If you’re a very high level leader in a large organization, government, or state, you live a good part of your life in a bubble. The higher in your organization you are the bigger, stronger, and least transparent the bubble becomes.
It is a form of entropy that grows with rank.
Of course, You may disagree with this statements, but that’s because you live in a bubble. Obviously the bubble can’t be seen from the inside but it is pretty obvious to anyone looking at it from the outside.
The bubble causes lots of issues for leaders. Generally speaking the bubble makes it more challenging to be an effective leader. That’s because not only can you not see the bubble, you can’t see the haze the bubble puts around everything you do see. The bubble also muffles the voices of a good many people you talk with.
Now, it’s not anything that a leader does that causes the bubble. A bit of the bubble is caused by people’s almost natural fear of being themselves around what I’ll call an “authority figure.” When you’re the boss you have a measure of control over a big part of your people’s lives and that tends to make a lot of them a bit skittish.
The biggest cause of the bubble however is what leaders don’t do. They don’t take concrete steps to escape the bubble or better yet, simply destroy the bubble entirely. They do not make themselves an approachable leader.
So, how does a leader get outside the bubble or eliminate it completely?
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Transparent, consistent, honest, open, frequent, wide-ranging, real, two-way communication. Communication is a great way to bring downs walls and burst bubbles. There are many ways to effectively communicate these days, even if your team is very large.
Nothing will ever replace face-to face conversations. No matter what anybody says, nothing will replace the personal touch. So as I suggest a couple of alternatives to live, personal interactions please understand that I’m not suggesting you use these instead of personal communication, I’m suggesting to use these along with your frequent human interactions.
Write a company or organization blog. Don’t have it written, write it yourself. Seriously, a blog post saying hey, here’s what happening lately should take less than 30 minutes to write. Once or twice a month is enough and a reply or two can be done on the fly.
Obviously you can’t share proprietary information or make anyone an inside trader but you can stay more visible. The reality today is that people read blogs, your people will most certainly read yours. You can share your weekend plans, tell a story about your family, discuss a topic in the news. You may wonder why your people would care but know this: they do. You had better hope they do because if they don’t care about you as a person they can’t care about you as a leader. Let them know you’re human, just like them.
Do a weekly Podcast. A two or three minute podcast with current information and a shot of motivation delivered straight to your team’s email each Monday morning. Again, it’s purely conversational, personal and connecting. A two or three minute podcast shouldn’t take much longer to record than, well than, two or three minutes.
Both of these ideas require time. The question is does interacting with your people seem like an expense of your time or an investment of your time? As a leader, remaining close to the people who make-up your organization is priceless. It costs so little yet means so much.
This is an investment that will pay returns almost immediately, and unlike most investments this one is almost a sure thing. Why wouldn’t a leader make this investment today?
Because only the persistent leader who communicates well and constantly, is able to win the hearts and minds of the people, and thus achieve all his goals.
And here is an example of winning persistence, constant effort, and communication:
Who is the Man who became a Republican governor of a state traditionally dominated by Democrats?
Some astute political pundits would call this achievement the greatest of this man’s career because overcoming the “party line” mentality in most US states is often an impossible feat for candidates.
Did I mention that this man became virtually a millionaire before he even started bodybuilding in the States? He and a few friends ran wildly successful mail order and construction businesses when he was an unknown.
How did one man reach the pinnacle of bodybuilding, film, and just about the pinnacle of American politics in one lifetime?
He Was Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
This man was Arnold Swartzenneger.
An ultimate communicator and an ultimate fighter for what he believed to be right….
He worked hard for his goals and trained relentlessly up to the point of throwing up. Really deploying the vomit comet would have someone quit but not Arnold. Arnold Swartzenneger said in the bodybuilding movie Pumping Iron that: “I have thrown up in the gym many more times than I can remember. It was all worth it.”
He worked out so intensely that he would sometimes vomit each and every time after doing a set. He saw the goal of being Mr. Olympia and didn’t care about any momentary discomfort he experienced to reach that point.
I also learned early on in my political career that if I wanted to grow I had to become super uncomfortable at times.
I transferred that same mindset to my blogging career. I write 4000 to 6000 words daily. No excuses, no complaints, no “putting it off for another day.”
I have been featured on over 100 authority blogs in the last 3 months alone…
I had my books endorsed by New York Times.
Been asked to speak at prestigious Universities and Summits.
Published 27 Books in 13 years (and am working on 2 more as of this writing)
No matter how uncomfortable I feel, I write. Growing is so darn freeing but it’s a bit unpleasant at times.
Stretch. Reach a bit beyond. Practice writing. Tweak your copy. Push yourself.
You’ll find that when you dive into uncomfortable areas you’ll free yourself from constricting limiting beliefs.
Devote all of your Energy to Doing 1 Thing Well.
Arnold didn’t try to win the Mr. O, to become the biggest star in Hollywood and to become a Republican governor in California all at once. He prioritized and followed his flow path.
He devoted all of his creative energies to 1 chief purpose at a time.
Doing so helped him reach the top. After each major achievement he chose to move on to a new definite major purpose. He may have held a vision of himself achieving each goal but he never tried to do more than 1 thing extraordinarily well.
Where your attention and energy goes, grows.
Look at Matt, the wildly successful owner of this blog. He is an SEO and affiliate marketing wizard. Both niches work so well together, so he devotes almost all of his creative energies to mastering SEO and affiliate marketing.
Evidence of his intent is his stunning success.
So, stop trying to master ten tasks at once, because you cannot carry ten watermelons with one arm.
So now learn to devote your creative energies to doing 1 thing really well, like Arnold, and you’ll become successful so much more quickly.
Become a master of 1 niche, not a mediocre jack of many niches.
He Held His Dream Tightly
Arnold often shares how he was the product of a strict, conservative upbringing in Austria. He was regularly punished for wanting to stand out from the crowd. He would see bodybuilders and movie stars in magazines from the USA and dreamed of being free, of expressing himself, and of being super successful.
He walked for miles to visit the nearest gym in Austria and sometimes broke into the gym to get his pump on. No matter how much his family tried to reign him in he held onto his dream and faced resistance to make his dream a reality.
I had to dream big to make this life a reality, and to get through all types of resistance.
I’ve read about countless leaders who experienced all types of hardship but they kept their dreams alive and they became stunning successes.
When you face resistance, hold your dreams tightly. If you want to be the Leader, or if you want to be an entrepreneur and just quit your 9-5 to work from home to be with your family, hold this dream in mind to propel yourself through rough times.
After Arnold moved to the States he made a small fortune running a few prospering businesses. Having access to steady cash flow allowed him to spend hours each day working out, so he could chase his dream of being Mr. Olympia.
He had to juggle tasks and become ruthless with his time. As you can see, his strategy has worked quite well.
I read once that during the filming of the 3rd Terminator movie, Ahhhnold would wake at 4 AM to workout. He hit the set after the early morning workout session and would put in 12 to 15 hours filming. At night, he’d put in a second workout session so he could look buff despite being in his 50′s.
He’s always made the sacrifices necessary to be the best. Naturally, he became the best.
Internet marketers, you’d be wise to hold onto your day job to properly fund your online dreams. Pad your savings while devoting 2-3 hours each weekday to grow your online venture.
Spend 6 to 8 or even 10 hours on your off days to grow a sustainable, prospering online business.
If you’re a full time online entrepreneur, build your day around what you value. Value freedom. Value running a prospering business. Value helping other folks to do the same thing. You’ll soon learn that sacrifice is releasing something of a lower nature to make room for something of a higher nature.
He Paid His Dues during Humbling Times
When Arnold decided he wanted to become the biggest movie star in the world studio folks laughed at him. His accent was too strong – in their minds – so terrible, that his voice was dubbed over in the film “Hercules in New York.”
Arnold said: “It was very difficult for me in the beginning. I was told by agents and casting people that my body was too weird, that I had a funny accent, and that my name was too long. You name it, and they told me that I had to change it. Basically, everywhere I turned I was told that I had no chance.”
He even played a deaf-mute hit man in his second movie because studio folks didn’t want him to speak.
Arnold kept at it, until he became one of the highest grossing movie stars of all time.
Don’t give up when times are tough. Simply humble yourself. If you haven’t made a cent online, I’ve been there. Virtually all of us have. The folks who become the pros simply knew why they wanted to succeed and held that reason through all of the resistance they faced.
Pay your dues. Craft brilliantly insightful, helpful comments on authority blogs. Create stunningly valuable, in-depth resource type posts as Matt does right here on this blog.
If you create value persistently you’ll reap the rewards now or later. Sow. Reap. Pay your dues and in time you’ll succeed wildly.
He Became an Icon by Turning His Biggest Weakness into His Greatest Asset
“I’ll be back.”
Who doesn’t know that movie line? It’s iconic. We can all recite it in Arnold’s voice.
Ahh, the accent. His biggest weakness made him an icon. Although he took English lessons to become fluent he explicitly did not try to remove his Austrian accent because he knew it made stand out.
As Arnold stayed true to himself, and became more and more popular, the very accent that forced many short-sighted casting agents to make this guy play a deaf mute made him the biggest and wealthiest movie star on the planet during his heyday.
The same accent made him an icon, an icon that parlayed his fame and political savvy into being a Republican governor in the heavily Democratic, huge state of California.
Be true blue. Be true to yourself. Be true to You.
In time, your “weirdness” or “weakness” will become your greatest strength because what you are trying to hide will make you remarkable, admirable and if you keep at this game, it may just make you world-renowned.