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A Key to Developing Personal Leadership Success

The potential to accomplish the impossible is so real, that it is worth all of our efforts to continually strive to find all the keys to make consistently tapping into the potential possible.

~Richard W. James, Personal Leadership ~


What great things would you attempt if you believed that you could handle whatever comes up? What would it take for you to believe, “I can handle this!” and begin to expand the territory of your comfort zone by engaging experiences that grow you potential? This article shares a personal leadership success strategy that you can begin to put into practice today, and week after week you will begin to see the positive impact it has on unleashing your personal leadership potential and empowering you to accomplish more great things.



Lead from Within

Jim Collins writes in the article, Collins on Chaos, “We cannot predict the future. But we can create it.” Taking an active role in the creation of your future requires that you accept full responsibility for your life. This choice activates your ability to “lead from within”.

Leading from within requires that you develop the habit of being aware of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, words and “life messages”. Recognizing the power that comes from nurturing positive internal messages encourages the personal belief, “I can handle what comes up in the pursuit of experiences that will grow my potential.” Go YOU! Stephen R. Covey wrote, “Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom…The power to choose, to respond, to change.”

Overcoming the FUD hurdle


Too often, when we face unexpected challenges and change, our focus is consumed with thoughts about “what we can’t do versus what we can do.” Our self-defeating thinking habits dampen our motivation to believe that “we have what it take to face the challenge head-on!” If we are not careful, this line of thinking will straight jacket our thoughts and emotions and keep us contained in fear, uncertainty and doubt. (FUD)

Challenges in life are inevitable. You can sit on the sidelines and watch as life passes you by, or get and stay in the game by making power moves that annihilate FUD. Being proactive toward your circumstances supports your capacity to lead from within which influences how you respond to your situation versus sitting passively by waiting for the circumstance to change. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

I’m sure you agree, “there will always be factors in life beyond our control,” such as, acts of God, the economy, global marketplace demands and the behavior of our neighbors. With the slew of factors that are beyond our control, there is one that is always in our control: the choice of how we respond to what happens in our life.

Establishing a performance benchmark, one which you hold yourself accountable for attaining each day is a critical power move that you can initiate to overcome FUD and achieve personal leadership success. Collins writes, “If two people facing the same environment, in the same year possessing the same goal, experience two completely different outcomes, one with success, the other with failure it simply cannot be the environment. They’re outcomes are different because of their behavior towards external influences.”

The 20-mile March

In the article, Collins on Chaos, Jim Collins provides the following example of the importance of establishing a “20-mile performance benchmark” on a daily basis and how the consistency of this benchmark leads to making progress in the good and bad times.
Imagine you are standing at the shore of the Pacific Ocean in San Diego about to embark on a 3000 mile journey to Maine. You are traveling by foot. Collins writes, “You decide you will do 20 miles a day until you reach your destination.” The 20-mile march becomes the performance benchmark that you achieve on a daily basis. You will accept NO EXCUSE to the contrary. Collins says, “Keep the pace, 20 miles a day. You stick with the 20 mile a day in the spring time, in the heat of the desert, when the weather cools, you may feel like nesting but you march your 20 miles. You get hit with snow, wind, and temperatures below zero – and all you want to do is stay in the tent. But you get up, you get dressed. You march your 20 miles until you reach Maine.”

Benefits of the 20-mile March

Think about that area in your life in which desire to experience positive change. How can you break down the desired change into manageable chunks of action that you can take consistently on a daily basis until the change is actualized?




Collins believes that the 20-mile march concept, “Builds confidence in your ability to perform well in adverse circumstances.” The practice improves your confidence as you increase your competency in the attainment of daily wins. He says, “Tangible achievements in the face of adversity reinforce the perspective that you can have confidence”. They serve as critical indicators that you are strong and smart enough to handle whatever comes up.

An “I can handle this” attitude enables you to create experiences above and beyond all you can think.  By putting the 20-mile march concept into practice, you will come face to face with the power of consistency towards a goal and unleash the wealth of your personal leadership potential.

The 20-mile march concept will challenge you to rise above your feelings, “when you don’t want to move” and to remain committed to a desired experience that is important to you. You daily efforts will serve as a reminder of the vision that you had in the beginning before you were met with the inevitable obstacles that you will face as you strive to achieve this great thing in your life. (It’s okay if it’s only great to you) Just know that the consistency of specific actions towards an important goal on a daily basis is how personal leadership greatness is born. Live as if someone depends on you accomplishing great things in life and you will achieve greatness.

It’s Your Move ~ Aspire Higher

This post is adapted from Jim Collins article “Collins on Chaos” in Fortune magazine: October 2011 issue.

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