The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.
I’m still proudly Australian, but I have to say I’ve enjoyed the 2012 London Olympic Games most of all.
It wasn't just because the TV coverage was the best ever or that I was able to experience going to the Games for the first time in my life.
Beyond that, there was something particularly inspiring about the impact of these Olympics.
My disappointment with Australia’s overall results was more than compensated for by the pleasure of seeing so much joy and confidence being felt by the British, thanks to:
(1) the world beating performance of so many of their athletes; and
The voice of temptation starts up: "Those are really good quality truffles, you love them and you've been really good so far, so go on just have one. Nobody need know!"
Now I have to admit that I went very close to "sneaking" one!
But who am I trying to fool? And why am I doing this whole Lent thing anyway? Nobody else really gives a damn whether I do it or not.
The whole purpose is to demonstrate to myself that I can rise above the temptation.
If I "cheat", then the only person I'm really letting down is me!
Having made the decision to give up sugary food for Lent, I experienced the power of clarity and it was very liberating.
Normally, I would have had a brief tussle between two internal voices.
One would be like a small demanding child saying, "I want to have that!"
The other would be the controlling parent saying, "I shouldn't have that and I don't really need it"
More often than not, the needy demanding child within would win the battle.
I grew up in a family that followed the tenets of Christianity. I recall my dad once giving up meat for Lent (a big step for an Australian farmer who had a plentiful supply of quality fresh beef and lamb!).
Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck noticed the difference between a "fixed mindset" and a "growth mindset". Now people may vary in their innate abilities and potential, but which of these mindsets they choose can have a huge impact.
People with a fixed mindset assume their capabilities are already set. They therefore place a limit on themselves and will miss opportunities.
Those with a growth mindset recognise that application and experience enables them to achieve more in life. And so they usually do!
Having committed myself to accelerating the development of the next generation of leaders, I find it helpful to either reinforce or extend my existing knowledge on the subject.
His comments did both.
We agreed that some things have changed since his days as a young leader stepping up into big roles in his 20's and 30's, compared to today's new generation of leaders. These include:
We can experience the imposter syndrome when we find ourselves in a situation and then start to question whether we're actually good enough to be there, and whether we'll cope with any challenges. There is a little voice inside our head telling us that we may fail because we are trying to do something we've not done before. We can feel like a fraud, waiting to be found out!
How we relate with that little voice makes all the difference.
Here are 3 different ways (illustrated by examples from my own life):
I must confess I was unaware of how King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth II) had to overcome his affliction of stammering, particularly after his brother Edward VIII abdicated from the throne, leaving George with no alternative but to step into the crucial figurehead role when Britain was entering World War II.
Childhood trauma carried into adult life was clearly a factor behind his afflication and it was the unorthodox methods of an ex-actor from Australia, Lionel Logue, that helped prepare him physically and mentally for leadership and speaking powerfully.