Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.
- President John Quincy Adams
Where do you see yourself as leading or having led?
The truth is we all occupy several roles in our life landscape to accomplish a mission. To name a few: supervisor, manager, coach, business owner, committee chair, parent, teacher, president or CEO. The key to success in these leadership positions is to find ways to extract experience from each role and apply that knowledge to our current one. We must find those skills and assets and be ready to deploy them at any moment.
I spent time in the Army and found that the call to lead could come at any time, from squad leader, to commander to staff director, or in the form of an order to move out into a hostile situation. There’s an objective, and I’d signed up to help achieve it. My grit combined with a strong sense of determination. The order was: get your gear ready, check your status, and embrace all you have to take with you on the journey. One of the main tasks in these situations was to pack your duffel bag with all the necessary items.
What does this packaging look like?
I’m a firm believer that we all have inherent gifts, God-given talents or delivered natural abilities (DNA). Coupled with our wits, such talents can make winners in our endeavors. Many people operate successful businesses based on these talents or contribute their best to an employer using the same. Dedicated parents use their skills to shape future generations. From culinary, financial, human resources or construction and every industry in between, everyday people provide exemplary service. The goal is to make your gifts real and use them to help push through the complexities and adversities that life entails.
Leverage them, connect them, and use them to thrive in all battles.
What else is important to know? There are times to bear the burden of your strengths. Using your gifts is not always popular, but they are assets that need to be deployed, even in the midst of conflict. The process is necessary to make things happen systemically and correctly, particularly when leaders care and cherish organization while keeping focus on the vision.
Leadership in life requires steady working and reworking of our goals, plans, and strategies (GPS). In that process, we must constantly be on the lookout for ways to use the best of ourselves, those gifts and grit, to affect change and gain impact on critical objectives.
7 Ways to Fill Your Duffel Bag
- 1. Recognize: Many of us have signs of ability in our chosen feat early on in life that begins with a passion, necessity or exposure, and then magnifies. Think about what you’ve most always liked to do or be or see. Run, hit, speak, write, organize, or travel— the wealth of our gifts is deep and wide. Explore yours.
- 2. Visualize: See a larger dream for utilizing your gift. Be open to the signs to turn your assets into successes.
- 3. Prepare: Think about how a solid leadership foundation can help you. Start to plan for what it will take for you to achieve success: time, money, education, and other necessities. Then, set goals with specific action steps.
- 4. Focus: Is the fervor of your desire to be effective in your pursuits evident? You must constantly answer the question: How much do I want this? From a promotion, healthy children, to being a stellar employee, obtaining a new client, exploring a possible venture, or achieving a stable home life, what’s driving your motion?
- 5. Train: Hone your craft by being open to learning. Find someone who holds you accountable to practicing those skills. Be it leaders, parents, or workers, all roles require instruction and observation.
- 6. Accept: Realize this leadership feat is part of a bigger picture— and not one that is earned easily. Accept the wins and losses you will experience, and watch the evolution of personal growth at work.
- 7. Keep Going: Life is a multiple contender agreement to win. Each day we breathe, we can try again for a success in something. Fuel your competitive spirit and outdo your personal best. Drive forward. Decide to break your own record. Inspire yourself!
Continue to build on strengths— claim and ready them for your daily battles. Be courageous. Seek places for victory and leverage the moment.
Deborah L. Parker is Chief Inspirer, author and speaker of The DPJ Training Group. She specializes in result -focused programs on leadership, career and diversity management for federal and private sector audiences, and blends her experiences as an Army reserve officer and corporate manager with a B.A. in Sociology and M.A. in Human Resource Development. In addition, Deborah is a frequent author, including her most recent book, Hardcore Leadership: 11 Master Lessons from My Airborne Ranger Uncle’s “Final Jump,” Deborah is a member of the Metro DC Chapter of ASTD and when taking a break, she enjoys travel and long walks.