The Keys to Transforming Your Leadership Today
In the inspiring book Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, Scott Kelly describes his journey to become an astronaut, living for a year and a half in space and commanding both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.
While the book recounts many fascinating details about living in space and NASA training, I was most intrigued by a key turning point in Kelly’s life.
Kelly was a poor student in high school and during his first year of college. He spent his days in school staring out the window, watching the clock until school was dismissed and he could roam the woods and think up stunts that often landed him in the emergency room.
Unable to focus on school work, his grades suffered. He was so distracted that he ended up applying to the wrong college.
His freshman year of college found him at the bottom of his class, listless and directionless until two things transformed his life: Vision and Grit.
Vision Is Only the Start
He picked up a copy of The Right Stuff which describes the training and adventures of the early NASA test pilots and astronauts. Kelly was hooked.
He instantly knew that he wanted to become a Navy test pilot and eventually an astronaut.
Yet, as a young man with a poor academic record, low motivation and a history of coasting through life, Scott realized that his vision was not enough, he needed grit.
A key moment came during the first weekend at the Merchant Marine Academy. He called his brother and told him that he wanted to visit some friends on another campus for a party.
His brother said, “Are you crazy? If you are going to be a Navy test pilot, you need to spend the entire weekend in your dorm room and do every problem in your textbook until you can do them all PERFECTLY.”
When he started on Friday afternoon, distractions would pop up in his mind.
- “I need to sharpen my pencil.”
- “I should get a drink of water.”
- “I wonder what my friends are doing.”
Yet he resisted these distractions by remembering his vision of becoming a Navy test pilot. After a full weekend of study, he aced his first test and started down the road that would lead him to set the U.S. record for endurance space flight.
Can You Relate?
What is your vision? When you get to the end of the year and look back at the events of this year, what will you have learned? What new skills will you have? How will you have grown?
To accomplish your vision, how will you develop the power of grit?
Let me suggest three steps:
- Use a tool. Objective insights from an assessment tool that measures natural, hard-wired behavior like RightPath’s Path4 and Path6 assessments provide valuable understanding of your strengths, struggles, and how to relate to others.
- Make a plan. Too often vision only focuses on the final result, not the process to accomplish it. Take time to write down the steps to accomplish your goal. Be specific and describe the commitment of time, energy, and money you will invest in accomplishing your goal.
- Get a coach. A coach can be a powerful ally and help make change last. Not only does a good coach hold you accountable, but coaches like Kamau Bobb of Google provide new insights and perspectives that can help you overcome any obstacles and roadblocks you face. Drop me a note if I can be of help.
Start by Getting on the RightPath
Over my career, these steps have been my leadership lifeline. I’ve always had a vision, but these keys to grit-development have become disciplines of success that no leader should lose.
Without third-party insight, I’m running blind. But with the right tools, there is no limit to the places I can lead my team.
In fact, we have been using the insight tools RightPath’s Path4 and Path6 for over a decade, which is why I’m so excited about the “joint adventure” we’ve undertaken.
They are essential parts of my success path.
Influence Leadership wouldn’t have achieved such high levels of performance without equipping our leaders with
- High-level understanding of emotional intelligence
- Detailed training for building stronger relationships
- Enhanced communication between individuals, teams, and companies
- Tailor-made team and leadership development solutions
With RightPath, I’ve seen myself and my people increase accuracy, maximize team relationships, and continue to grow bigger and better as a company.
Our vision grows. Our grit increases—and the proof is in the results.