Imagine standing up in front of your CEO and senior leadership team, presenting a 20-minute keynote (with no notes or bullet points on slides) on an idea you have for your business; one that is well-thought through; that you have been developing outside your day job for the last 8 months; an idea that will drive change in organisational behaviour and company performance – with the aim of getting a high five and ‘Go for it’ from your leaders? Are you up for it?
Exciting? Maybe. Challenging? Too right it is.
For the last 8 months I have had the honour of working with some of the best and brightest in organisation ‘X’ developing their leadership capability, ideation skills, personal positioning and confidence in their individual brilliance. At times I have no doubt that these corporate students didn’t like me much as I pushed and stretched, challenged and questioned for the simple reason that I saw so much more in each of them.
Two weeks ago these employees graduated, presenting their keynotes to the senior leadership team and yes their individual brilliance shone brightly as they stepped well and truly in to their spotlight. The future leadership pipeline is now there to be leveraged!
Like many organisations this business, its’ leaders and team are going through significant change. And during times of change we can often feel like we’re starring in our own reality TV show – whether it be on the set of ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’, a strategic player in your own outwit, outplay, outlast game of ‘Survivor’ or even entering some internal blind audition process not being sure whether you are going to get a chair to turn saying ‘hell yeah join my team’ or a ‘sorry not today, try next time’. And lets face it, at its worse, ‘You’re Fired’.
Now here’s the thing. The individuals that reached the end of this program got there on their own accord. Yes I pushed and prodded, really hard at times. To reach the end, during such times of organisational change and uncertainty took determination, a significant amount of personal compromise and most of all an inner hunger.
How hungry are you? Really?
Here’s the thing – you can have all of the determination and drive in the world – all of the passion, the vision and purpose imaginable – but unless you are able to answer ‘how hungry are you?’ with honesty (and with the correct response), then that ‘yes I did it’ is not going to materialise.
How badly do you want to achieve your goal?
How much are you prepared to sacrifice along the way?
How many people do you know who have said ‘I really want X or Y’ and have set themselves out plans, roadmaps, vision boards – and yet years, even months, later those plans are sitting untouched and forgotten, often replaced with excuses, ‘I cant’s’ and ‘if only’? This doesn’t make them bad people. It makes them like 99% of us, who don’t have that singular inner heat, that fire in the belly which sets aside the extraordinary people who are willing to say ‘I am starving’ when asked the metaphorical hunger question.
Hunger fuels the grit to keep going. In Angela Duckworth’s TED talk ‘The Key to Success? Grit’, she says, ‘Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day-in, day-out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.’
There are a myriad of opportunities for those willing to seek them out and grab them. Of course it’s scary as hell sometimes, maybe even all the time. But if you have that fire within, then you will seize the day, the month, the year, the opportunity. You will know that with every decision comes a compromise. You will accept and own the decisions you’ve made and know that there are NO excuses; that ultimately you own your journey, your life, your decision – right there, right then grabbing it firmly in both hands.
Like the students that graduated, who felt amazing and whose fire was well and truly ignited as a result of the program ask yourself how hungry are you?
How hungry are you to trust those that want to help, to try new things, to quite likely fail along the way at something, to in the end succeed?
Because that hunger is the one thing that drives momentum, change and action. Hunger is the one thing that will ultimately get you closer to the graduation of your own dreams.