Invent Great Things Like Leonardo Da Vinci Did. By Robin. S. Sharma
I’m leaving Rome as I write this, en route to Moscow. Deep into a tour that started in London, then ran to Stockholm, Belgrade, Bucharest, Copenhagen and paused in Lausanne, Switzerland – for an event hosted by the famed IMD business school and Swiss Marketing.
Just spent the past two days in Rome and found some time to walk the streets, smell the smells and chase beauty, in the simplest of forms (simple beauty is always the best beauty).
And as I walked, I thought about the great inventors. Those brave visionaries who had the moral conviction to block out the noise of the critics who mocked their ideas, the naysayers who tried to hold them back and the dubious doubters who labeled them crazy (of course, all great thinkers are initially viewed as crazy… because they see something few others have the eyes to see).
Leonardo Da Vinci came to mind. Perhaps one of civilization’s finest minds, he lived by three primary values (as you know, values are those things we most value): Vision. Optimism. Courage.
VISION. Vision is all about challenging your assumptions and playing out on the edges so you see new ways of working/creating/being that The Herd just can’t see. Without vision, you’re just half-alive to life. Being a victim vs. becoming a leader. And as the CEO of NIKE, Mark Parker, said: “Curiosity is life. Assumptions are death.”
OPTIMISM. As I’ve traveled across Europe on this tour evangelizing the Lead Without a Title message and hearing all the success stories from readers of “The Leader Who Had No Title” (thanks to all of you who share your stories with me on Twitter), I’ve become more clear than ever before as to the power of optimism. Genius-level work doesn’t happen within an environment of negativity. Every work of art was produced by someone who felt deeply inspired. And radically optimistic. So, no matter what title you may hold, may I suggest that you get paid to be optimistic. To lift people up versus tear people down. To shine a light onto other human beings. And please also remember: Leadership (and optimism) isn’t just how you behave under perfect conditions. Leadership is about how you perform when everything’s falling apart.
COURAGE. Well, this is the base of leadership – and crafting a precious life. Da Vinci had the courage to stand for (and advance) his convictions. From the ball bearing to the Mona Lisa to the world’s first parachute, while others laughed, Da Vinci dreamed. Why? Because at some level, he believed in himself more than the doubts that those around him were trying to sell him (as I Tweeted recently: “Your doubts are nothing more than the lies your fears are trying to sell you.”). And because of his courage, his ridiculously brilliant work touched – and informed – millions of lives. And isn’t that what work – and leadership – is mostly all about?
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Last Mile Excellence
Recently, I had an exceptional meal at an almost-exceptional restaurant. The room had an innovative and modern design esthetic to it. The authentic Italian appetizers were exquisite. The service from the moment we walked in to the early part of the meal wowed us. The server went completely out of his way to ensure that every element was truly world-class. Halfway through the meal, I was breathless by the entire experience. Then, something interesting happened. The game fell apart.
As it was late in the evening, our server left – without saying good bye. His replacement came in cold. And his service was mediocre at best. The final course of the meal was still very good yet the attention to detail had slipped by the end.
This brings up a key principle for anyone interested in Leading Without a Title and playing at their absolute best: it’s not only how you begin the race – it’s how you finish. I call this the Last Mile Excellence. What makes a true champion in business and in life is the strength at which you end your event (whether that event is today or a client meeting or a key project that you’ve been working months to deliver on). Finish brilliantly!
Book Excerpt from “The Leader Who Had No Title”
“The starting point of moving to mastery is to raise the expectations you set for yourself. Just make the commitment to be the first, the most, the only, and the absolute best. Expect more from yourself than anyone around you could ever expect from you. Play in the big leagues, Blake! Just fly up into the thin space of rare air. Most people set such low standards for themselves. They aim so low – and then, sadly, reach that goal And so you’ll find that you don’t have a lot of company out on the extra mile.”
“Are you actually suggesting that it’s easier to work at mastery than at ordinary, Anna?” I wondered aloud.
“That’s a great way to language it, Blake. And yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. There’s a lot less competition on the extra mile because so few people even believe they can play there – many fewer commit to spending their careers there. And so, as you say, it actually becomes easier to be there.”
Read the book that is transforming work and lives across the world. Buy “The Leader Who Had No Title” now!.