A study was conducted in 2010 by Green Peak Partners and Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
The objective of this study was to determine the 1 top trait that made successful CEOs successful. This study examined 72 executives at public and private companies with revenues from $50 million to $5 billion.
The outcome of this study revealed that self-awareness was the most significant trait associated with leadership success. In fact, the higher level of self-awareness, the higher level of leadership success.
And why just CEOs, becoming self-aware could make every one of us successful.
Now the question is how can you become more self aware? You can do so by developing the habit of daily journaling and reflecting.
It was like any other day on the 13th of March. I was sitting in front my laptop, when I suddenly heard a loud thud. What followed was the scream of my mother, and wife and me and my children running out to the door. Dad had had a fall, and to make it worse, he was just lying down there, looking disoriented, and speechless.
It seemed like time had come to a standstill. I felt ashamed of conveniently ignoring Dad’s complains since weeks about “feeling weak”.
I didn’t even have the time to think and we somehow managed to pick him up, rushed him to the hospital, and a long and difficult road to his diagnosis and treatment began.
One night, in the hospital as I was trying to get some rest, I recalled that my next Toastmasters project is “Focus on the Positive“. It was extremely ironical because by now I was full of negativity – What is going to happen next?, Is this it, Is he ever going to recover.
All the fears, anxieties and worries were bringing me down. But the project’s objectives were to write down my thoughts on a journal for at least two weeks – including me feelings, both positive and negative, record my successes and efforts and be grateful for three things every single day.
It is said that when the going gets tough the tough get going. I decided to take this Toastmasters’ project as a challenge.
The diagnostic tests were quite a pain moth mentally and physically, and what came out was what swept the ground from beneath our feet.
The doctors advised a therapy which is more famous for it’s horrendous side effects than it’s positive main effects.
I continued my journey of writing my journal – small wins, efforts, plans, gratitude and feelings.
One day I wrote down that although the therapy was tough, but the fact that three different doctors had given a consistent advice, was something to be grateful to God for.
This Wednesday was finally the day to get started with the first session of therapy for Dad. Despite staying positive till now, I did feel weak in my knees – were we doing the right thing? Is his body going to be able to take this therapy?
I looked at the pages of my journal that I had been writing for last 14 days and realized that most of those in the know – the doctors, and the ones who had gone through something similar, were giving us hope and confidence.
It dawned on me that we were following the right steps, and as someone has said, if you follow all the right steps, there is no way you will get a wrong result. My gratitude notes reminded me how blessed I was with so many people on our side genuinely helping us through this difficult time.
All that gave me courage to go ahead as we had planned. We went to the hospital, got him the treatment, and kept the focus right.
It’s been four days since Dad’s first therapy session. None of our worst fears have come true so far. Fingers crossed. We’re able to hang in there and look forward to better days ahead for him.
Negativity can come in anytime uninvited, but it is still important for us to focus on the positive. After all, what we focus on grows.
Tara Leigh Cobble has expressed that beautifully in this poem:
“Two natures beat within my breast. The one is foul, the one is blessed. The one I love, the one I hate. The one I feed will dominate.” ― Tara Leigh Cobble
Friends, when life seems tough, when uncertainty looms large, when it looks like the end of the road, I urge you to use this secret sauce and write down your anxiety inducing thoughts and stay focused on the positive.
PS: This speech / script was used to deliver my Focus On The Positive Elective project from Toastmasters – Engaging Humor path.