By Gino Blefari
This week my travels find me at home, kicking off the week with my typical Monday WIG calls. On Tuesday, I participated in the Berkshire Hathaway Energy weekly executive team meeting and HomeServices of America monthly team gathering. And today, while in Microsoft Teams meetings and taking calls, I thought about our post from last week, and the feedback it received.
As it turns out, while providing insights into what to do as leaders is helpful, it’s just as effective to discuss what not to do. In the spirit of continuing this productive conversation, here are a few more things mentally strong leaders don’t do:
They don’t doubt their goals or their worth.
Mentally strong leaders know exactly what’s driving their endeavors and they never question their passion or value. As I say, I love what I do largely because of who I get to do it with. I also love my job because it’s so much more than that. For me, real estate is a calling. It’s what I was meant to be doing. When you’re a mentally strong leader, you are not only 100% certain of your worth but you also know that your job is the fulfillment of what you were meant to become.
They don’t lack confidence.
How can someone believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? When you’re a mentally strong leader, your self-image is strong. There is no such thing as imposter syndrome when you have the confidence to know you’ll succeed. Remember, confidence is not arrogance. Confidence is your own belief in your capabilities, skill and motivation to accomplish any goal. The importance of confidence is why you have to take care of yourself, stick to your routine that is designed to put negative thoughts at bay, and get enough sleep. Remember what Vince Lombardi once said: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” We all have self-doubts and that’s why routine is so critical; it blocks out the negative aspects of your day and programs you for success.
They don’t focus on the “impossibilities.”
As Yoda said, do or do not – there is no try. Of course, a healthy view of failure is necessary because not everything in business is going to go your way. Sometimes, you have to lose the battle to win the war. However, harping on those things will not contribute to a strong mindset. Instead, it will weaken your chances of getting it done. The only thing that’s actually impossible is the thing you never do.
They don’t ignore the small wins.
Mentally strong leaders also understand the power of small wins. Small wins are exactly what they sound like and are a part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves. Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion, that favor another small win. Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.
They don’t wait for an opportunity to come their way.
If you sit around and wait for an opportunity, you might be sitting around forever. Remember, you must prepare for opportunities and when they come your way, take them. My pal Dwight “The Catch” Clark once wrote this in a blog post for this very website, while describing his college years at Clemson. He was sitting in his off-campus apartment, about to go play golf when the phone rang. Dwight almost didn’t pick up the phone but when he did, discovered Bill Walsh on the other end of the line. Bill Walsh asked Dwight to join his roommate (Clemson quarterback and ACC Offensive Player of the Year) Steve Fuller for a practice session. And during that session, Dwight caught everything. The rest, as he wrote, was history: “The ultimate meeting between opportunity and preparation resulted in the start of my pro football career. Yet, I know this tale could’ve had a very different ending if I hadn’t spent years running drills, if I hadn’t practiced all those long hours, if I hadn’t worked my hardest on the field each and every day. Because if none of that ever happened, the phone call would have meant nothing. But I did and it did, turning a dream once thought out of my reach into something that could fall right into my hands.”
They don’t maintain a fixed mindset.
Transformational change is a big part of leadership and it happens not just with your initiatives but also within your mind. If you have a fixed mindset, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten because you’ll simply do what you’ve always done. When you’re nimble and flexible and open to change, you have a growth mindset that is strengthened by focus and a commitment to doing the hard work.
They don’t make faulty assumptions.
In one of my favorite books, “The Four Agreements,” author Don Miguel Ruiz writes: “Because we are afraid to ask for clarification, we make assumptions, and believe we are right about the assumptions; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong.” In any relationship—business, personal, familial—we assume someone knows exactly what we are thinking. But no one is inside our minds and no one has the exact same belief system or dreams that we have. We assume everyone sees and experiences life just like we do, yet no one experiences it like us. A mentally strong leader doesn’t make these assumptions. Instead, they ask questions, communicate clearly and assume nothing.
So, what’s the message? In leadership and life, there are things we should absolutely do but there are also things we shouldn’t do. When we’re faced with tough decisions, it’s how we move forward that determines the strength of our mindset and leadership. Baseball season kicked off this week, and I’d like to end this post with one of my favorite quotes from baseball legend Yogi Berra: “Keep trying. Stay humble. Trust your instincts. Most importantly, act. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”