What is the most important element for success? Good leadership from your boss? The right resources? Direction? Support? Autonomy? Intrinsic motivation? Optimism? Resilience?
All of the above matter, of course. However, research psychologist Roy Baumeister unequivocally answers that the most important element for success is self-control. Self-control is what keeps us on track. Self-control reminds us that we have choices. Self-control is something we are told to learn in childhood and many of us continue to work on every day!
Basically, self-control is what helps us look beyond immediate frustration or perceived loss, and look to the future benefit. This keeps us “on track” to achieve success.
Our brains are wired to react to perceived danger. (You can read more on neuroscience in earlier Coaching Source blogs by Madeleine Blanchard.) Self-control can allow us to “wait out” the immediate reaction to danger and its corresponding focus on loss, pain and blame. With self control, we can influence our mind to determine a better result. How? By asking what positive attributes are in this circumstance?
Most importantly, when you shift your mind’s focus from negative to positive, you shift your physical and emotional state, too. Focusing on the benefits of any circumstance, creating images of hope and possibility are not just important for your success—they are critical for your team, too! Helping others to focus on what can be (instead of what cannot happen) can influence your team to shift to a “possibilities” focus.
“You always have a choice about where you put your focus. Learning to use that choice is part of leadership development.” (p 139,Care to Dare, Kohlrieser, Goldsworthy and Coombe, 2012.)
Work that “choice muscle” and you will remain on the path to success!