A mother taught this keynote speaker to beat the odds by zeroing in on the “inside stuff”
Leadership, like a marathon, is an endurance event. On a day-to-day basis you are bombarded by challenges, having to do more with less, and keeping pace with the competition. Ultimately, when it comes to your victory as a leader, it is not the outside but the inside stuff that counts.
The greatest leadership lesson I learned was from someone who never held an official position as a leader, but who had what I feel is the greatest leadership position of all. That is being a mother. My mother taught me that in order to be a great leader, you first must be a great person. You cannot lead others until you can first lead yourself. This is why, in the end, in order to stay motivated as a leader, it is not the outside stuff that matters: It’s the inside stuff that counts.
The inside stuff is your “marathon mentality,” which is defined as the mindset to push through the walls of negativity, setbacks and obstacles to cross your finish line and achieve greater victory. In this article you will learn how to develop your marathon mentality and be victorious in the marathon of leadership.
On September 11, 2002, my life forever changed. At the age of 23, I was told by my doctor, “You have cancer.” After the cancer spread to the fluid in my brain, one of my kidneys began to fail and my temperature rose to more than 104 degrees. I slipped into an unconscious state, and doctors did not think I would live. Against all odds, I recovered and had a successful bone marrow transplant. Due to brain damage I had to relearn how to walk; against all odds, I went on to run five marathons on five continents.
Here are three victory strategies that helped me to stay motivated while conquering cancer three times, relearning how to walk, and running five marathons on five continents. Use these three strategies to develop your marathon mentality and stay motivated as a leader.
No. 1: Visualize Your Victory
There is a timeless truth that is written, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” As a leader, what is your vision? The first step in developing your marathon mentality is to have a clear vision of the victory you want to achieve. Once you can see it and believe it’s possible, you can do it. Lying in my hospital bed, I visualized myself crossing the finish line of a marathon. The key is focusing on the victory you are striving to achieve instead of fixating on all the challenges.
No. 2: Take Action
How do you run a marathon? One step at a time. In my talks, I share the “Massive Action Principle,” which is that the smallest actions produce the biggest results. In order to fulfill the victory you are visualizing, you must take action every single day. The key is to do something everyday that moves you closer to your victory. This builds momentum. Think back to science class and the principle of inertia. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, while objects in motion tend to stay in motion. It is not enough to stare up the steps; you have to step up the stairs. Successful leaders are willing to do the things today others will not do in order to achieve the victories of tomorrow. An effective leader leads by actions, not words.
No. 3: Check Your Attitude
In order to complete a marathon, I had to believe it was possible. One of the greatest challenges to stay motivated as a leader is negative self-talk, self-defeating inner dialogue, and that little voice telling you it is impossible. Once you have the attitude that your victory is possible, you will take the necessary action. In order to stay motivated as a leader, it is vital to check your attitude on a daily basis. One way to do this is through personal mastery. As a child, my grandfather helped me plant a garden. He told me two things to do every day: water the plants and pull the weeds. As a leader, your mind is like a garden. Personal mastery is watering your mind by developing yourself and pulling the weeds of negativity. The top thing you can do as a leader is to improve yourself.
Leadership, like a marathon, is an endurance event. It is a rollercoaster with ups, downs and surprising twists and turns. In order to stay motivated, you must develop your marathon mentality. Crossing the finish line was one of the greatest victories in my life. Through visualizing your victory, taking action and checking your attitude, you will be able to cross your finish line by staying motivated through developing your marathon mentality.
Matt Jones, from three-time cancer conqueror to life-changing inspirational speaker, is a top leadership keynote speaker. For more information, visit www.matthewdjones.com.