{TL;DR}

  • Use Nervousness To Your Advantage.
  • Excellence Starts With Yes.
  • Be Honest.
  • Always Follow Up On People And Projects.
  • Don’t Let Age Be a Barrier To Success.

A while back, I attended a leadership advocacy conference in Texas. I learned so much about leadership over those days at the conference, and I want to share that knowledge with other young adults who are just stepping into the workforce.

So let’s hop right into it!

1. Using Nervousness As An Advantage

Let’s face it. We’ve ALL experienced nerves when we’re about to do something big. Whether it’s giving a speech or asking your boss for a raise, pre-performance jitters are a fact of life..

But it is possible to use anxiety/nervousness to your advantage. In fact, there’s a noted psychological phenomenon known as the “Yerkes–Dodson law,” which points to the relationship between mental arousal and productivity. And yes, that includes anxiety.

The nervousness that can be weaponized is the nervousness of over-preparation leading up to the moment of truth.  Here, we can use it. Take advantage of those feelings of “I think I forgot something. Did I? Let me check!” and “Am I sure I got everything?” and also, “Okay, let’s go over it again…”

Use that energy to over-prepare for your success and to absolutely shine during your moment of truth. People tend to care more for the content and not so much how you sound. Sure, you may stutter, but that is merely a stepping stone on your path to personal growth!

2. Excellence Starts With Yes!

All too often in our personal lives, we choose the easy path. The path of least resistance. The path that offers free milkshakes and soft couches. The path that says, “You don’t need to work out… You’re in good enough shape.” In fact, this worn-down road has a name, we’ve all heard: “Good Enough.”

“Good Enough” is what keeps people stuck in a soul-sucking job with no opportunities for growth.

“Good Enough” keeps you constantly winded after a slow jog.

“Good Enough” is the most powerful obstacle to the best you, the most valuable you, the you that you dream about at night. 

So how do you get from “Good Enough” to “Excellent”? It’s simple: Start with Yes.

Excellence starts with yes because sometimes you just have to take on a challenge no matter the outcome. Will you fail? Maybe. Will you learn from the failure and grow from it? I certainly hope so!

Saying yes to a challenge in your personal life could be as simple as finally making time to use  the gym membership you have been paying for. Saying yes could also be as difficult as jumping in on a new project, maybe, or picking up an extra shift when a coworker is out sick in an effort to get more done and impress your boss. 

 The point is, if you want to be excellent, you need to take on new challenges. This is the trait of a leader, and saying “yes” is one of the fastest ways to mature in that leadership.

3. Be Honest

It’s one of the simplest rules, but also one of the hardest to follow.

When something is rare, it is valuable. In the same way, in a culture where it often seems better to appear good than to be good, honesty is valuable.

What is something that people look for in politicians? Honesty. How about the next president? Honesty. Teachers? Honesty. Best friends? Honesty. 

Are you beginning to notice a trend here?

Learning to remain true, no matter the situation, should be a top priority. People value a forthright person. So become that role model early, and start reaping the rewards of your newfound leadership!

4. Always Follow Up on People And Projects 

This is an often-understated step to growing as a leader. Simply check in on your responsibilities and ensure a project is moving forward. 

You might be thinking this is more of a management tip than a major step in your growth in leadership, but it’s not. By continually checking in on your projects and keeping those moving, you are practicing your responsibilities as an up-and-coming leader in your community and work space.

It is easy to do only what is asked of you. It is difficult and rewarding to go beyond what was merely asked of you and ensure a project you’ve been trusted with is completed in a timely and excellent manner. 

So take on that leader role even if nobody asks you to and take ownership of a project. And when it’s done well and everyone is impressed? Guess who is in the spotlight… you!

5. Don’t Let Age And Cynics Be A Barrier To Success

“You are too young!”

Heard this before? I think we all have. Sometimes it seems like the only real barrier between us and our goals is our age! The truth: you’re never too young to start chasing your business dreams and personal goals.

Want to start a small business? Do just that. Start small and work your way up. Have a dream? Take a baby step towards making that dream a reality. 

For the most part, the only true obstacle to your personal success is you!

If someone tells you that your age is a problem, use that as rocket fuel to propel yourself headlong to your goals. Some people take pride in dragging someone down to their level. So work your absolute HARDEST to prove them all wrong. 

Every degrading comment, every biting insult, every single dismissal  should only motivate you even harder to succeed. Imagine their faces as you look down from the peak of success, and yell at the top of your lungs, “You all said it couldn’t be done — I proved that it could!”

I know I can see you smiling now!

Success begins with an outlook and a new perspective on your situation. Did someone tell you it couldn’t be done? Or that you’re too young? Make it your personal mission to prove them all wrong and strive to be the best you can possibly be.

Closing Thoughts

Barriers will always be a part of life. But barriers should not prevent you from becoming the best possible you. In fact, some barriers can be used to an advantage and help you push through future barriers.

As an individual, you are incredibly powerful, filled with a large amount of untapped potential, and in your young age, you have more time to harness and perfect your skills in leadership.

So keep seeking new opportunities, continue taking the lead, keep striving for greatness, and don’t let anything or anyone stop you.

So go become the leader we both know you can truly be!

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