“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received — hatred. The great creators — the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors — stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anaesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid. But they won” (Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead)
Many people, and indeed many leaders, focus their attention and energy on the problems of the moment, the challenges that they face, and the obstacles that stand in the way of success. These issues weigh them down and sap available energy away from a preferred vision or an ideal goal. The process is subtle, and most are not aware that it is happening – they perhaps lack the emotional intelligence and self-evaluation ability to comprehend their situation and get themselves to a place where they can arrest losing their grip on their vision.
To commence, and sustain, true development in emotional intelligence, all leaders need to engage with the power of their best self. The reason is quite basic – changing a habit is tough. Whenever people attempt to change habits of how they think and behave, they must reverse decades of learning that has embedded itself in heavily travelled, highly reinforced neural pathways, solidified over years of repeating the habit. That’s why making lasting change for leaders requires a resolute commitment to a future vision of oneself – especially during stressful times or amid growing responsibilities.
Getting in touch with your passion is the first step towards meaningful change. Your passion, or ideal version of yourself, drives motivation and propels you to pursue your dreams. It enables you to see multiple paths to realising your vision, opening new possibilities, and forging new relationships. It releases a blinkered view of the way ahead and engenders a confidence that seeks opportunity. It highlights your potential and focuses on your strengths.
Developing that ideal image of yourself as a leader, or as a person in general, requires a deep dive inside to your gut level. It is about uncovering your foundational passions and desires for yourself – you know when you have found them when they resonate with who you truly are: “Yes, this is who I want to be and that is what I want to achieve.” Trying to be someone else is self-defeating – it demotivates. You neglect to concentrate on the person you want to be as you strive to become a reflection of another’s ideal self. Becoming someone else is impossible and inevitably leads to frustration and ultimately depression.
Identifying and describing your ideal self, the path you really want to follow in life, requires a huge dose of self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Once you clarify your vision, however, you stimulate hope and the ability to overcome the inertia of habits that hold you back.