Determination is a key trait of successful leaders

Determination is a key trait of successful leaders
June 20, 2017

Determined leaders are the strongest and most successful. But where does their determination, their seemingly natural fortitude come from? Does one have to be born with it or is it a trait that can be cultivated?

For me, determination is the combination of a leader’s motivation and passion to achieve a noble goal coupled with a calculated plan for success. A great plan isn’t likely to be well executed without passion, and a passionate leader without a plan is like a captain without a ship.

The most determined leaders are the ones with emotional strength that is not easily shaken. You can see this in business, sports or even certain people fighting illness. Determination is not about the absence of fear, but rather the ability to be brave in the face of fear.

It’s fantastic if you’re brimming with natural determination. It has probably served you well in life. But even if you’re someone who tends to live with anxiety and worries too much about the risks, there are things you can do to help build your internal determination.

Developing determination is the process of building your mental muscle the way an athlete builds their physical muscles. It requires practice, energy and consistency along with the belief that you’re becoming a stronger leader. It’s ironic, but you must be determined that you can develop your determination before you begin.

Here are a 5 strategies I provide emerging leaders who I work one-on-one with to help build their determination:

Set priorities – What’s really important to you? Leaders who treat everything as equally important are ineffective, whether it’s staff or projects. Knowing that A is more important than B, which is more important than C is the first step toward success.

Stop wanting to control other’s opinions or beliefs – You have a finite amount of energy and time. Stop wasting it being upset because you have no say or trying to change someone’s opinion when it won’t affect your success. If your lack of input could hinder your work, use your energy to find a way to influence those who do have input. If a contrary opinion doesn’t negatively impact your chance of success, walk away. Trying to force others to conform to your beliefs is a sign of insecurity.

Dispatch resentment – I have never met a truly successful, emotionally strong leader who feels envy or resentment. When you see somebody reach a goal, is your naturally tendency to feel happy for that person or to feel jealous? If it’s the latter, no worries, it’s not uncommon. The first step towards eliminating these negative behaviors is to stop holding pity parties for yourself. Resentment does nothing but deplete the mental energy you need to become a successful leader.

Like’s attract – Success brings energy and successful people tend to congregate around similar types. Who are you spending your time around? Do they bring you up or hold you down? The fire of determination in your belly can be stoked or extinguished by the company you keep.

Follow your gut – I’ll talk more about this in an upcoming blog, but for now I’ll leave you with this parting note. There are actually scientific studies supporting trust of your initial reaction – your gut instinct – which leads to more success than failure. Don’t ignore due diligence, but also listen to that little voice inside that gave you the first answer. It’s the same voice that controls determination.

Much like building a healthy physical body, determination doesn’t develop overnight. It’s one of those things that only seem to appear out of nowhere after you’ve put in a lot of hard work. And just like it’s easy to skip that trip to the gym when you’re tired, the path of least resistance in your life usually means not exercising determination.

Determination is not about instant gratification. It is the exact opposite. Take the person who builds their business empire from nothing and the person who has it handed to them as a birthright. Which one of these people do you think is more determined? I’m betting my money with the person who worked for it.

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Posted in Blog, Mindset by Mari Pizarro