Thursday, August 19, 2004

Expounding further upon Zig Ziglar's dictum

Recipie for being a good leader: Love what you do. Look after yourself. Two simple phrases, yet most profound.

I'd been doing some more thinking about this one, and allow me to share some of my insights.

Love what you do:

When you love what you do, your head isn't cluttered with heaps of negative energy. Most of us have the keen experience of being terribly angry with someone, or about something. It's a well-documented fact -- yes, I realise this sounds more like armchair analysis, and forgive the utter dearth of empiricism -- that it requires tons more juice to stay angry at something, then it is to simply let it go and forgive. When you're loving what you're doing, your mind is free to subconsciously engage in creative strategising, because it's not sabotaging itself.

I suppose loving what you do results in an endless stream of innovative approaches to the things you do as well. Going to work -- be it waking and commuting to an office, or doing it from the cozy nook of your home office -- is no longer an exercise in manual labour. Sometimes, you can't wait to get there. Again, loving it makes you more receptive to ideas. The more readily you're able to generate ideas about a specific area of expertise, the more of an expert you are. Experts can be leaders, but not all leaders are experts. Being at expert at something (logically-speaking) is a **sufficient** condition for leading, though not a **necessary** one. The more you know, the better chances you have at excelling at what you know. The greater the probability others may wish to partake of your knowledge.

Love is a positive emotion that has other positive emotive spinoffs. At various other points in this thread, we've isolated some of the various behavioural characteristics of leaders. Persuasive, high-octane, knowledgeable dispensing of the leadership characteristics are likely outcomes from such love.

Now...on to "looking after yourself," the second part of the dictum.

Included in this might be fitness. 20 minutes of regular daily cardiovascular exercise is what most nutritionists and sports physicians would recommend as recommended for the average 'body.' (I know this because both my 55 year-old mom and 32-year old sister are personal trainers). Most people wouldn't spare even 20 mins. of their day for exercise, while they might be perfectly prepared to sit through a 90 minute film, or a 60 minute TV episode with perhaps 15 minutes of commercials -- a quarter of an hour that might have better devoted to one's health. When you are healthy, you think straight. When you think straight, you come up with better ideas. String a few of those days together, and -- voila -- you just might string a few people along with you.

Looking after yourself also means being easy on yourself. Not taking things too seriously. Easing up on the pressure. Fitness plays a very instrumental role in keeping not only your physiology in check, but as a result also your psychology. The more stress you have, the more breaks you'll need, and the more you need to 'look after yourself.' Good leaders are systematised creatures who follow solid routines that aren't necessarily money-based. Take the example of the 'decamillionaires' from Thomas Stanley's 20 year study of the phenomenon in his book "The Millionaire Mind." These people were found to collect coupons, repair their old shoes before buying a new pair, and took frequent vacations.

Lastly, looking after yourself means more than wellness. It means taking the proverbial bull by the horns, and making things happen. When you 'look after yourself' you don't necessarily wait for cues from others (eg. bosses, colleagues, bureaucrats) for the solutions to your life or business problems. Looking after yourself is a proactive solutions-based approach to making things happen all the time, and always doing, deciding, and delivering.

Zig Ziglar means all of this. He's just the quintessential master at distilling his knowledge so anyone can make it their own.


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