Business is like sport: the most successful players love the game. Successful business leaders, if they love what they do, will always go the extra mile to succeed, they will also stand up again after being knocked over and they will look at obstacles and failures as, at worst, a small blip, and at best an opportunity to learn.
However, some business leaders are driven by the external trappings of success and although this can materially sustain them and drive them to great heights, it doesn’t make them happy. Nor will it make them as successful as they could be.
Intrinsic passion and doing what you love will always trump extrinsic drivers. The paradox is that if you operate from intrinsic self-worth then the extrinsic rewards generally follow, but this does not hold true the other way around.
Andrew Jenkins, author of: ‘You Are More Than You Think – the return to your authentic self’ believes success is all about knowing yourself and what is at your inner core. However not everyone focuses on the internal and instead they take the easier path and look extrinsically to fulfil their sense of self-worth.
This type of achieving is often accompanied by an unreasonable and extreme fear of failure that is a very real and constant nagging threat. This syndrome is termed by James Lawrence as the ‘cycle of grief’. This way of achieving has its consequences and comes at a cost.
So how can we achieve what we want and be fulfilled simply by playing to our unique intrinsic inborn strengths? What is the antidote to the cycle of grief? And how can we access our intrinsic core?
Andrew suggests that these are the two areas you need to work on, whether you are doing it yourself or working with a coach:
- Spend time raising the bar of your thinking. Become more aware of your deeper values and beliefs; your identity; and tap into your past to search for your personal dreams, aspirations and desires. It is important to gain a sense of purpose and connection to all these aspects. This will begin to develop a strong and centred sense of security that becomes a powerful inner compass of enduring personal security and significance.
- Develop your sense of self-worth. In this way you start to reach your true authentic self rather than merely achieving for the sake of having to continually proving your worth. When we start to focus on our own self-worth then the need to achieve is perceived very differently. Self-worth is no longer based solely on capabilities as the prize and what has been achieved, but rather on more empowering self-beliefs based on being fulfilled and purposeful instead.
Applying the above practically requires change and sometimes an element of risk too.
If you are starting a new business then ensure that the idea you are pursuing is aligned with your inner values and is something you will love doing 24/7.
If you already lead an established business then spend time looking at ways to ensure your intrinsic self and your passions can be aligned with what you are passionate about.
For example, Andrew once coached an operations director who was unhappy leading his department. He was not a natural fit in operations but he was exceptionally talented at innovating new products using cutting-edge technology. Through coaching he was able to pass on his operational responsibilities to another person passionate about this aspect of the business and take up a newly created position of technical director which he loved. In his first year he increased company turnover by £5m. In addition, the newly appointed operations director improved revenue by a further 15%. This is the power of focusing on your intrinsic passions, and why they will always trump drive when it comes to success.
Simon Sinek, best-selling author and ‘TED talk’ presenter puts it this way: “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called STRESS. Working for something we love is called PASSION.”
Now is the time to stop the stress and find your passion.
Andrew Jenkins is a management consultant and skilled facilitator and teacher of new thinking. He is the MD of PDx Consulting Ltd, a consultancy dedicated to developing leaders, managers and executives to perform at their very best in many well-known organisations across the world. He is also author of ‘You are more than you think – the return to your authentic self’. See: www.pdx-consulting.com and www.youaremorethanyouthink.co.uk