Why do leaders underachieve?

I met a dozen goo-roos who claimed that they are the best motivational speakers in the Philippines. Though I dreamt about becoming number 1, motivational speaking isn’t a competition.

And there is no contest for helping people.

Sure, a few motivational speakers who command 7-figure talent fees. Some speakers are more entertaining than others. Others are more dynamic. And some were listened to by their followers every Sunday.

But far too many motivational speakers regurgitate the ideas of new-age speakers, get-rich-quick preachers, and scammers.

These goo-roos speak like those infomercials on TV. They sell, sell, and sell themselves.

While you are here, I want to share quick ideas on achievement with you. That is the fundamental mission of a motivational speaker.

People are stuck with their problems. They are aching for transformation. And our mission is to help them unstuck themselves, learn from us, do something, and make things happen.

Of course, I, too, sell myself.

Because sometimes, you have to believe me first so that you can believe that what I tell you works. Most of the time, I sell you to you.

So, even if you leave this page without contacting me, I want to be of help to you. And I will continue helping you as long as you need my help.

Next, I will tell you why leaders fail and how I help leaders succeed.

What makes people underachieve?

Do you know why leaders often underachieve?

Do you know why many school smarts are underachievers at work? People expect them to succeed because they are too good to fail. 

I met professionals who look good on paper. They got hired because of their excellent communication skills. One was a board top notcher, and the other has authored two books. But when it comes to delivering good work, they failed.

Why do many employees underachieve?

I won’t be able to tell you everything here. But allow me to share reasons which are often ignored by leaders. 

They avoid stress.

High performers embrace stress. Those classic breathing and relaxation exercises do not always contribute to peak performance because peak performances happen in stressful situations. 

There is a time to relax. There is time to be warmed.

Think of basketball players in a championship game. You do not see them relaxing. No, they need to warm up. They need to ready themselves to perform. Stress is not the enemy.

I do not mean to say that you overstress yourself. But to get to high performance, one has to get out of the comfort zone regularly. That’s how you enlarge your comfort zone.

They do not take risks.

Nonperformers avoid risks; they wait and see. They play safe, small, and same-same. They wait and see.

I heard from a client that two of his employees refuse to take leadership roles. They are high-potential employees. The client needs a leader, but he cannot hire another one. 

People think that the best time to lead is when one is ready. The only way to be genuinely ready is to show up today. Taking new roles may result in failure. On the other hand, it may also result in great success.

Being busy does not make one productive.

You can use a to-do list or kanban to do more each day. But doing more does not always mean high performance. But they do more because that’s how they defined themselves.

You can do 80 things and get 20.

You can do 20 things and get 80.

You can do 4 things and get 64.

You can do 1 thing and get 54.

No, this is not a mathematical problem. That’s the extended Pareto Principle. High performers pick the one thing that weighs twice more than 80 things.

You can keep busy with work. You can check every box on the to-do list. But doing these does not make one an achiever.

They do primarily hard work.

Hard work is essential to success. So, I do not advocate laziness. I am not also going to say that you work hard, not smart. Many motivational speakers talk about working smart. These get repeated until one starts to believe that hard work is terrible.

Hard work is good. But what underachievers fail to do is to play. They don’t do the creative part.

I often hear people say that practice makes perfect. But, of course, no one becomes perfect because of practice. Those who spend scheduled time away from work find ways to improve.

They limit themselves.

Some of us hold a fixed mindset. That one will reach the intellectual limit. This seems right. Unfortunately, you won’t know your limit unless you try.

I recommend you watch The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and In Pursuit of Happyness. You will find characters who refuse to accept limits imposed on them by the world. 

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