Leader are intentional perpetual learners… sometimes by “harness”

To continue the thought of the week (being that leaders are Intentional perpetual learners ) my thoughts today are around building in the structure that ensures growth – in other words – when I put myself in a place (on purpose) where I must grow – then it is a support or a structure that forces growth – maybe not because I want to grow that day – but because I know something is on the line and I am “harnessed” into growth.

On dog sled teams – there is momentum and a given amount of pressure to perform when you’re strapped in with 15 other dogs and a musher – that pressure to perform will motivate a performance response – when we don’t necessarily feel like performing. They don’t want to let the rest of the team down – and there are “social consequences” to not performing.

When my friend, Nils, and I were on a training run – one of the dogs (Fatty) decided he wasn’t really into running that day – it brought the whole team down and eventually Nils stopped and we unhooked him and put him in the sled. He had missed it – he knew it – and every other team member on my team AND Nils team knew it – their body language communicated it and his communicated it, as well.

What could you “harness” to help your “Intentional” growth? At times, I’ve committed to teaching a class, starting a mentorship club, or having a leadership book study breakfast once a week. Another friend of mine has accountability partners that call him once a week to ask about his progress. The awkwardness of having to tell them you didn’t perform can be a motivator, a “harness” that supports the structure of growth.

Launch out there today – find something or someone to commit to that will “harness” you into a growth mode.

Leaders are INTENTIONAL perpetual learners

Yesterday I talked about leaders being perpetual learners – my thoughts today are around the intentional aspect of learning, growing, developing. Sometimes when I set out to grow – when I purpose to go to a new level there are different motivations behind it. When I first started in leadership – I was motivated to grow because I knew enough to know that I didn’t know enough. I had experiences that brought me face to face with personal and professional deficiencies or short comings. Case in point: At age 18, I was #1 in sales for the department I was working in and when the department management position became available – they turned to me to fill it. (There are a number of leadership lessons to be learned from that last statement – but those are for a different series of blogs) I called my first managers meeting for the next Saturday with the agenda to teach everyone else in the department how to sell better – long story short – no one showed up for the meeting. The pain of that event – caused me to want to grow and learn.

Today, I want to grow and learn because I still feel that I have not reached my potential. There are still better ways to do what I do, better ways to lead, teach, speak, facilitate, sell, etc.

Still, at other times, I become agitated that I feel stagnated or in a bit of a malaise or “funk” (if you will) and I INTENIONALLY start a fresh growth program – to use Emeril’s words – I “kick it up a notch”.

The trail of Iditarod Leadership is a lifetime – a journey. Of the reasons I’ve listed here (Pain, Potential, or malaise) which is most relevant to you today? Is there another reason for you to grow? The possibility of promotion or the threat of lay-offs?

In order for us to keep excitement and enthusiasm or “Adventure” in the journey, we must stretch out to new growth, new challenges – new “Life”

Purpose today – to grow with me – “INTENTIONALLY”

Leaders must be willing to be perpetual learners – if their leadership is to be sustained.

I have found that I am the happiest – and by that I mean the most internally satisfied with my adventure or what I’m calling my Iditarod Leadership adventure– when I am learning and growing – when I am stretching to learn something new or achieve something new – in an area of my passion. My passions are going to revolve around my adventures in leadership, sales, speaking, or something that involves helping people reach their potential. I love to read snippets or to listen to podcasts or audio books about new and fresh ideas around these areas. New growth always generates energy. It generates it in plants, trees, and when I choose to grow – choose to learn new things – to stretch – it generates tremendous energy and satisfaction in me.

On the trail – as the winter snow melts away – new life emerges – new spring vegetation. The race has been over for a number of weeks now and the mushers are already creating new plans and new growth opportunities for themselves and their teams.

Why do the same old things, year after year? Let the hunger for growth start – fuel the fire of passion for your life and business – ask yourself, with me today – where can I grow? Choose with me today – to find something to read – something to hear – something to learn – somewhere to grow.

Mush to your great adventure!