Yesterday’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster
If you’ve ever read Jim Rohn’s Good to Great, Jim shares some great advice with us about how to stay focused on becoming great and not settling for good! The enemy of great is good. The primary reason so few leaders or organizations ever become great is because they get good and then stop. They stop growing, learning, risking, and changing. They use their track record or prior successes as evidence that they’ve arrived. Believing their own headlines, the leaders in these successful organizations are ready to write it down, build the manual, and document the formula. This mentality shifts their business from a growth to a maintenance mindset.
This week, I want to quote some inspiration from Drago. He shared that – Neither you nor your business ever “arrives.” We never get to the place where there’s nothing more to be done and nothing more to be said. In the words of Dave Anderson, “Yesterday’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster.” What you strutted yesterday, the next day is just cleaning dust off of shelves.
Distinguishing between a “goal mindset” and a “growth mindset” can make a big difference. A person with a “goal mindset” has very tangible, numerical goals to achieve over a specific period of time. Nothing is wrong with clearly defined goals, but there’s a better way of thinking that I call a “growth mindset.” A growth mindset recognizes goals on the journey, but only as part of a process—not as the end results.
When goal-oriented people hit a milestone, they have a tendency to settle very quickly, but when growth-minded individuals hit a goal, they blow right on by because they’re constantly learning and growing.
Success has a brutal side: It can make you arrogant, it can make you complacent, and it can close your mind. To survive the temptations of triumph, we must realize that success is not the point and should never be the ultimate objective of an enterprise. The goal of business and life is to strive to reach full potential. Full potential can be defined as focusing on seeing how far you can go, how good you can get, and how many people you can bring with you. Reality dictates that you will most likely never reach your full potential, but the journey keeps you humble, hungry, and focused. What you become in the process helps you and your organization make the leap from good to great. Use your success as a stepping stone, not a pedestal.
Leaders of successful organizations are tempted to stop working on themselves. They continue to work hard on their job, but they have a tendency to neglect personal growth. They use their experience and track record as a license never to read another book and an excuse never to attend another developmental course in their field. They point to their acclaim and accomplishments and decide to rely on the skills they have learned in the past to run the rest of their career. They tend to develop arrogance of intelligence that creates a disabling ignorance. This energy disables them, their people, and, as a result, their business.
Growing people grow people. But when you don’t grow, you plateau. It’s just a matter of time. Once this happens, you plateau everyone working for you. When I as a leader go flat, my influence with everybody in my organization fizzles and fades. When the leader doesn’t grow, the people don’t grow. It’s the Law of the Lid; a stagnant leader stunts the growth of the organization.
Let me share with you four benefits of pursuing your potential, especially during seasons of success.
- We have higher self-esteem. People who are constantly learning and growing have a positive self-image.
- We are willing to change and risk. One of the obvious evidences of growing people is that they are constantly changing and risking. Show me a person that doesn’t change, that doesn’t risk, and I’ll show you a person that’s not growing.
- Our passion increases. When we begin to grow personally, our passion for life and learning begins to increase proportionately.
- We grow others. What a leader does determines what everybody else is going to do. The people don’t pass the leader. An organization’s growth doesn’t outpace the leader’s progress. As I grow myself, I set the pace for growth for others.
One of the most amazing things to me is how much room there is at the top. On the other hand, it’s jam-packed and crowded at the bottom. On the streets of average, there’s traffic and congestion, but success has so few people on the roads. It’s amazing how the higher you go, the less people there are. Three percent of the people in the United States have a library card. Six percent of Americans believe Elvis is still alive. Trust me, there’s a lot of room at the top.