As a teenager, I enjoyed shifting gears in my 1965 Mustang. I can still feel the thrill of the engine roaring and the speedometer increasing as I shifted from one gear to the next! It gave me a bit of a rush. But in order to experience it, I had to shift to higher gears.

It is the same way in our life as leaders. If we want to continue to experience new levels of effectiveness, we have to shift to higher gears. What brought success in an earlier phase only creates a different set of circumstances that require new skills.

When I was younger, I worked hard and had a lot of passion. I did a lot of things and had opinions on almost everything. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned from seasoned leaders that what helped me to succeed yesterday is often what blocks my future progress.

In other words, we have a tendency to plateau as leaders because we rely on the things we did in the past to be the things that will carry us on in the future. It is easier to do what we have done. It requires courage to leave behind success and move into the unknown.


First Gear: Replace bad habits with good habits!
First things first. First gear leads to all the rest so its important to start off right. Identify your bad habits and you’ll understand why shifting ahead has become difficult. It takes about 4-6 weeks to transform a bad habit into a healthy one.

Second Gear: Keep growing!

We forget that failing to grow is the worst kind of failure.You invest resources in recreation, health, relationships, work, and many other things, but how much do you invest in your own development?

Third Gear: Know your strengths as a carpenter knows his tools!

One of the secrets to future success is to identify your best tools and leave behind the rest. That’s right, leave behind the rest!

Fourth Gear: Do what you like to do and attach it to a purpose you believe in!

Once you really get moving, purpose will become everything. I love to eat but if I consume without the right purpose in mind it’s going to catch up with me and it won’t be good.

Fifth Gear: Invest in partnerships!

I know. Good partnerships are difficult to create and sustain. Many have tried, failed, and quit on partnerships. However, this is where real success will roar. Two are better than one and a great team cannot be stopped!


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