The average person puts only 25% of his energy into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%. – Andrew Carnegie
Implicit in Carnegie’s words is that to be a 50%er, you need to be willing stand out and to even approach being a 100%er you must be willing to lead.
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Are you willing to stand out? To take some risks? To differentiate yourself from co-workers, friends or peers?
That’s what is necessary to put in 50% of your capacity – and few do.
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To lead* you must go even further.
Keep in mind, I am not talking about leadership that people associate with a title.
Real leadership is seeing what’s necessary and being both an example of character and vision and developing/displaying/modeling the inter- and intra-personal skills necessary to move people to sustained action.
* Whether or not you aspire to, or eventually accept, a formal leadership position, you can be a leader. (An apt example, from my world, is a football team: often the head coach is considered the “leader,” sometimes it’s the quarterback; rarer still is when a player from the defense, say a middle linebacker, is the (de facto) leader (one example is Mike Singletary of the Chicago Bears; Head Coach Mike Ditka might have been the “leader,” but everyone looked to Singletary for inspiration and direction when the pressure was on).)
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So, what are you going to do?
Bumble about, operating at 5-30% of your real capacity?
Or, step up and build yourself, over time, to first stand out and eventually lead?
The choice is yours.
The choice is always yours.