Throughout my leadership journey, I’ve heard one constant refrain--people are your greatest asset because they have within them the mind, heart, and spirit to do great things. Having worked with thousands of individuals over the past forty years of my professional life, I used to think, “well, that depends on which people you're talking about." Which brings us to the genuine question, is there an innate great encoded in every single human being? Do we have the seeds of success embedded into our DNA waiting patiently for the trigger that causes them to begin manifesting? I used to think the answer was ‘no,' but now I see it is ‘yes.'
The evolution of my discovery comes on the heels of my doctoral research on the theory of motivation and how people respond to the stresses called life. After years of talking with people to uncover what makes them act, react, stagnate, or regress, there's an authentic thread that crosses all our beings. Opportunities to advance and adapt are within all our power, so why the wide variation in outcomes? Why are there have and have nots? Why do some fail to launch while others blaze a legacy that lights the universe? The answer is simple: they saw and did what needed to be done. They held themselves responsible and acted accordingly.
My father used to say, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. But you can put salt in his oats and make him thirsty.” I always enjoyed this line and imagined as a young leader if I could just motivate people enough, they would eventually spark and be on their way. I was completely wrong about this as well. You see, no matter how we set someone up for success, the decision to act and to continue to respond with diligence and perseverance is wholly on the individual. A horse still must taste the salty oats and drink the water. In other words, I can give you the greatest gift in the world guaranteed to solve all your problems, but if you don’t accept it, open it up and put it to use, nothing is ever going to change.
As I reflect on my first 55 years on this planet, I repeatedly heard the same conversations, the same excuses, the same blaming, and I realized that unless we start putting ownership where it belongs, we are making the problem universally worse. Because of my upbringing, I witnessed successes who shared how life's challenges are overcome. They never, ever, ever could blame anything on anyone other than themselves. They taught full accountability, and I drank deeply from that well and still do today. The biggest struggle I see with people of all ages from all walks of life all over the globe is their unwillingness to move past their failures and step up to the plate of life and take a swing. I struggled with this for years.
They say the difference between a pat on the back and a kick in the seat is 17 inches. Perhaps it’s time we stopped coddling and cajoling and started letting people fail. I can hear some of you saying, “Tracey, that’s just so mean. Where’s your grace and mercy?” And every time we say this to ourselves or someone else, we become an enabling part of the problem. You need to unlock your own greatness. If you don’t want to do anything to help yourself, what on earth can anyone else do for you? Find out what you lack and grab it. Enlist mentors. Read books. Cut the cord. Live a healthy lifestyle. Quit stressing. Quit blaming the government, religion, gender, or nationality. The only horse in your race is you. Silence the stinkin’ thinkin’. You have greatness in you, and the more we tiptoe around it, the deeper in trouble you get.
You are great. Time to start acting like it. Do it now because the longer you wait, the further you’re extinguishing your own flame and there will come a time when you’ll no longer be able to reignite. For those of you who heed this message, welcome back to life! You are about to begin living in a manner you never thought possible, and the rest of your life will be the best of your life.
My favorite read to get me propelled into motion is our Life Changing Classic, The New Common Denominator of Success by Albert E.N, Gray. Get copies today for yourself and everyone you see greatness in!