emergency and if cabin pressure decreases, you have to ensure your own oxygen intake first.
 
My career as a flight attendant remained a rather short experience, mainly because I grew tired of traveling around the world all the time and living in hotels, but also because I was concerned about the impacts of aviation on our global environment through the release of CO2 emissions.
 
Today I know that aviation alone causes “only” around 2% of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions (according to IATA), and that the aviation industry is far from alone being responsible for any global emissions. Moreover, the aviation industry has for years been improving its efficiency in terms of global CO2 emissions and experiments with energy-efficient solutions and completely new options for carrying out flights.
 
If you have ever traveled for work, you may understand what I am talking about when referring to the fact that I actually enjoy being at home rather than flying around the world all the time at odd hours. Especially when flying during night hours most of the time, and not as a passenger who can sleep during a flight but as a cabin crew member whose number one priority is to ensure passenger safety and stay awake at all times.
 
Where I worked, staff (cabin crew) did not have the permission to take any naps during flights, although we were often flying extremely odd and long hours, with shifts starting e.g. at midnight and sometimes ending in completely another time zone 15 hours later (if there were any delays – which was quite common due to weather-related issues, turbulence etc).
 
We flew Boeing 757-200, if you know something about aircrafts. I personally do not know much about aircrafts, I just know everything I need to know about Boeing 757-200 aircraft types. Or, I used to know. I still remember the locations of all the emergency equipment in the aircraft.
 
In case of emergencies, always help yourself first. Or at least ensure your personal safety, because if you do not help yourself, you cannot help others. Nor can you pour from an empty cup.
 
Anne-Maria Yritys 16.1.2019

Be careful who you send your resume to!

 

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Anne-Maria Yritys 2017. All rights reserved.

I recently received an e-mail from a New York-based executive search firm with a note that they received my details by an outside talent source firm, stating that they are looking to fill C-level positions for one of their client´s recent acquisitions, and if I possibly would be interested in learning more. 

Since the e-mail was sent to one of my many e-mail addresses, and not my primary e-mail, it took me a week before I even noticed it. Instead of sending them my resume and based upon my earlier experiences, I sent a response by e-mail asking them if they could give me details about the talent sourcing firm that had referred me, who their client is, and where these roles would geographically be located. Within only a few hours they got back to me, per e-mail, stating that they cannot give any details about their client until a non disclosure agreement has been signed.
As a response, I sent them the links to my website, my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles with a brief note that they can find my resume there. I have grown aware of recruiting firms and headhunters collecting people´s CV´s and resumes, many of whom lack the effort of doing their job well, i.e. fail in ever getting back to their customer/s. Be really careful/selective about who you send your CV/resume/other personal data to, since many recruitment firms seem only to be interested in gathering people´s personal data rather than actually having a purpose of really filling out a position. Which is why I am, these days, extremely selective about sending out my CV/resume to anyone, if at all!
I know loads of professionals in the headhunting/recruitment industry and have inside information. With the professional networks that I have online, I could even start my own headhunting/recruiting firm but quite honestly, I have seen too much in order to be willing to do so.
In Finland, most jobs get filled either through sourcing internal candidates or by other means, rather than through online/offline announcements. Most of the work announcements online and offline have mainly a purpose of serving the recruitment firm as an advertisement. In Finland, the vast majority of all roles are filled in other ways than sourcing candidates through job announcements. In Finland there is also a legislation that says that recruitment firms cannot keep applicants data for no more than six months in their data bank, but who checks this?
Moreover, referring to the New York-based executive search firm that approached me, I have gathered many experiences in dealing with professionals from around the world, including New York. Many of those that I have dealt with from New York seem to use an elbow tactic, so if you ever deal with them in business, make sure that THEY first deliver their part of the possible deal, before doing anything for them.
Further on, in 2015, I was contacted by a NY based recruitment industry startup on LinkedIn. They basically had an expectation of me to a) make PR for them for free b) find a way of transferring my LinkedIn data (the professional details of 30.000 individuals) to their database, sending me a non disclosure contract trying to offer me WARRANTS as a payment. I was smart enough to consult an international lawyer at that stage. Shortly after having installed their software on my computer, it broke down. I still have no idea why, but I suspect it happened due to their software. I never found out, just brought my broken laptop to recycling and bought a new one. I also blocked these people from my personal online networks. Whether they installed a virus/malware through their software on my computer is still unclear to me.
Be really careful about what you do online, and who you trust. It is not paranoia to use common sense in business. I have personally learned some very valuable lessons through my online business activities.
Anne-Maria Yritys 2017. All rights reserved.

“The Future Belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Courage and heart

Bitterness, doubt, envy, fear, grief and hatred are all a waste of our life energy. We have all experienced these negative feelings in one way or the other, but in order to heal ourselves we have to let go of our worries to heal our wounds.

I have personally lost many friends, one of whom suddenly died at the age of 45 with a heart disease, leaving behind a loving husband and two small children. I have personally survived two near-death experiences, which I did realize only months and years after they occurred. My guardian Angels were there for me.

One of my aunts had a rare lung disease, and received a rare lung transplantation in 2011. Without this donation, she would not be here today. I also have two very close relatives who have suffered serious kidney problems, one of whom had a new kidney transplanted in 2012. The other person has this in front of him, and I am only praying for him to have courage and health to go through all of this.

We often waste time on useless activities, worry too much, fear too much. While you are healthy, make sure to live your life fully and never waste a day to do the things that are really important to you. You never know what will happen tomorrow, so let go of all fears and negative feelings, make sure to transform them into positive actions and energy and live your life fully.

Did Nelson Mandela end his life in bitterness after 27 years of wrong imprisonment? No, he was a true hero and a leader who we all should admire greatly. Even after he was treated maliciously, he rose up after spending almost three decades in prison to become the person who ended Apartheid in South Africa and who became a hugely loved president and world leader.

What are you waiting for? What do you personally want to change/improve in society? Do not hesitate – take action NOW! And, always remember, the future is created by those who believe in the beauty of their dreams (Eleanor Roosevelt).

I hope this post was helpful. Stay strong!

Have courage!

The bird that dares to fall is the bird that learns to fly.

flyhigh

Facts Every Leader Has To Know

Businesswomen Meeting. Freedigitalphotos.net
Businesswomen Meeting. Freedigitalphotos.net

The Growth and Development of People is the Highest Calling of Leadership

(Harvey S. Firestone)

Leadership is not for the faint-hearty, nor is it for someone who wishes to achieve quick results with as little effort as possible. For true leadership to develop within ourselves, we have to be willing to develop, learn, and to stay humble within the process, no matter how experienced or well-know we may be. The bigger the responsibility of a leader, the more relevant do these qualities become in his/her work. Humility does not mean that a leader has to knee in front of his/her employees, but yet humility remains one of the greatest qualities within a leader, often something that has to be learned through experience.

What else do leaders have to know, beyond remaining humble? Does leadership require anything, or is it just a title someone earns thanks to relationships? Oh, please forget about my previous sentence – leaders are never corrupted!

Although, a good relationship has nothing to do with corruption, yet leaders do know that managing relations does include much more than simply choosing someone for a role e.g. because of personal relations, especially if the role in question is in the public sector. In private businesses, leaders can always pick what suits them best, no matter if another candidate would be a better match, or, more qualified for the role. Budget also plays a significant role these days, although leaders ought to keep in mind that recruiting qualified talent may become less expensive (and give more ROI) than recruiting someone with less qualifications.

Nevertheless, every leader must know, and execute the following in her/his leadership:

  1. A leader must know how to prevent, and to manage conflicts in any circumstance

Our world has enough conflicts, small and big, and the responsibility of leaders is to learn how to prevent, and how to manage conflicts. This begins with knowing how to prevent bullying in general, which is a huge problem in societies. In Finland alone, the amount of bullying in schools and at workplaces has led to severe a consequence which is unacceptable. Conflict prevention also includes the capability of preventing misbehavior, gossiping, and other harmful behaviors that cause long-lasting mental health problems and costs not only for the individual, but also for the organization in question and for the whole society.

2. The role of a leader is to coach, and to mentor, her/his employees, beyond other leadership duties and responsibilities

The responsibility of leaders cannot be underestimated. Nevertheless, organizations tend to hire and to recruit leaders who have no leadership education or whatsoever. Education alone is no guarantee for leadership excellence, yet, an educated leader has more understanding and knowledge about what leadership truly does signify. A leader who has spent time and effort in order to develop and to learn these skills within her/him, is more likely to be productive and generate desired results than a leader that has been recruited for other reasons, such as a lower salary request due to lack of skills, and education. A leader is someone whose responsibility includes coaching and mentoring her/his team in addition to other responsibilities.

3. Before leading others, know how to lead you.

Never take your leadership for granted, not even if you have led people for the past 10 or 20 years. A leader must always be capable of remaining enthusiastic, and if your leadership style is becoming tired and boring, you will have to ask for help. Even leaders need coaches and mentors to stay mentally and physically fit. In addition to REST, something that our contemporary society for some reasons seems to underestimate. How can you lead others if you personally are dead tired and exhausted, physically and mentally out of shape?

4. Every Leader Needs a Coach, and a Mentor/Mentors

Leadership coaching, and mentoring, is no trend. Like some people want to hire a personal trainer for their physical well-being, leaders need coaches and mentors. If not for the benefit of learning, then at least for the benefit of exchanging ideas and thoughts, and in order to engage in dialogue. Too many leaders make the mistake of engaging too little in dialogue, and expanding their horizons through one-to-one, or group, coaching sessions. How can a leader expect to develop, grow, and learn if not through her/his experiences, co-workers, employees, but also with the help of a coach/mentor(s)?

5. A Leader Must Know How to Build, how to Grow, and how to Maintain and how to Develop a Team

One of the most important skills of a leader is to know how to build, how to grow, how to maintain, and how to develop a team. Depending upon the team, the life-cycle of a team is never forever lasting, and this is something that a good leader can live with. Good leaders know how to keep their team members on-board, but great leaders know when it is time to say goodbye, and when a team member is ready for new challenges/new responsibilities.

6. A True Leader is Always Ready to Take The Blame, but Knows How Important it is to Give Credit to the Team

Leaders are always ready to take the blame for failure, or when something has simply gone wrong. Instead of blaming individuals in their team they ask themselves why something went wrong, and how the specific issue could have been prevented in the first place. When the team succeeds, the true leader is always willing to give credit to team members. And, a leader is always willing to give extra credit to her/his team.

7. Leaders Must Have Passion and Share the Values of Their Business/Leadership Organization

No responsible leader would take upon her/himself a role without truly sharing the goals, the mission, the purpose, and the mission of an organization. True leaders know the importance of believing in, and having passion for, the role they have been assigned.

8. Leaders Must Know When it is Time to Move on Personally

No matter how difficult it may be for a leader to leave a role, or a team, a leader must be willing to move on personally, tap into new responsibilities and into unknown waters, at the latest when they feel that the role in question has nothing more to offer them. People, including leaders, no longer stay in the same roles/organizations throughout their careers. Those who do, are exceptions and rarities rather than commonalities. Even entrepreneurs, or serial-entrepreneurs, know the importance of knowing how to, and when to, develop themselves further and take upon them new responsibilities.

9. Junior Leaders Can Always Learn from Senior Leaders

Junior leaders, however enthusiastic and energetic, should always be open to learning and developing with the help of senior leaders. Sometimes, junior employees, and leaders, make the mistake of having the need to impose all their knowledge upon others, including senior leaders, without having understanding about what, and why, they in fact do have much to learn and to gain from people with more experience than them.

I am not young enough to know everything (Oscar Wilde)

 10. Senior Leaders Can Always Learn From Junior Leaders

Instead of getting upset or annoyed by besserwissers and “I know everything” attitudes among younger employees and leaders, senior leaders could try to tap into the mindset of their younger peers, learning certain things from the youth regardless of the fact that however fast technology is developing, seniors usually are very aware of their time. Technological awareness is more a question of personality rather than of age.

Awakening the Heart ~ by Thich Nhat Hanh ~ The Practice of Inner Transformation:

Thank you for reading, commenting, liking, sharing, and for listening to the wisdoms of Thich Nhat Hanh. Thank you also for developing leadership qualities in yourself, and thus becoming a change-maker in our society. 

☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯☯

Dear Coach, Facilitator, and Mentor

White-fronted Scops Owls. Freedigitalphotos.net
White-fronted Scops Owls. Freedigitalphotos.net

I am writing this letter to provide you with guidance and support on your exciting, upcoming, life-long learning and development journey as a coach, facilitator and mentor in your continuously evolving identity work with individuals and people who you will meet, exchange ideas and thoughts, interact and communicate with.

However important theoretical knowledge is I would like to pinpoint the fact that your role as a knowledge worker includes a number of factors that you might want to put an emphasis upon especially. After all, the greatest asset of someone involved in human/humanitarian work, is the ability, interest, and willingness to be involved with other social beings, who all have their personal beliefs, value systems, and minds. Becoming, and being a coach, facilitator and mentor is a calling, and although not comparable with the profession of a doctor or a psychiatrist, your work can greatly affect and influence those around you. Therefore, and because you have chosen to work with minds, there are certain aspects in your work that you should especially keep in mind.  These include:

  • Acceptance

Your role as a coach, facilitator and mentor (one of these, or all combined), is not to force change in other individuals. Rather, your role is to accept people and individuals as they are. Depending upon the coaching/facilitating situation, and/or the group of individuals/people you are working with, you will have to tailor your work accordingly. There are differences between coaching, facilitation and mentoring situations/sessions, but you will always have to accept people as they are and not force change in them. Rather, seek to be a role model through your own behavior and through setting an example, and let individuals find in themselves the power to become who they were meant to be.

  • Balance

You will have to be in balance with yourself in order to create balance in your learning/teaching environment. Focus upon being in balance, and notice how you can affect your environment through the expansion of your personal energies.

  • Communication

Your work is all about communication, and about developing these skills in other individuals, including not only public speaking, but also non-verbal communication and listening skills. As a coach and mentor, you will have to develop your personal communication skills in order to create and get to desired results.

  • Creativity

Life is not about finding yourself, it is about creating you. Creativity is the lifeblood of everything, so nurture, develop and make use of your creative potential and allow for others to express their creativity as well. There are many ways of communicating and expressing creativity – just let your imagination flow freely and do not be afraid of creating completely new paths through audio, visualization, or kinesthetic learning and development solutions.

  • Development

As a coach/facilitator/mentor, you will not only deal with continuous personal development and learning, but most importantly, develop individuals and people who you work with. You will also learn to understand that development occurs at all times, although you may not always see the results immediately. Sometimes, it will take years to create and to get to the results that you seek to see through your work, but learn how to use certain types of tools for receiving feedback and making sure that at least some development is noticeable within a specific time frame.

  • Empathy and emotional intelligence

Empathy is part of emotional intelligence, but emotional intelligence stretches far beyond simply being empathetic. Your life work with human beings and individuals is all about social interaction and communication that require being emotionally intelligent. Developing emotional intelligence in your personal life and in other individuals is an essential factor in achieving success through your work.

  • Identity

As a coach, facilitator, and mentor you will get in acquaintance not only with your personal identity, but also with the identities of those who you work with. Teaching is identity work.

  • Improvisation

Improvisation, drama and theatrics are developing, learning, and teaching methods that allow creativity and imagination to expand. Improvisation is also sought-after, especially in unexpected circumstances and situations. If you have no materials to work with, improvisation allows you to create learning situations using your/your student´s minds and physical bodies to create completely new learning situations.

  • Journal/Learning Diary

If not already, learn how to journal and write down your (learning) experiences, and teach the same to those you work with. A journal/learning diary may be expressed in many forms/ways. It may be very personal, or shared in public with others. It may be expressed in a number of ways, through creative writing, poems, audio, or video. Make it a regular habit, if not daily, then at least on a weekly or monthly basis.

  • Memoir

Write a memoir about your life, and about your experiences. You can combine your journal/learning diary with your memoir, and keep it only for yourself unless you are/will be ready to publish it officially at some stage in your life. Writing/keeping a journal is a great way of learning/developing, and who will most benefit from your personal learning and development, if not you yourself, as well as your students.

  • Negotiation skills

Negotiation skills are essential in all areas of life, and business. Also in coaching and developing yourself, and other individuals. Be prepared to learn more about, and develop negotiation skills because you will need these in every aspect of your life, not least in coaching/mentoring situations.

  • Objectivity and open-mindedness

Being objective is perhaps one of the most difficult skills a human being can ever possess, since all our actions are based upon our personal beliefs, and value systems. As a coach/facilitator/mentor, however, you will have to develop objectivity and be open-minded.

  • Perseverance and persuasion

Coaching, facilitating, mentoring, and life in general, are all about learning how to persevere and to persuade. However, as already once mentioned, do not force your ideas upon other people. Rather, be a role model and allow them to tap into their greatest potential through acceptance, encouragement, and allowance.

  • Spirituality

Working with your personal mind, tapping into, and working with other individual´s minds requires for you to be spiritually open-minded and constantly open to spiritual development. Do not fear about creating and developing spiritual connections with people whom you work with.

  • Tolerance

During your career, your will have to experience, and deal with a number of situations, requiring for you to be tolerant with how things, and people, behave and unfold. However much acceptance and tolerance you will have to develop in yourself, you also will have to learn how to draw boundaries and protect yourself from certain kinds of behavior. You will also have to learn how to develop a thick skin, unless you have developed this in yourself. Be tolerant, yes, but make sure to know how to act in challenging situations.

  • Uniqueness

You are a unique individual, working with other unique individuals/personalities. Always have respect for your uniqueness, but also respect the uniqueness of others.

  • Vision

As a coach, facilitator, mentor, or all of these, you will have to have vision in the work you do, and help other individuals tap into their vision in creating their futures.

  • Wisdom

It may take a lifetime to develop true wisdom, something that only experience can teach us. However, seek to develop wisdom in yourself and in your students because wisdom allows us to raise our vibrations and evolve into human beings with a higher spiritual consciousness.

 

Societal Development Methods

We have learned how to develop five-minute and even one-minute managers. But we would do better to ask ourselves what it takes to be an executive who helps build a better future. (1000ventures.com. Continuous Improvement). 

Societies can be developed, changed, and improved in a number of ways. It is worth noticing that societies are always made up of people, who are the driving force behind all societal development, and who are in the center of creating a culture allowing for sustainable, economic growth to take place. Geography, and natural living conditions including climate/micro climate are factors that cannot be influenced by individuals, although recent development including the fact that geoengineering in fact does have an impact upon e.g. weather conditions and global warming, demonstrates that even geographical aspects can be influenced by man, often in a rather negative manner.

This article reflects upon Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing (now combined and known as Lean Six Sigma) and Kaizen, and upon how these methodologies of improvement can be implemented not only in businesses and organizations, but also in all kinds of societal contexts in order to bring order to “chaos”, the usage of these methodologies as tools in transformation processes with the purpose of changing, improving and developing environments and societies.

Lean Six Sigma and Kaizen, methodologies of continuous improvement designed for, and relying upon, collaborative team efforts, have the common goal of improving performance through removing waste. According to iSixSigma, the roots of Six Sigma go back to the 18th century, although Six Sigma as a trademark was registered, and the techniques developed, by Motorola in the late 20th century. Since then, Six Sigma has been successfully used in industries and sectors in order to improve quality, and in removing defects. Lean Manufacturing as a management philosophy centers on reducing everything that is not of value. In previous years, Lean Six Sigma has become a combined methodology using both lean manufacturing and Six Sigma. Kaizen (KAI = Change, ZEN = Good), is a Japanese practice of continuous improvement, involving everyone in the process where many small changes, when practiced by everyone regularly, eventually result in bigger, positive changes and improvements.

Illustration of core ideologies in Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing and Kaizen:

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Diaz Otero (LeanImpact.org. Effectiveness of Aid to Developing Countries: How to Improve it with Diminishing Resources?) concern about efficiency and effectiveness has increased, foremost in developed countries. With major financial cuts in international aid assistance, IGO´s and NGO´s need to improve their systems and increase effectivity. Furthermore, according to Diaz Otero, Lean Six Sigma can lead to better results even in transformation projects, and in improving people´s lives in developing countries.

As an example, in Zambia, economic and social progress has been made possible through implementing Kaizen. The Government of Zambia, in cooperation with the Japanese Government, successfully imported and facilitated the Kaizen management model both in the private and public sectors in Zambia, leading to benefits in both production levels and in the quality of products. Through implementation of Kaizen, Zambia managed to rise from being a country of low-income status into the lower margins of middle-income. (saisprogramme.com. Zambia innovating its way out of poverty with the Kaizen management model).

World Vision, a global non-governmental organization established by American evangelist Bob Pierce to help children orphaned in the Korean War in 1950, has expanded and today includes community development, disaster preparation/ response, and advocacy for the poor. Transformation development programs are today implemented in almost 100 countries worldwide. World Vision, today run by business professionals, strives to integrate the best business methods in line with the organization´s values. The organization has successfully applied Kaizen, Lean and Six Sigma methodologies in East Africa. (Parris, A. 2013. Improving processes for good in East Africa).

Examples, experiences and results indicate that Kaizen, Lean and Six Sigma (or a combination of these), are methodologies leading to improvements when correctly applied and integrated into an organization or society. Applied and used by different industries, and sectors, the methodologies can be useful in many ways.

But: Are these methodologies applicable in any kind of cultural setting, and if, how can they best be integrated into societies and organizations worldwide in an effort to, and when striving for, less bureaucracy, better results, less waste, and when improving lives: in other words, when reducing factors that lead to e.g. poverty?

Certain is that people are always the driving force behind short-term, and long-term development in a society. In every state, PESTLE (Political, Economical, Sociological, Technological, Legal, and Environmental) factors have direct influence upon how the most important asset of a nation, its people, can develop, change, and improve the society it is living in (and surrounded by).

Below a video which discusses the Problems of Societal Development from the perspective of managing complexity in modern societal-systems. In essence, according to Center of Systematic Peace, the density of communication and exchange among the members of a group add resilience and persistence to the form of a social group. Furthermore, positive group dynamics include socialization and conflict management functions.

Thank you for reading, reflecting, commenting, and considering the actions your business/organization can take to improve society.

 

How To Overcome Your (Personal) Leadership Obstacles

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As a leader, if you follow your heart, you will have the courage to take on any risk because your heart will lead you to the solution and avoid the risk. (Angeline Kobe Chan).

Leadership, as everything else in life, includes many risks. Life itself is a risk, because no matter how much we plan and strategize, life will always have its surprises in storage for us. In terms of risks, leadership can also be compared to entrepreneurship – you cannot lead if you are not capable of taking, and living with them, neither can you be an entrepreneur without being prepared to take risks.

What are the biggest risks of leadership, then? Observation, personal life/work/study experiences as well as learning about leadership through online and printed media have taught me a number of lessons, including seven themes that I consider being the major risks and obstacles on your path to becoming a great leader. The 7 major risks are:

1. Being mentally (or physically, but usually mentally) blocked due to a specific reason (or, due to a number of reasons). Most often, the main risk on your path to being a great leader is YOU yourself, personally.

How can you overcome this? Depending upon YOU, you will have to make efforts including the fact that you agree with the fact that YOU personally are the one who is standing in your own way. Once you have realized this, take needed actions towards removing and overcoming your blockages. There are a number of ways to do this.

2. Negative self-talk, or listening to skeptics. NEVER EVER look down or yourself, or on others. And, never let other people put you down.

Solution: Whatever you do, focus on positivity. Start by cleansing yourself from any negative energies, or negative self-talk. Instead, wake up each morning and remind yourself about how great you are, and be thankful for everything you have in life. Be thankful for your life, and embrace the day by living in the present instead of thinking about possible past failures, or having too much concern about the future. Your life is here and now, in the present, and in order to be(come) a successful leader, you have to focus on living 100 % in the present moment. This life was given to you for a reason, and make sure to enjoy it to the fullest.

3. Focusing too much on external factors and motivators.

According to psychological theory, and studies about motivation, motivation is at its best when it is “an internal thing”. Truly successful, driven people, are motivated by internal, rather than by external factors. You have to find your true purpose inside yourself, and then get out in the world and release all the positive energy that is in store inside of you (in your body and soul).

4. Comparing yourself with others/Fear of loss and/or giving

What to do? Never compare yourself, your achievements, your life purpose, or your life path in general to those of other people. Your life path is always personal, and you should not have to explain your choices or decisions to people around you. Those who matter do not mind, and those who do not mind, do not matter. Peel the onion, get to the root of you, your desires, and instead of comparing yourself to other individuals, start living your life, and working towards your personal goals, to the fullest. The more you give, the more you will receive.

5. Lack of vision and purpose.

Are you in a state of amnesia, or at a crossroad, not knowing in which direction to go or what path to choose in life? Do not blame yourself. This is a major theme for many people, so you are not alone with this obstacle (it may be relieving to realize this). GIVE YOURSELF TIME. Sometimes, and very often, even the best of leaders get lost on their track. Instead of having feelings of despair, focus on the essentials in life, such as breathing, eating, and resting/sleeping enough. Meditate. Take some time out. Realize that Rome was not built in a day. We all have a purpose in life, and vision will come as soon as you take care of yourself holistically.

6. Isolation and lack of support/help.

Many people, and leaders, are lonely. Loneliness is not equal to being alone. Many people, and leaders, prefer spending some/a lot of time alone without feeling lonely. Nevertheless, we human beings are always more or less social, and need other human beings around us. Get a role model/role models, seek out the best mentor/s you possibly can, surround yourself with people who can help you on your path, and who support your growth. True leaders are never afraid of helping/seeking help or support, and they let others grow along and beside them without interfering.

7.   Not enough self-knowledge/self-esteem

Leadership comes to those who are ready for it, regardless of age or other external criteria. You will know and feel your personal readiness, and so will the world around you. Leadership requires emotional maturity, a willingness to lead because of purpose and drive, and not because of other facts such as wanting to micro-manage or have power over other individuals.

At its best, leadership is wonderful, energizing, fulfilling, purposeful, exciting, uplifting, and contagious! And, as I have learned from my many mentors and role models, the purpose of leadership is to encourage, and grow more leaders. Leaders, who have a purpose and mission, and who are passionate enough to make an effort to fulfill their life purpose while engaging others along the way.

Attached an attached lecture about leadership and decision-making in the Face of Great Risk (Harvard Kennedy School):

You must do the thing you think you cannot do (Eleanor Roosevelt)

An individual who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his/her back on the crowd (Max Lucado)

The biggest risk is taking no risk (Mark Zuckerberg)

When you play it too safe, you are taking the biggest risk of your life. Time is the only wealth we are given. (Barbara Sher)

Leadership is action, not position (Donald H. McGannon)

Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be. (Sonia Ricotti)

Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening now. (unknown)

We make a living by what we get. But we make a life by what we give (Winston Churchill)

There can be no great accomplishment without any risk (Neil Armstrong)

Thank you for reading, commenting, sharing, learning, and for leading!

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Why Does Our World Need Excellent Leaders?

I am still learning, but my experience has taught me that true leadership is a quality that only a few men, and women, possess. More than 20 years of activity in working life, but only rarely, if ever, have I encountered any man or woman fulfilling the qualities of a truly great leader.

Yet, our world needs excellent leaders more than ever. In times of increased demand for excellent leadership, how can we achieve our target of developing such qualities in people? And what are the qualities that a great leader ought to have?

Many times, a leader is thought of as someone capable of inspiring, motivating, and driving “the pack”. True, to a certain extent, but a true leader is always willing and ready to walk the talk alone if required. Sometimes, a leader should not listen to what everyone else is saying, but rather show the way and take action – followed or not.

A true leader always expresses integrity. Intuitive and awaken people will always sense honesty – from miles away. Non-loyal and dishonest behavior always leaves a trail – direct, assertive, and honest behavior, on the other hand, require no further explanations.

Furthermore, excellent leaders do not engage in “lower spiritual activities”, such as gossiping, poor behavior, backstabbing, spreading rumors or anything alike. Neither do they behave in a way that increases uncertainty or mirrors non-excellence in other people. Excellent leaders focus on achieving a goal, a mission, and work with purpose.

Excellence is a choice, and a path of learning. Leaders can be both born and developed, and despite of insecurities and deficiencies, almost anyone can be developed to become an excellent leader. Moreover, excellence has nothing to do with age but rather with experience, behavior, and readiness for leadership.

We all have our weaknesses. One step towards achieving greatness and becoming a great leader is to recognize our humanity, our personal weaknesses, and the ability to transform those into our greatest source of strength. If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission! 

 

What is Leadership in Times of Adversity?

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny (C.S. Lewis)

Has your life been easy? Easy in the sense that everything seemed to run smoothly, without you ever having to face any real adversity, or setbacks? Well, congratulations – you should consider yourself lucky. Or perhaps not? If life treats us too easily, and we always get whatever we reach out for without any effort at all, we do not experience the need for pushing boundaries, or having the need to struggle for anything at all.

Success is hard work.

Not everyone realizes this, especially those who can afford to live in mediocrity. Those who choose not to, and/or those who are forced to, due to e.g. geographical and societal circumstances, even because of family backgrounds, understand the true meaning behind the word struggle, and hard work. Everyone should have to work and make an effort for their living, but there are differences between the concepts of getting everything for free, taking things for granted, having to work hard, needing to struggle, and/or being forced to do something. The next time you want to complain about your personal situation – please spend a moment to think universally, and compare your life to those of others in different geographical locations on Planet Earth. If you feel like struggling, you may change your thoughts after comparing yourself to others. Useful or not, but a certain amount of struggle always brings out the true qualities of people. Have you ever had to struggle or not?

Why is it that countries which we call strong are so powerful in creating wars but are so poor in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy but giving books is so hard? Why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so hard? We are living in the modern age, and we believe that nothing is impossible. We have reached the Moon 45 years ago, and maybe we will soon land on Mars. Then, in this 21st century, we must be able to give every child a quality education. (Malala Yousafzai)

Before responding to this question, please take some time to watch and listen to this inspiring and touching speech by the World’s Youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan: http://bit.ly/MalalaYousafzaiNoblePeacePrizeSpeech Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education, is known for human rights advocacy for EDUCATION, and for WOMEN. Today, she is regarded to be one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Advocacy for humanity, equal human rights for all citizens of this world, inspiration, and influence has nothing to do with either gender or age, but with our backgrounds, experiences, interests, spirituality, and things we truly care for. Not everyone has to be abused, exploited, or experience other suffering in their lives in order to become an advocate for change, and humanity – but often struggle brings out the true leadership qualities in people.

Develop Empathy. Always walk a mile in another person’s shoes before judging or criticizing anyone – as you never know what they may have experienced in their lives.

Thank you for taking the time to read, reflect, analyze, comment, for sharing your thoughts and for giving feedback, and most of all, for watching and listening to Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize video. I look very much forward to reading your thoughts, and receiving your comments.