A firm resolve to succeed seems to shine out of those rare individuals who are able to move well-nigh impossible barriers to potential. This resolve carries them through a multitude of situations and people challenges that to the ordinary person does not seem possible or worthwhile attempting. At Leadership Platform we regularly come across real life examples of such resolve. It is worthy of a lifelong mission to study and emulate such courage and resolve.
These rare individuals seem to have entered into a contract with destiny, because they simply refuse to lie down and give up their search for excellence.
The destiny contract starts with me
As we carefully examine the examples of these performers we should not fail to appreciate and cherish our own achievements against difficult odds. Because such achievements may not appear to us at first glance to match the magnitude of some others, we may be missing one of the most crucial gifts in life – appreciation for our own unique march to fulfil our potential and destiny.
How do we measure greatness?
Over the years I have been involved in hundreds of personal interviews with many individuals from a rich variety of backgrounds. I am not at all convinced that those in my acquaintance who may have hit the public headlines are necessarily better people, leaders or more valuable contributors to the greater good than some that are virtually unknown by the public. Who is to say that the dedicated mother is of less long term significance that the headliners of the international world? What about the immense influence exerted over young lives by a dedicated and caring teacher? During the past few days I have had a conversation with my friend Ronnie who is terminally ill with cancer. His deeds are not necessarily reported in headlines yet his life is dotted with thousands of acts of goodness and virtue. He is coming to the end of a life characterised by firm resolve to be true to values that are firmly based on his faith in God and love for his family and those around him. No wonder he possesses a unique peace of mind while battling with extreme pain. The expression ‘destiny contract’ takes on new meaning when we look at his example.
It gives great pleasure to look for and find a multitude of superb leadership attributes in the so-called common person. The kind of resolve we normally associate with acclaimed people of the world are often found right in our midst, sometimes in the lives of common people in very difficult situations. I can think of at least two dozen such examples around me that I have had personal dealings with during the course of the past two weeks. I am sure the reader can think of similar experiences.
Attributes of the Destiny Contract
We use the term ‘destiny contract’ to describe the kind of attitude of firm resolve mentioned above. We find that this kind of resolve is a product of specific actions. People arrive at their own brand of destiny contract(s) in different ways, but some of the elements are universally applicable. In helping many individuals, leaders and groups to fashion their own destiny contracts, we apply the principals mentioned in a previous article in this column entitled the ‘Unity X Factor’.
It is worth repeating the description of the destiny chain given by Adriaan Groenewald:
“The first step in shifting and managing attitude is to understand the hard facts; second, openly, honestly and boldly identify and confront the negative perceptions of individuals; third, take individuals on a journey of exploring possible positives and even opportunities that the situation presents; fourth, help them see some bigger picture, a vision (organizational or personal) that gives context to the current situation; fifth, plot solutions, directions, actions; sixth, ensure relevant structures and resources are there to make the directions work; seventh, ensure follow through, evaluation, assessment of decided actions in order to adjust and do the necessary to achieve plans.”
As we develop the discipline to apply the above process in dealing with the situations we find ourselves in, we will surely develop a firm resolve to achieve beyond our normal expectations. Often the help of trained facilitators who share your sense of values will be of immense support in helping you and/or your team to climb to the next level of leadership. Barriers to potential can and are moved by those who develop the resolve to do so.
The fat cat syndrome
Leaders may be categorized into two groups: those who passionately strive after becoming ‘fat cats’ and those who are prepared to pay the price to develop to their full potential. The second category of leaders tends to orientate towards universal values and a desire to serve others. The first category tends to avoid people such as us who focus on development of potential rather than on fat cat status as such.
Those amongst us who focus on fat cat status are driven by ambition to match the social and prestige standing of people they admire as being ‘at the top’ in terms of power and money. They have a passionate admiration for ‘star’ status in some form or other. The many people I admire the most such as my friend Ronnie and others close to me have learnt the great secret that a good and value driven character is infinitely more important than fat cat status as such. They are motivated by destiny contracts that lift and inspire others as well.
How are you and I progressing in our quest for destiny contracts?
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Do you recognize some areas in yourself or your team that need improvement? Email Louis on firstname.lastname@example.org for more on creating “Leadership Fit” leaders that generate successful movement (performance) inside your organisation.