Leadership Principles For Strength in Hard Times



(Contd from last edition)

You must love yourself too.

One of the most painful things in life is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. When was the last time someone told you that they loved you just the way you are, and that what you think and how you feel matter? When was the last time someone told you that you did a good job, or took you someplace, simply because they know you feel happy when you’re there? When was the last time that “someone” was YOU?

Don’t let others make decisions for you.

Sometimes you just have to live, not caring what others think of you, shake off the drama, and prove to YOURSELF that you’re better than they think you are.

Resentment hurts you, not them.

Always forgive people and move on, even if they never ask for your forgiveness. Don’t do it for them – do it for you. Grudges are a waste of happiness. Get that unnecessary stress out of your life right now.

Leadership Principles For Strength in Hard Times
Leadership Principles For Strength in Hard Times

You’re not alone. Everyone has problems.

To lose sleep worrying about a friend. To have trouble picking yourself up after someone lets you down. To feel like less because someone didn’t love you enough to stay. To be afraid to try something new for fear you’ll fail. None of this means you’re dysfunctional or crazy. It just means you’re human, and that you need a little time to right yourself.

You are not alone. No matter how embarrassed or pathetic you feel about your own situation, there are others out there experiencing the same emotions. When you hear yourself say, “I am all alone,” it is your mind trying to sell you a lie.

You still have a lot to be thankful for.

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of brave people who are over- coming it. Sometimes you have to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what’s coming next. Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”

Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective. You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You didn’t go to sleep outside. You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning. You hardly broke a sweat today. You didn’t spend a minute in fear. You have access to clean drinking water. You have access to medical care. You have access to the Internet. You can read. Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.

  1. Consciously nurture your inner hope.

A loss, a worry, an illness, a dream crushed – no matter how deep your hurt or how high your aspirations – do yourself a favour and pause at least once a day, place your hands over your heart and say aloud, “Hope lives here.”

It’s better to be hurt by the truth, than comforted by a lie.

We need more people like him

You must see things how they are instead of how you hoped, wished, or expected them to be. It’s always better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie.

It’s hard to tell exactly how close you are to success.

Connecting the dots going forward is nearly impossible, but when you look backward it always makes perfect sense. Success is often closer than it seems, and arrives suddenly, when you least expect it.

Not getting what you want can be a blessing.

Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of good luck, because it forces you re-evaluate things, opening new doors to opportunities and information you would have otherwise overlooked.

Laughter is the best medicine for stress.

Laugh at yourself often. Find the humour in whatever situation you’re in. Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.

Mistakes are important to make.

We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve let people take advantage of us, and we’ve accepted way less than we deserve. But if you think about it, we’ve learnt a lot from our bad choices, and even though there are some things we can never recover and people who will never be sorry, we now know better for next time. We now have more power to shape our future. Remember, failure is not falling down; failure is staying down when you have the choice to get back up. Get back up! Oftentimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together.

Worrying is literally a waste of energy.

Worry will not drain tomorrow of its troubles; it will drain you of your strength today.

Even when it’s hard to move, take small steps forward.

Especially in trying times, it’s important to continuously push yourself forward. Be- cause momentum is everything! As long as you keep the momentum positive – even if you’re moving at a snail’s pace – you’ll eventually get to the finish line. So, celebrate every step you take today, no matter how small. Because every step will lead you farther away from where you were yesterday and closer to where you want to be tomorrow. Be it a better life or a dream we long to realise, we reach our destinations by taking many, many small steps in the same direction, one at a time.

There will always be people who dislike you.

You can’t be everything to everyone. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks differently. So, concentrate on doing what you know in your heart is right. What others think and say about you isn’t all that important. What is important is how you feel about yourself.

You are better off without some people you thought you needed.

The sad truth is, there are some people who will only be there for you as long as you have something they need. When you no longer serve a purpose to them, they will leave. The good news is, if you tough it out, you’ll eventually weed these people out of your life and be left with some great friends you can always count on.

Leadership: Yesterday, Today and the Future (5)

You are ONLY competing against yourself.

When you catch yourself comparing yourself with a colleague, neighbour, friend, or someone famous, stop! Realise that you are different, with different strengths – strengths these other people don’t possess. Take a moment to reflect on all the awe- some abilities you have and to be grateful for all the good things in your life.


You can’t control everything that happens to you.

But you can control how you react to things. Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects — whether you’re happy or not depends greatly on which aspects you focus on. For instance: Did you catch a head cold? At least it’s only a temporary virus and nothing life-threatening. Did you lose a basketball game? Thankfully you got to spend the afternoon with friends doing something fun and healthy. Did your stock market savings go down? It’ll bounce back in the long-term. And besides, it’s great that you’ve been diligent and fortunate enough to save a nest egg of savings when many people are barely making ends meet. You get the idea.

Life is NOT easy.

If you expect it to be, you will perpetually disappoint yourself. Achieving anything worthwhile in life takes effort. So, start every morning ready to run farther than you did yesterday and fight harder than you ever have before. Above all, make sure you properly align your efforts with your goals. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.

Your future is spotless.

Regardless of how filthy your past has been, your future is still spotless. Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday. Don’t look back unless it’s a good view. Every day is a fresh start. Each day is a new beginning. Every morning we wake up is the first day of the rest of our life. One of the very best ways to get beyond past troubles is to concentrate all of your attention and effort on doing something that your future self will thank you for.

You are not trapped; you just need to re-learn a few things.

We all have doubts that make us feel trapped at times. If you doubt your ability to make a life-altering decision, to take on a new chapter in your life, or to fend for yourself after years of being overly-fostered, consider this: Surely if a bird with healthy wings is locked in a cage long enough, she will doubt her own ability to fly. You still have your wings, but your muscles are weak. Train them and stretch them slowly. Give yourself time. You’ll be flying again soon.

Everything in life is two-sided.

There is good reason why we can’t expect to feel pleasure without ever feeling pain; joy without ever feeling sorrow; confident without ever feeling fear; calm without ever feeling restless; hope without ever feeling despair: There is no such thing as a one-sided coin in life, with which one can buy a pain-free, trouble-free existence.

Character Traits of Successful Leaders

You always have a choice.

No matter what, there are always at least two options. If you can’t physically change something, you can change the way you think about it. You can sit in the dark, or you can find your inner light and discover powerful pieces of yourself you never knew existed. You can view a crisis as an invitation to learn something new, viewing the shake-up in your outer world as an enlightening opportunity to wake-up your inner world.

Let others in when you’re in a dark place.

No, they won’t always be able to pull you out of the dark place you’re in, but the light that spills in when they enter will at least show you which way the door is.

If you ask negative questions, you will get negative answers.

There are no positive answers to, “Why me?” “Why didn’t I?” “What if?” etc. Would you allow someone else to ask you the demoralising questions you sometimes ask yourself? I doubt it. So, stop and swap them for questions that push you in a positive direction. For instance, “What have I learnt from this experience?” “What do I have control over?” “What can I do right now to move forward?”

The end is a new beginning.

Say to yourself: “Dear Past, thank you for all the life lessons you have taught me. Dear Future, I am ready now!” Because a great beginning always occurs at the point you thought would be the end of everything.

You are not a victim; you are a victor.

Remember always that you are not a victim but a victor. You must never allow yourself to be the centre of pity and sympathy. The Creator has created you in His own image and He is capable of turning your mess into a message, your test into a testimony and your trial into a triumph.

Run after your destiny daily.

Desire to run after your destiny daily. Do not stroll, do not walk, do not meander, do not wander, but always run after your destiny on a daily basis. The proof of desire is pursuit. Pursue that goal that destiny has handed over to you daily. Today may be hard, tomorrow could be worse, but there will be sunshine in the day after tomorrow, according to Jack Ma. Make each day count on the pursuit of your life goals.

Don’t work hard, work smart.

It is not enough to know what to do as a leader, also strive to know how to do it better. Be prepared to do the right thing to fuel effectiveness, do things in the right way to fuel efficiency and be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the ecosystem.

Lere Baale is a Director of Business School Netherlands International www.bsn-mba.net and a Certified Consultant with focus on Agile Organization Transformation at Howes Group www.howesgroup.com


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