I read a story about an animal trainer for Hollywood movies who was once asked how he could stake down a full-grown elephant with the same size stake used for a baby elephant. “It’s easy,” replied the trainer, “When they are babies, we stake them down. They try to tug away from the stake maybe 10,000 times before they realize that they can’t get away. At that point, their ‘elephant memory’ takes over and they remember for the rest of their lives that they can’t get away from the stake.”
When it comes to your personal growth and development as a leader, you must be fully aware of your surroundings and the stakes that hold you back and prevent your growth. Nido Qubein put it this way, “Whether you are a success or a failure in life has little to do with your circumstances; it has much to do with your choices.” Your choices will make or break you as a leader.
When it comes to your own personal growth and development, you must make wise choices about the stakes that could hold you back. What are they? Let’s explore a few together.
The stake of what other people think
How far you can go, how high you can climb, and what you can achieve are not determined by the limitations that others may try and place on you. Don’t allow the negative things others say to become a stake that prevents you from achieving your goals. It’s not what others say but what you believe that matters.
The stake of failure
John Maxwell said, “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” How you respond to failure will either be a stake in the ground that holds you back or a stepping stone to a brighter future because you dared to believe that your failure wasn’t fatal or final but an opportunity for growth.
The stake of your comfort zone
Comfort zones tend to lull you into playing it safe. This stake is perhaps the most dangerous stake because of the false sense of security it gives you. It causes you to embrace your worst fears rather than embrace your greatest strengths. It turns you into a spectator of others’ achievements while making you settle for less than you are capable of achieving.
The stake of comparing yourself to others
One of the most negative things that you can do on your personal growth journey is to compare yourself to others. It’s a distraction at best. You can look at what someone else is doing and achieving and talk yourself into believing you can never succeed on their level. You can compare yourself to another and think you are so much better. Either way, it’s unhealthy. Run your race with all your strength, stay in your lane, and don’t worry about the person next to you.
The stake of no discipline
Bruce Springsteen said, “A time comes when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to become and start being the man you want to be.” If you have a desire to grow and develop as a leader then it’s up to you to uproot the stake of an undisciplined life and take intentional steps that will move you from where you are to where you want to be. Wishful thinking will not suffice.
You will never achieve all that you are capable of achieving unless and until you believe that the stakes that are holding you back are not worth comparing to the rewards that await you when you believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
©2023 Doug Dickerson