I thank God every day that one of my greatest role models, my father, was decisive. Once he made up his mind, he moved forward with the determination required to succeed, regardless of the obstacles. He was undaunted. When he met with a temporary setback, he always found another solution. He never lost sight of his goal, he never expected others to do for him, and he maintained faith that “where there was a will, there was a way.” It was simply how he thought.
When my dad was 43, and already the father of nine children, he became quite ill and was unable to work for two years. By selling off the property he’d bought with the money from the sale of the family farm a few years earlier, he was able to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. But when there was no land left to sell, my father had to decide how he was going to care for his sizable family. Because he had always believed in the importance of insurance, having witnessed his parents’ home burn to the ground without a lick of insurance coverage, he made the decision to start an insurance agency. With a substantial loan from a man who trusted my father to fulfill on his promise to repay the money within an agreed upon period of time, he launched his independent insurance agency out of one of the bedrooms in our 1100 square foot home.
Within twenty years, my dad, with the help of my mother working as his full time office manager, had repaid the money he’d borrowed, saw to it that all nine of his children were college educated, and was able to retire with my mom in Green Valley, Arizona, where they lived for over twenty years.
Decisiveness was one of my father’s finest characteristics, and it is a characteristic of every great leader, from Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Edison, from Henry Ford to the Steven Jobs. There is something about one’s capacity to experience setback and not be discouraged, to experience failure and yet rise above it with courage and purpose, determined and unafraid, that makes great leaders great. It carries with it a kind of staying power that attracts people, attracts opportunities, and attracts the resources needed to carry out one’s resolve. It is the mark of those who succeed, and it is the mark of a leader.
Be your own coach. Ask yourself the following:
- Would I describe myself as decisive or more of a waffler? Wobbler? Procrastinator?
- When I meet with failure, do I pick myself up and resolve to move forward? Or do I allow doubt and the fear of failure to take up residence?
- Have I made it a habit to find the positive in every situation, regardless of the darkness of the hour, or have I developed the habit of looking for, thinking and speaking the negative?
Your answers to the questions above will provide insight as to how you got where you are today? If you’re not happy with where you are, what beliefs will you need to change to alter your situation?