“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”
- Nathaniel Branden
Our third step to developing people requires awareness since developing others is about legacy, reproducing ourselves in some measure through those we’re developing. If done correctly, they will pass on what they have learned from us, so it’s essential to think generationally. Who we are is our gift to the world; let’s ask ourselves what leaders we intend to leave behind to make this world a better place?
Dr. Myles Munroe said, “The greatest act of leadership is mentoring. No matter how much you may learn, achieve, accumulate, or accomplish, if it all dies with you, then you are a generational failure.” Let us become aware of what lies within us and intentionally use it to develop others. Developing people is always about tomorrow.
The precursor to developing others begins with understanding ourselves. Awareness is an insightfulness that enables us to understand who we are, how we think and process information (about ourselves and others), and form our opinions. Stephen Covey called this level of awareness “True North.” If, as John Maxwell says, “We must know ourselves to grow ourselves,” then we must get to know others to develop them.
Present awareness enables us to understand the significant role our thinking plays in our perceptions, which form our thoughts, which drives our behaviors. With distortions kept to a minimum, we gain a clearer picture of others, their gifts, talents, and desires.
The practice of daily reflection enhances focus, brings clarity, sharpens intuition, and provides insight as to how we’ve arrived at where we are and the proper mapping of how to proceed to where we intend to be in the years ahead. It’s an exercise in setting our minds to follow our hearts. Awareness does just that.
“Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.”
- Soren Kierkegaard
It’s a fact that we are today where our thoughts have taken us, and we will be tomorrow where our thoughts take us. That’s true because our thoughts drive our behaviors.
James Allen said, “Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit. Good thoughts and actions never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results.” Our thoughts shape our beliefs; for this reason, we cannot develop others in any way, shape, or form contrary to our thinking. Stop for a moment and ask yourself what type of thoughts make up most of your thought Life?
Are your thoughts success-oriented or failure-prone?
Do you have an abundance mindset or a scarcity mindset?
Do you think the best or worst about others?
Do you share your thoughts or keep from divulging what you know?
Does the success of others make you happy or sad?
Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote, “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
“Holding low expectations for yourself and others is an indication your expector has expired.”
Beliefs are things we accept as accurate or as real. Our beliefs can be in the form of tightly held opinions or deep convictions. Our beliefs can either help us or hinder us when developing people. Whether we realize it or not, we pass on what we believe by our character and conduct; for this reason, it’s essential to align our thoughts, beliefs, gifts, and talents with our purpose.
Did you know your self-talk reveals the type of beliefs you hold? Therefore, awareness is most important. No one may hear you in the privacy of your home or office saying, “I don’t measure up,” I’m just not that good,” or “I’m tried helping people, it doesn’t work.”
Mark Cole commenting on believing in others, says, “Take a moment to think about the people who have made an impact on your life. Did they believe in you? I’d be willing to bet that the answer is a resounding yes.” Hence, the importance of believing in yourself! I cannot lead someone to believe something I do not, so begin to renovate your thoughts and beliefs; you’re most likely better than you think.
“Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their true image.”
- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
We have seen how our thoughts inform our beliefs, and our beliefs form our behavior. Our behavior is what people observe, and from that, they create their opinions of us. The reputation that precedes us begins with our repertoire of thoughts and beliefs. We and we alone are responsible for our behavior.
“The results of your life reflect the standards you’ve set.”
- Robin Sharma
Denis Waitley says, “The results you achieve will be in direct proportion to the effort you apply.” As leaders, developing people is our lifestyle, starting with our personal development. Without personal development, you place a lid on your potential and the potential of those you lead.
Keep in mind that you have experience, wisdom, and insights that those around you may not have. Walk those you lead through the process of learning from insights you gained from those who mentored you. For those you lead, the process adds to their learning and experience. Ken Blanchard said, “When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
– Ronald Reagan