I grew up on a farm in South Georgia. My brother and I spent our summers fishing in the pond behind our house, riding ATV's through the woods and creek, and cooling off from the sweltering southern heat in our family pool. We had chores, and cleaning the pool every week of the summer was one of them. We had a love-hate relationship with that pool. On the one hand, it was an oasis. On the other, it was a curse. While the pool held out the promise of satisfaction, the limiting factor to our experiencing it was the ability to keep it clean. "You can swim as long as the pool is clean", my Dad would say. The benefits of the pool were controlled by a limit. Like my summer days long ago, there's a limiting factor at the core of leadership growth. Left unaddressed, it restricts our true potential from emerging and prevents us from experiencing more business growth and personal success.
Imagine for a moment that the pool represents our achievements (how much we have accomplished, the business we've built, the difference we've made in others). This is the oasis creacted by our efforts. However, just like my brother and I benefited from the pool to the degree we kept it clean, how much you increase your levels of success (however you define it) depends upon on your ability to overcome the limiting factor of your leadership lid.
Potential is limited by our ability to lead. We can't grow beyond our current level of success without growing our capacity to lead. Leadership ability is the limiting factor. Your current level of leadership has gotten you where you are today. For example, on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), let's say you are a 4 on the success scale and a 5 on the leadership scale. Your likelihood of experiencing greater success is dependent on your ability to lift your leadership lid to another level. Grow your leadership lid from a 5 to a 6 and your success can grow from a 4 to a 5. Success never outpaces our leadership ability.
In the end, the ability to act on limiting factors determines our ability to enjoy new levels of success. You have a choice to take action on those factors, or not. How far can you really go without the ability to lead people beyond where you've taken yourself? We can't take others where we haven't been ourselves- that's the principle behind the law of the lid. Without an intentional plan to grow your leadership not much is going to change. Are you ready to lift your lid? You can activate your untapped leadership potential by acting on your answers to these three questions:
W. Shane McKenzie is an Executive Coach and Mentor who specializes in helping successful leaders leave their job to own a business using proven strategies to minimize risk.