Hello, and welcome to the Leadership Done Right Podcast, Episode 59: Leadership Greatness by Small and Simple Actions.
In today’s episode, I will discuss how to become great leaders through small and simple means. We’ll discuss five actions you can take daily to become a great leader.
The Search for Gold
I want to start with a story from a speech I heard by M. Russell Ballard called Finding Joy through Loving Service. He said:
Oftentimes we are like the young merchant from Boston, who in 1849, as the story goes, was caught up in the fervor of the California gold rush. He sold all of his possessions to seek his fortune in the California rivers, which he was told were filled with gold nuggets so big that one could hardly carry them.
Discouragement Through Difficulties
Day after endless day, the young man dipped his pan into the river and came up empty. His only reward was a growing pile of rocks. Discouraged and broke, he was ready to quit until one day an old, experienced prospector said to him, “That’s quite a pile of rocks you are getting there, my boy.”
The young man replied, “There’s no gold here. I’m going back home.”
Walking over to the pile of rocks, the old prospector said, “Oh, there is gold all right. You just have to know where to find it.” He picked two rocks up in his hands and crashed them together. One of the rocks split open, revealing several flecks of gold sparkling in the sunlight.
Noticing a bulging leather pouch fastened to the prospector’s waist, the young man said, “I’m looking for nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not just tiny flecks.”
Progress Through Small and Simple Daily Actions
The old prospector extended his pouch toward the young man, who looked inside, expecting to see several large nuggets. He was stunned to see that the pouch was filled with thousands of flecks of gold.
The old prospector said, “Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you’re missing filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth.”
Lessons From The Search for Gold
There’s a lot of great lessons we can learn from this story. The young man in the story saw an opportunity and didn’t waste any time. He jumped on it. He then worked very hard to be successful, but lacked key knowledge. That led to disappointment and discouragement. When he was on the brink of quitting, he received valuable advice from the experienced prospector. His advice helped the young prospector know what he needed to do to be successful.
These are all great lessons, but I would like to focus on the advice from the experienced prospector. Through small and simple means, the old and experienced prospector was able to fill his pouch with gold. As leaders and influencers, we can also fill our leadership pouches with gold through small and simple means.
So what are small and simple actions we can take to fill our pouches with leadership gold? We’re going to take a quick break, and when we come back we’ll discuss five small and simple actions to fill our pouches with gold.
1. Read from the Best Books/Literature Regularly
The first action we can take to fill our leadership pouches with gold is to read from the best books and literature regularly. There are so many books as well as other forms of literature in the world today. Some are high quality while others are not even worth your mental energy. Because your time is so valuable, be picky on what you read. Spend your time and energy learning from the best books and forms of literature.
Find the books that give you the most value for your time and don’t be afraid to stop reading a book if it is just not worth it. There are also many other forms of literature including blogs, newspapers, magazines, review journals, etc. These are also good sources of information and learning, but just as with a book, don’t be afraid to stop reading if something is not worth your time.
2. Reflect on Past Experiences
Take time each day to reflect on the good and bad choices you made and the lessons you can learn. Identify how your choices are effecting others. Determine what you did well. Then reflect on it and why it went well so you can duplicate it in the future. And, identify how to be better and act differently so future outcomes are more desirable.
3. Regularly Seek Learning and Personal Growth
As we learn new knowledge and act on it, it changes how we think, act, and the way we see the world. We gradually become better people and more influential leaders.
If you are anything like me, there was probably a point in high school, college, or maybe even some other point when you thought you knew a lot. As you learned more, you realized how little you really knew and how short sided your perspective was. Since I went through that experience, my perspective and experience has changed and I’ve experienced significant personal growth. That helped me be more understanding, knowledgeable, and compassionate as a leader.
I recently heard a quote to the effect that we can only progress to the extent of our knowledge and experience. That basically means that we can only become an inspirational leader after we have put in hard work to gain learning, personal growth, and experience.
Education and learning also change us so we can inspire growth and change in others. They give us the edge we need to be competitive in a very competitive world.
In addition to the experience and knowledge from learning, it also helps with brain functionality. The Huffington Post article Why Learning Leads To Happiness by Philip Moeller explained it really well. “The benefits of learning and engagement are particularly important in promoting healthy aging. ‘Your mind is really like a muscle, and using it is a key’ to lifelong mental health, Berkman says. […] Most scientists believe there is a beneficial relationship between lifelong learning and staying socially active with mental well-being and happiness later in life.”
4. Take Advantage of Good Opportunities
Opportunities come our way on a regular basis. Sometimes those opportunities are good opportunities and sometimes they are not. When we effectively recognize and take advantage of the good opportunities, we become better leaders. We can more effectively take on challenges.
There are so many opportunities that it can be difficult to know which ones to pursue. In my article “Five Questions To Ask When Opportunity Knocks”, I explained how to know which opportunities are worth your effort. The key is finding opportunities that align with your purpose.
In Michael Hyatt’s blog post, Is It an Obstacle or an Opportunity?, he said, “If you want to improve the quality of your life or business, planning is essential. You have to be honest about your current reality, envision a better future, and then create a roadmap for getting from one to the other.”
5. Be Intentional
The Center for Intentional Leadership explains that “Intentional Leadership® is an approach that aligns desired outcomes, core values, and fundamental purpose for a significant increase in results.”
Intentional leaders look at life differently than the average person. They realize that success and progress don’t just happen by chance. They happen as a direct result of actions. Therefore, intentional leaders conscientiously choose what they will do with their time and energy.
As you do the five small and simple actions, you can become a better leader. Your leadership greatness may not happen over night, but it will happen. Be patient and work hard day in and day out.
Before we go, let’s recap the five small and simple actions to fill our leadership pouches with gold. They are:
- Read from the Best Books/Literature Regularly
- Reflect on Past Experiences
- Regularly Seek Learning and Personal Growth
- Take Advantage of Good Opportunities
- Be Intentional
I would love to hear your thoughts on what small and simple things you do to fill your leadership pouch with gold. Please share your thoughts on the show notes page for this episode!
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Leadership Done Right podcast. You can check out the show notes at LeadershipDoneRight.com/PodcastEpisode59. I will include an outline of the topics we discussed and related links.
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Thanks again for listening! My goal is to help you become a great leader, now go be the best leader you can be!
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