August 3, 2023

Want to Thrive in Life? Take On Your Biggest Competitor

Be a source of inspiration, and identify why that gets you out of bed in the morning with a bounce in your step. And then be grateful at the end of the day that you have an unlimited amount of attitude and effort to honor it.

I’ll never forget one monthly conference call in 2011 with our CEO when my team was missing our targets. I did my best to explain, but quite frankly, there weren’t any extenuating circumstances. 

We couldn’t blame the weather, the competition, the government, or a pandemic. There was no fragrance we could spritz on our story to make it smell better. There was only one reality: we needed to do better. 

How I responded in the days and weeks to come would determine whether we would continue toward a dumpster fire of a year, and I felt the pressure of the situation. 

I was reminded that leaders cast a shadow and that we have a responsibility to work through bad days quickly and transparently so that we don’t pull everyone down.

Our ability to own our attitude and effort not only is good for us as individuals, but it’s also critical for everyone around us. When we model ownership of our efforts and their outcomes, that accountability spreads and you feel the tide lifting all boats.

Rather than leading in a style that worked for me, I had been leading the way I thought others expected me to. Instead, I needed to lean into what I knew worked so that I wouldn’t have any regrets about what happened next. For instance, I knew that trusting my team’s abilities, being intentional about our direction, and letting go versus holding on tighter would help us in the long run. 

Thankfully, my team fed off my renewed approach and direction. When I showed them that I believed we could thrive, they started to believe as well. 

It feels like so long ago when that turnaround on our team happened, but what worked for us is as relevant today as it was back then. So much so that it bears repeating. 

Here are four points I’d like to emphasize about Pathway 5 in my book: “Own Your Attitude and Effort.”

  1. Why is owning your attitude and effort important? 
    Because it’s the only unobstructed path to serving your why. No one can throw up barriers to having a great attitude and contributing your best efforts. They are the only two factors you can truly call your own. And while we can’t control our destiny, we can actively take part in it by exercising our free will and doing the next right thing. 

  2. How do you go about doing it? 
    Remember that serving your why requires an uncompromising attitude, which is manifested by an unwavering focus. Equally important, putting your effort into something is not about working 24/7 but about being present and following through on your commitments. 

    When you hear the word “effort,” I don’t want you do think if it in terms of quantity but, rather, quality. While putting in the time is important, effort is also about being action oriented and what you do during the time you’re focused on a goal. 

    Exercising your free will is not a fleeting moment; it’s a way of life that’s thoughtfully completed one day at a time. Take on your biggest competitor when it comes to attitude and effort: yourself. 

  3. How do you stay on track? 
    Up to this point, you might have focused on the two factors over which you have control. What’s also essential to this pathway is “ownership.” Owning your behaviors is about accountability. More to the point, staying on track means dutifully asking yourself every day if your micro-efforts roll up to your macro-priorities and, ultimately, your why. 

    Are there unnecessary tasks that drain your finite supply of executive function? Are you carrying yourself in a way that makes you proud? If not, can you surround yourself with trusted truth-tellers who will help you stick to your aspirations? Most importantly, have you protected time every day to ask these questions, to meditate on your values, goals, and spiritual priorities?

  4. What are the outcomes? 
    You might be asking, “What does owning your attitude and effort accomplish?” The obvious and most important reason is that you’re honoring your why. If you’ve spent any time at all pondering what fills you up spiritually, then serving that purpose means you’re living up to your potential and experiencing fulfillment. 

    Beyond that, this approach has obvious positive effects on everyone around you. I get an incredible sense of gratitude when I look around me and see friends, colleagues, or people in my sphere impacted by the seeds of leadership lessons I’ve sewn. Their success becomes my success, and we can enjoy a shared impact and even greater legacy. 

Today, I find that we have to be incredibly vigilant about looking for the good in our world. Owning our attitude and effort is embedded in our search for the positive. Let’s not waste our potential and the possibilities in one another. 

Be a source of inspiration, and identify why that gets you out of bed in the morning with a bounce in your step. And then be grateful at the end of the day that you have an unlimited amount of attitude and effort to honor it. 

Live your why,


P.S. You’re invited to a free leadership webinar hosted by Right Now Media. The session is titled “Leading Faithfully.” I’ll be joined by Rick Betenbough of Betenbough Companies and Chris Patton of His Way at Work for an inspiring conversation on how faith fuels leadership.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2023 | 12:00 PM CT

Can’t make it? Register anyway. All recipients will receive the full session recording. Click here to reserve your spot.

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