You Can’t Hack Leadership

Everyone is looking for the shortcut, the quick way, the Cliffs Notes, or in the current vernacular, the HACK. If your goal is to be an effective and respected leader, however, you cannot “hack” your way to the top. There are no shortcuts in the journey toward success. You will have to work hard, be persistent and have tremendous patience. Then — and only then — will you possibly earn the privilege to lead. And make no mistake; leadership is one of the most precious privileges you will ever earn.

The perception that there’s an easy way to instant entrepreneurship and overnight success is all around us. Just scroll through the pages of any social media platform, and it quickly becomes evident that there are still suckers out there looking for the quick and easy way to do anything.

LIFE LESSON FROM YOUR PARENTS THAT YOU MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN:

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Imagine seeing an ad on how you can become an astronaut in only 6 weeks, by simply subscribing to a Master Course from Apollo 13 star Tom Hanks. Or, how about someone who advertises that you can become a certified doctor in just 12 months through their “time-saving” web-based training course.

Real leadership requires an investment of time, creativity, skill, intelligence, persistence, gratitude, innovation, action, vision, effective communication, mentorship, optimism, integrity, consistency . . . I could keep going, but hopefully you get my point.

Leadership is not easy, or quickly achieved.

If it was easy, everyone would do it. But leadership is earned. It’s not an end point or a destination, either — you must continue to re-earn it every single day.

With so much focus on speed, ease and hacks, you rarely hear about the months or years of struggles behind the scenes, or the second mortgages necessary to fund a new business. It’s not glamorous; hard work isn’t sexy and doesn’t sell. Most legitimate business-related books or articles will tell you that on average, it takes between 5–10 years to establish a base of success. Not to be successful, but to establish a BASE of success.

You must have realistic expectations in order to succeed.

My goal here is not to steer you away from your dreams of being successful. In fact, my hope is that it simply reinforces what I believe you already know. The world needs as many gifted leaders as possible. But true leaders — established and aspiring — must trust the process, stay the course and let their moral compasses guide them. You must be brave, courageous and take risks.

Gary Keller, the founder of one of the largest real-estate franchises in the world, Keller Williams, drives this point home in his book, The One Thing:

“When you see someone who has a lot of knowledge, they learned it over time.
 When you see someone who has a lot of skills, they developed them over time.
 When you see someone who has done a lot, they accomplished it over time.
 When you see someone who has a lot of money, they earned it over time.”

I was reading an article in Inc. Magazine by Empact: Why Successful People Take 10 Years to ‘Succeed Overnight’. It’s not just about working hard. It’s also about the effort, failures, time and hard work it takes to become an “overnight success”.

Here is some interesting data from Wikipedia:

· Microsoft — Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. Six years later, he managed to land a contract with IBM to provide their IBM PC base operating system. Even still, it was another five years before Microsoft went public in 1986, making him an “overnight success” worth $350 million.

· Apple — It took Steve Jobs two decades to become an “overnight” dot-com billionaire. Established in Cupertino, California in 1976, Apple didn’t really land on the map until the advent of the Macintosh in 1984 — eight years later. Even then, it struggled through the 80’s and 90’s, until the creation of the iMac and other consumer products.

· Yahoo! — This company was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994. In April, 1996, Yahoo! had its initial public offering, raising $33.8 million, by selling 2.6 million shares at $13 each. Amazon.com and Yahoo! are the benchmarks in the industry for “overnight success”, but even they still required two to three years to truly get going.

· Google — Larry Page and Sergey Brin started working on Google in 1996, but three years later in 1999, few people had even heard of it yet. Add another five years, however, (that’s 8 years total, if you’re counting) and Google finally made it — going public in 2004 with a market capitalization of $23 billion.

· Facebook — Mark Zuckerberg, while attending Harvard as a sophomore, concocted “Facemash” in 2003 to get an ex-girlfriend off his mind. He later changed the name to Facebook. In 2005, Facebook still showed a yearly net loss of $3.63 million. But within five years it became yet another “overnight success”, and now has about 400 million users worldwide.

· Amazon- Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in 1994 and took it public three years later, making him a multi-billionaire. Amazon’s initial business plan was unusual; the company did not expect a profit for four to five years. It turned out, however, that the strategy was actually more effective than the business plan predicted. It’s a very rare case, and about as close to “overnight success” as you will find.

I know, I threw the big ones out there. Just know that these examples are generally recognized as some of the fastest-growing companies, so your odds of matching their business plan probably aren’t as realistic.

That said, chase your dreams, establish your legacy, hope to be the anomaly, but most of all, trust the pace knowing that the end result will exceed your wildest dreams.

SUCCESS DOES NOT LIE IN RESULTS, BUT IN EFFORTS. BEING THE BEST IS NOT SO IMPORTANT; DOING THE BEST IS WHAT REALLY MATTERS . . .

Start by making a difference today.

VENTURE. LEAD. PROSPER

Humbled to Lead,

Victor

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