“The key is to tap into your emotions. Emotion is literally energy-in-motion.” — Misti Burmeister

During arecent “catch up” call with James, a long-time client, I asked about his greatest challenge.

After sharing details of his “self-inflicted stress” of having to live with his family in an apartment while they have a new home built, he said, “I struggle with vision. I’m not interested in simply chasing my career, but having a greater vision for my life.”

He went on to share about his team, “Everyone wants to be promoted. They all want to sit on boards, especially the young professionals. My greatest challenge with them is to get them to use their God-given abilities for good. I see their talent, and want them to use it.”

James is not only a highly successful executive with a Fortune 500 company, but he’s also been a huge force spurring greatness in others. In fact, he provoked me into writing my first book, From Boomers to Bloggers.

Regardless of one’s position or tenure within an organization, his or her desire for advancement, achievement, and a feeling of accomplishment never goes away.

The unused talent James sees clearly in his team can be set free, but it doesn’t start with them. It begins with a firm commitment to a greater outcome that he cares deeply about. It begins with him having a greater vision for his life and the success of his team. The greater vision James currently lacks will be the greatest source of his power.

It’s easy to see talent in others. It’s even easy to focus your attention on getting them to use their natural talents. Here’s the deal, though: it’s far simpler to show them the way by putting your own talent and courage to work.

When you do work that you care about, the stakes are higher. If you fail at something you don’t care about, it’s no big deal. When you fail at something you care about, the impact and vulnerability is greater. On the flip side, you’ll work harder for something you care about. So will your team.

By contemplating, creating and sharing a strong, compelling vision of a desirable future for your team, you indirectly give them a platform from which to rise into greatness.

Not only do you give them a reason to rise, but you also show them that failure is a part of the process. By doing work that is meaningful to you, you give them permission to do the same.

If you want to provoke greatness in them, begin by provoking yourself.

Here are some questions to help tap into the work that’s meaningful to you:

1.     What pisses you off about your current environment?
2.     What continues to show up in your life as a problem that needs a solution?
3.     What matters to you?
4.     What excites you about the future?
5.     What needs to change, and why?
6.     What’s missing in your industry? What small change can you facilitate?
7.     What have you learned from your various interests that you can apply in your current position?
By digging deeper and asking yourself these potentially hard questions, you show your team the way to finding the outlet they need to use their talents.

The key is to tap into your emotions. Emotion is literally energy-in-motion. When you stop long enough to notice what keeps triggering yours, you’ll have access to a vast storage of its inherent energy, which can be used to cause remarkable outcomes.

The thing that irritates me the most isn’t much different from what frustrates James. I see the greatness that exists inside of others, and I seek to provoke it. But I can’t do this work unless I’m willing to get out in front and share all I have learned. Of course, doing so is scary. Then again, so is doing nothing at all, or simply hoping they’ll live into their greatness.

Join the conversation: How do you determine what outcomes are worth your courage?

Thanks to Gillycuddy and Dexter Britian for their music contribution and LN Lurie for producing this podcast.

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