The Triangle Of Traits For Winning That Aren’t Trained

Training implies, “something you need to learn.” Like somebody else has the knowledge and is prepared to share it with us. That applied in 1960, but today we all have knowledge only a google click away!

Some leaders instruct us, tell us, or impart their knowledge and their success in order for us to be successful. That is defined is apprentice-style lecturing, but today’s superstars rely on things that aren’t simply things. Today’s business elite possess skills that are less text-book methods of negotiating or closing deals based on flow charts, and are based more on emotional intelligence. Real top performers have an inner presence, a perspective and insight into themselves that drives their incredible results in the outside world. Here are the 3 untrained traits of award winning personal leadership:

#1 – Self-awareness

Many research authors, from academic, business, sports, military and political arenas claim self-awareness as the #1 trait to great leadership. In a society trying to make us perfect, we aren’t. As Vince Lombardi said, “If we strive for perfection, we won’t hit it, but we might hit excellence along the way.” And so what we’re left with is being authentic. And how can we be authentic to ourselves or others, if we aren’t really aware of our strengths and frailties. Its knowing ourselves, through introspection, 360 evaluation as well as mentors that help us become more authentic. Our greatest measure of accomplishment is remaining true to ourselves in a world determined to make us something else. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Self-awareness as the trait of authenticity sounds easy, but in a society placing so much value of rightness over kindness we strive for perfection, which can become a burden and not a virtue. Deep clarity of our inner drives, values and motivations dramatically improves our individual results. Home and work-life success is excelling despite difficult situations and with difficult clients. We spend so much time trying to learn skills and perspectives for the future, when real success lies in knowing more about who we are.

Our character, attitudes, belief and values shaping us, from the inside are the real metrics to our success. Otherwise we chase extrinsic things, and may wobble on our ethics, leading to failure. So, if it is a battle between being perfect or being authentic – we should lean into being authentic. Self-awareness is the winning ticket for the authentic ride. Knowing our frailties, pain, guilt and fear, leaning into those things and getting strength from our understanding of them, gives us an aura called ‘humanity.’ Others will buy that! Top performers, admit what they know, and are equally comfortable with admitting what they don’t know; they communicate with others a sense of vulnerability that creates a platform for customer appreciation.

#2 – Adaptability 

So as we become self- aware, we need to then lead and manage ourselves, beyond just awareness. This includes taking ourselves into situations and interacting with others, and this becomes a sense of adaptability. So after we know ‘what’ we are – and what we are good at – we need to learn the ‘who’ we are with others. Our life is with others, and our adaptability is awareness in motion.

The next step to unprecedented success is adaptability. Adaptability is self-management. Understanding a situation and reacting to it instead of having a pre-fabricated response to a situation, allows us to be less judgmental, and more open to possibilities. Our increasing adaptability, means if we listen, and ask questions, instead of just telling – we may build greater empathy. “Empathy is the fastest form of human communication” ~ Stephen Covey. For example, if we are in a tough conversation or situation and we realize – “this situation is frustrating, I am talking too fast, and I am dominating/controlling the environment” – then we can adapt / change our communication through awareness of ourselves, to have more influence and success.

#3 – Curiosity 

Top performers, take their self-awareness, and ability to respond to various people and situations and build greater perspective, by wanting to know more – a learning spirit. I lost my dad to Alzheimer’s and insidious disease, and Alzheimer’s has been characterized as a loss-of-memory disease. In fact it is a loss-of-learning disease. While we see patients clinging to short, then long term memories, what really disappears, is the ability to follow a news show or articles, a TV show or a conversation. If we ever wondered what the conclusion of the story, joke or event was – an Alzheimers patient, doesn’t have that wonder, because they can’t recall the beginning of the story.

In our path to success, it requires more than knowing. It requires knowing more tomorrow than today. People sometimes say to me they wish they had some of the perspectives I share, 5 years ago, and I have to say in response that I didn’t know many of the things we talked about today 5 years ago. Like the things we will say and write in 10 years, we don’t know now. So study and read about things we don’t know now so we can Understand more. Care more. Live more. Teach more. Receive more feedback, and Give more feedback.

Top performers face situations not as win-lose, but as an opportunities for learning and growth. As John Maxwell said, “Sometimes you Win, Sometimes you Learn.” These 3 intrinsic values, are not trained, as most organizations talk about in terms of skills and competencies. Character-istics of ourselves can be learned, if we pursue them, they can’t be trained into us. Embracing self-awareness, adaptability and curiosity are the cornerstones of our Winning!!!!


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