I don’t know about you but I have asked people who achieved professional success what was the one word that would define how they made it. The word I heard most often was PERSISTENCE. And after being blessed to experience some professional success as well I would say that I agree. So when I have been asked this question, I share the same word Persistence- keep pressing on, don’t quit, pivot, pray, and believe in your journey! But I immediately follow this response with “success comes from picking up the cigarette butt”!
This requires a bit of explaining but I love it when the light bulb goes on.
Success comes from picking up the cigarette butt Many years ago I came to the conclusion that I would have an ownership mentality with every organization I was part of. If you own something chances are you care for it, value it, and protect it! Think about your home or your car or if you are a business owner. I just knew that if I extended these same feelings beyond the obvious it would result in leadership on many levels and you know what else it gave me a sense of control, community, and purpose. I could protect, care for, and value anything or anyone I wanted!! When you take ownership of something the efforts you expend will be obvious! Those efforts will distinguish you from others resulting in more responsibility and leadership. These efforts get rewarded. It is just the way things work. People will notice you, appreciate what you have accomplished, benefit from your hard work and care and all of these elevate your leadership. Many times there isn’t a direct correlation or immediate reward resulting from ownership behavior, it is not a one and done approach! And that takes us back to the cigarette butt. If you were walking to the front door of your home and there was a cigarette butt sitting there what would you do? PICK IT UP of course! Why, because it’s your home, you value it. You are not concerned that no one sees you and you aren’t expecting your wife or husband to run out of the house and shower you with kisses because you picked it up. Those who have an ownership mentality and who I believe achieve success are the individuals who would do the same thing when no one was watching as they entered their place of work! In my book, it is this type of ownership mentality and character that ultimately leads to SUCCESS! So if it came down to me hiring someone with a paper pedigree or someone who knelt down to pick up the cigarette butt as they were walking through my organization's door, which one do you think I would choose? Who would you choose? Who would you be, the person who steps over or kneels down?