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GLN conversation – Turning “have to” into “want to”

Earlier this year I was approached to become a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK (GLN) and having accepted the appointment I had a “conversation by email” where we explored my background and some leadership related topics.  The discussion that ensued is reproduced here in an unedited format.  (Note that the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) is the flagship conference for the GLN which is held in Chicago in August each year.  This includes talks from Leaders around the world and is rebroadcast around the UK later in the year.)

When it comes to leading people, how do you turn ‘have to’ into ‘want to.’ Can you provide us an example? 

For most of us, our day to day activities will fall either inside or outside of our comfort zone.  The area outside of our comfort zone comes with many descriptions: the discomfort zone, the stretch zone, and the panic zone are some descriptions people use.  

One thing is usually quite consistent though, and that is the barrier that surrounds us in our comfort zone.  This barrier can be called the fear barrier, the terror barrier, the belief barrier or some other barrier, and this barrier works to keep us inside our comfort zone. 

Unfortunately, staying inside the comfort zone for too long can often lead to complacency, resulting in a lack of motivation and the onset of ‘have to’.  To break out of this ‘have to’ mindset, I find that most people need something to help.  

The Chazown Experience is a great way to discover the meaning and purpose for your life, although it’s not the only way by any means.  In order to help people find the ‘want to’, we first need to find the Inspiration Zone.  This is a place outside of the comfort zone, a place where we can uncover our core passion, a place where we find those things that inspire us, a place where we can find our dream.  

Of course between the comfort zone and the inspiration zone is a barrier that we’ll need to overcome, something that holds us back from pursuing our core passion, something that prevents us from realising our dream, and we need something to help us to overcome that fear, and to break through that self-limiting belief.

Every dream needs a Prize: an inspiring image of the future that produces passion in people and turns ‘want to’ into ‘have to’.  

It’s this Prize that comes to our assistance when we are facing that fear barrier and it says “you can do it” when that self-limiting belief seeks to undermine us the Prize helps us to be an overcomer; to be a victor, not a victim.  When we have our Prize, our inspiring image of the future, we can realise, and believe, that we can work towards achieving what we ‘want to’ achieve, that we don’t have to stay in the ‘have to’ territory.

If, when we are leading people, we can help them find their Prize, then we can help them to turn their ‘have to’ into ‘want to’.

When I was at university I wanted to learn how to swim further.  I wanted to be able to do more than one length without stopping and gasping for breath at each end of the pool.  I came across a friend in the Sports Science faculty who spent some time with me to provide some inspiration, to help me focus on my dream, and to help me face my fears and my self-limiting beliefs, and within just a few days I was swimming a mile non-stop.  

More recently I had a dream of becoming a professional speaker so that I could reach more people and help teach and train more leaders to learn how to maximise their effectiveness and that of their teams.  This was in line with my core passion, although the dream of becoming a speaker seemed totally out of my reach.  However, as I spent some time focusing on that Prize, that inspiring image of the future of reaching more people, then I discovered the passion that helped me to break through my fears and challenge my self-limiting beliefs; that resulted in me sharing the stage at the World Marriott Hotel in Orlando with John Maxwell himself, someone that I look up to and respect as a world-class leadership expert.  I discovered the inspiration that turned ‘have to’ into ‘want to’ and achieved something that was beyond my wildest dreams.

Do you have any thoughts on how a leader could use the GLS more educationally for both personal and team development beyond the 2-day experience? 

The first thing a leader needs to be able to do is to understand that growth doesn’t happen automatically, it doesn’t happen without being intentional, and it doesn’t happen while spending all of our energies on ‘the day job’.  It doesn’t take much more to lead people to grow, but it does take more.  Simply attending a conference such as the GLS, awesome thought the speakers are, simply attending and listening won’t bring about a lasting change in me or in my team.  It doesn’t take much more, but it does take more.  

A great way to use the GLS is to make sure to come away with some specific action points that we are going to implement and to come away with an accountability partner who will hold me to account for implementing those changes.  

An even better way to get the most out of the GLS is to find a group of like-minded people with whom I will commit to spend time together on a regular basis to review the material that is shared by the awesome line up of speakers, to help each other to explore how we could use that material to face our challenges and to improve our personal and team development, and hold each other to account for delivering on our commitments.  

About Roger Fairhead

Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.