To: The Great Leaders Who Have a Passion for Continuous Learning
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, wrote: “Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.” Belief is a powerful driver in the great leaders’ pursuit of their life’s purpose and goals. Great leaders recognize, however, that it can also be a limiting factor. Jim Donovan, author and motivational speaker, in his article, Why the Elephants Don’t Run, illustrates this as he writes about his visit to the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.
“As I was passing the elephants, I suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at any time, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not. I saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.
“Well,” he said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They think the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” I was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they could not, they were stuck right where they were.”
The lives of great leaders are scattered with the reminisces of beliefs that were once roadblocks (the ropes) to realizing their greatest possibilities. They continue to challenge their beliefs –– the stories that they tell themselves and the stories that others have tell them. They look for the realities, and they push their limits. As Stephen Covey said: they live out of their imagination and not their history. They realize that the small rope that is on their leg is a simple and beautiful reminder that everything is possible… if you truly believe. As Eleanor Roosevelt tells us: “It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” Be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more. Life is so very beautiful.
Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!
- November Stillman Student of the Month
- Three Minute Leadership: On Not Being ‘Average’