In a busy world filled with constant distractions, it’s rare to find elite leaders, who are actively being intentional about their lives and businesses versus just reacting to the endless demands of incoming emails, text messages, voice messages and social media updates.
These kinds of leaders are bombarded with just as many distractions and requests for their time as everybody else; yet they seem to be able to get it done and still have time left over to focus on whatever’s required, professionally or personally.
So, how is this possible? We can all recognize this kind of individual when working with one, but even then, it may be difficult to explain what makes them not only efficient, but effective, as well.
I’ve been studying these kinds of elite leaders for some time and I’ve noticed one consistent characteristic with all of them (Steve Jobs, Simon Sinek, Warren Buffett, Sam Walton, who was my mentor for most of my career with Walmart, to name a few). They all prefer(red) to wear the same kinds of clothes every day. Most of you reading this post right now are probably asking yourself why that’s so significant.
Sidebar: I’m a confessed, obsessive profiler. At the risk of sounding gender insensitive, I was raised with 5 sisters, a strong-willed Mother and Grandmother, and a Father that travelled a lot. As a result, I spent a lot more time listening and observing than I did talking. (Hey, the data is irrefutable. Women are a lot more socially constructed than men. 😊) I also became certified in body language translation and non-verbal communication some years ago in order to take my communication skills to the next level. It’s been an invaluable advantage in understanding the unspoken context or backstory with anyone or any environment.
So, back to why this common characteristic is so consistent with elite leaders.
Because wearing the same thing or type of thing every day is a physical manifestation indicating a core focus and value placed upon simplicity, which is freedom from complexity. It also represents a core focus and value placed upon a character trait I don’t see articulated or written about much at all, which is proactivity; causing something to happen rather than responding after something’s already happened.
Think about how simply profound this is as it relates to leadership in general. In other words, it’s not nuclear physics.
I’ve shared before that my three (3) favorite words in the English language are also my three (3) core values.
- Simple, because I want everyone involved to understand what’s necessary.
- Relevant, because if I’m going to participate, it must matter.
- Compelling, because I want to influence those following me in the same way.
This is the filter through which I pass all decisions having to do with who and how I spend my time.
What I want to share in this post are five (5) steps that I think elite leaders take on a daily basis that are game changers.
- They know where they’re going.
- They prioritize what’s important.
- They say no often.
- They limit the number of decisions they have to make every day.
- They’re intentional about who they spend time with.
Truth be told, the choice to be proactive or reactive is just that; a choice. Proactive leaders do not become this way by accident. They make a choice to do so and embed the necessary daily habits to ensure they stay that way.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it is this.
Are you also willing to take those same steps?