Many years ago, as a young leader, I heard from one of my senior leaders the phrase, “Make It Happen.” Though I never discussed the phrase’s meaning with him, it meant, “Stop Making Excuses and Do It.”
As a new leader in the organization, I wanted to show my potential to accomplish any task, regardless of its complexity. Shortly after, I successfully completed task after task with not much effort.
Hence, I started receiving more complex and challenging tasks.
Without noticing it, I started finding these tasks more difficult, which took me longer to accomplish to the standard.
As I tried to explain while looking for some understanding, the response I received was, “Make it happen.” Soon, I started hating the phrase because it signified that everything could be done with determination and hard work. The problem was that I was already doing it but was not getting the desired results.
What happened? I hit a wall. At that point in my career, I did not have the necessary tools to be excellent and take myself to the next level as the leader I wanted to be.
I was working hard and effectively, but I was not being efficient because my leadership toolkit was not as complete as needed, and I did not know about it.
Taking Ownership of Professional Development and “Make It Happen”
Throughout my career, I worked for organizations that provided me with multiple professional development opportunities, such as seminars, online courses, and face-to-face training. As I looked back at my career, I realized that despite the numerous opportunities, the training provided by my employers was not enough.
By nature, it is easy for people to maintain complacency and refuse to step out of their comfort zone. I understood that professional development was a two-way street and that it was time for me to take responsibility for my professional development.
As I took ownership of my professional development, I started seeing improvement in multiple areas with time.
I could accomplish the same types of tasks that I could not do before.
Also, as I matured as a professional, I realized that the phrase “Make It Happen” was not only a phrase for not making excuses. It was more than that. It was a war cry made to create a state of mind to motivate and challenge yourself and seek professional and personal growth.
Consequently, my mind gradually changed, and I accepted the “Make It Happen” mentality. Without noticing, I started to like the “Make It Happen” mentality and embraced it, making it one of my professional and personal life pillars.
This transition was not easy, and it did not happen overnight. For this transition to happen, it was necessary to take an in-depth look at my thinking and leadership style.
Some of the areas that I reviewed and considered that significantly helped me adopt the “Make It Happen” mentality are as follows:
1. Understand Who You Are
As I sought to develop myself, I realized it was necessary to examine who I was. I needed to understand my strengths, weaknesses, and short- and long-term goals.
To achieve this, you must be honest with yourself. Sometimes, the truth could be painful, but lying to yourself will delay your growth, leading to a long and painful road to success.
2. Work on Your Leadership
Start by understanding the definition of leadership and what comprises being a leader. Once you know what leadership is, define your leadership style and understand that working on your leadership is a daily process.
Recognize that to be a leader, you do not have to be the most knowledgeable person in the room.
Part of being a leader is knowing your weaknesses, surrounding yourself with those stronger than you in those areas, and allowing them to complete you.
There is no better asset than people, and when you can influence, inspire, and create synergy among them, you will be surprised by everything you and them can accomplish together.
3. Continuous Learning
Know that learning never ends. The day you stop learning, you will stop growing as a person and leader. Continuous learning is so much more than what some people think. You can do it by reading and learning from subordinates’ and others’ experiences.
Constant learning is not hard. It can be as easy as approaching someone you admire and asking them how they do it.
With everyday knowledge, you will grow not only as a professional but also as a leader and, most importantly, as a human being.
The more you know, the more mature and prepared you will be, making you someone people would want to reach out to you. People know they will get knowledge from you, but most importantly, they know you will teach them how to continue learning.
4. Find a Mentor
A mentor is a person who can help you reach your full professional potential, and sometimes personally, depending on the type of relationship you develop throughout the years.
Two of the most common characteristics of a mentor are seniority and experience, which often is the source of their knowledge.
A few benefits of having a mentor are that they can help you identify and define your professional goals. The mentor can also help you create your road to success and assist you in navigating the journey while avoiding unnecessary mistakes because of the vast experience they can share with you.
Another benefit is that the mentor will help you grow by making you accountable for your decision-making and actions.
The mentor will also provide honest feedback that sometimes you won’t want to hear but will make you better because they will also provide you with tools to improve and succeed.
5. Belief in Yourself
People used to tell me, “Tomorrow is another day.” One of the first things you need to acknowledge to believe in yourself is that struggles and setbacks will happen, but they will also go away.
Failing and making mistakes are part of the learning process and professional growth. You can’t let them disrupt your joy. The first thing you need to do is believe in yourself and have an I can-do attitude.
Believing in yourself will lead to self-confidence, influencing and inspiring people you work with.
When you doubt yourself, look back at where you were and how far you have come and improved.
A few main qualities of growing as a professional are staying focused on your tasks, maintaining awareness around your workplace, and having the stamina to endure long working hours.
To accomplish this, it is crucial that you take care of your mental health and physical fitness, which can be done by exercising.
Exercising will help you improve your mental health by increasing your cognitive functions, relieving stress, minimizing anxiety, and improving your mood.
Physically, exercise can help you improve your endurance, lose weight, reduce health problems, and provide more energy. Feeling and looking good will help you face each day with joy and positive thinking.
Though professional development does not have a straight path, and sometimes it could be overwhelming due to multiple options, the truth is that professional development is essential for our professional success, and we need to take ownership of it.
It does not matter what path we take; the purpose of professional development is to improve ourselves constantly.
Understand that whatever path we take should not be motivated by the need to compete with others but by our desire to grow daily and make ourselves better professionals.
My advice to you is to Make It Happen!