8 – They take ownership and create their success
They understand that they are responsible for their success and that good luck is not something that magically happens. “Luck” is simply the result of hard work and identifying opportunities. They know that one must earn the right to be successful. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill states, “You are the master of your destiny.” You can influence, direct, and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.
Owning your battlefield is critical for mission success in combat and essential for business growth and profitability. Leaders must first hold themselves accountable in order to create a culture of accountability within the team.
9 – They surround themselves with people who make them better
According to Jim Rohn, you are the average of your five closest friends. Successful people know this, and that is why they keep company with mentors and other successful people. In Tribes by Seth Godin, you are encouraged to find your tribe and make a difference in ALL of your lives.
On the contrary, when we allow ourselves to maintain connections with negative people that don’t wish us well, we limit our ability to thrive. So cut the haters from your life and move on. Wish them well, then disengage.
10 – They inspire others to be successful
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a way of helping others to cultivate their creativity. According to Steve Jobs, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it; they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile.”
Effective leadership isn’t about cultivating a flock of followers who blindly follow the will of the leader. It’s about developing more autonomous leaders at every level of the organization.
11 – They give to causes greater than themselves
The best leaders find ways to give back to causes they are passionate about. Effective leadership requires life-long learning, the study of leadership, feedback, mentorship, and constant course correction.
Great leaders are humble and believe they deserve nothing but are grateful for everything. The only cure for this wonderful ailment is volunteerism and giving back.
12 – They have a consistent schedule, on weekdays and weekends
Rameet Chawla, founder of Fueled, believes a consistent schedule helps with prioritization and focusing on what is important. With a consistent schedule, you are better driven to achieve success.
Discipline and accountability are the path to fulfillment and satisfaction. Why? Because disciplined leaders who maintain consistent schedules accomplish more of their individual and team goals.
13 – They have a detailed plan for just about everything
Before leaving the office at night, Kenneth Chenault, former CEO of American Express, wrote down the top three things he wants to accomplish the next day. He begins each day with this list.
I do the same thing. Before “shutting down” for the day to spend time with loved ones, exercise or just relax, review that day’s list of priorities. When it makes sense, move items not accomplished to the next day. Plan for tomorrow today so you can hit the ground running.
14 – They never procrastinate or make excuses
This goes back to discipline, accountability, and proper planning. Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Successful people do not take chances, they take action and get the tough assignments done first.
In the SEAL Teams, we don’t have time for excuses. We plan, violently execute, debrief and keep moving forward. Our After-Action Review methodology has no place for excuse-making. It is a critical part of our feedback loop and culture of learning.
15 – They persevere and thrive on adversity
One of my favorite lines from the Navy SEAL Ethos states: I persevere and thrive on adversity. Simply put, we lean into pain, anxiety and suffering and use it as fuel for our journey ahead.
The most effective leaders constantly pursue greater mental fortitude so they can lead with conviction, confidence and authenticity. The get comfortable being uncomfortable every chance they get.
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