Tough times breed great leaders. They are often tested during bad times because they are given two options: to face trials head-on or to throw out the towel. Today host John Laurito talks about how going through bad times in your organization helps you become a better leader. Times like these are defining moments in a leader’s career because they either result in greatness or mediocrity.
[2:51] Are you challenging yourself and your people enough?
[4:52] Am I thinking of a change in what I am doing?
[6:21] Sometimes, you just need to wait it out
[10:30] The things you do during bad times are the things that make a lasting impact on your life
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good.
John Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. You know, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. Quit. Honestly, it is the easiest thing in the world to do to quit. I remember quitting, and many people remember quitting things. I remember quitting the saxophone when I was young. Played for six years or seven years or something like that. And practicing every day sucked in was hard. Quitting was super easy. It was really easy. And it was just, you don’t quit when you’re like having fun and you’re doing really well.
John You quit because you’re either bored or things are tough. Now, in my case, I was bored. I wasn’t challenged enough. So I progressed. I got really good and I was playing in like state bands and stuff, auditioning for stuff, and I was at a really good level. And then I somehow I can’t even remember, but I started just getting away from the state stuff that was really good and challenging and went back to kind of the high school or whatever grade school bands. And it just wasn’t challenging, it was boring. And so I quit and it was just, it just happened in a moment. It was like a day. It was a fraction of a day, maybe a minute.
John I’m like, Man, I want to do it anymore. And then the next day I didn’t practice the next day and in practice and the saxophone collected dust and I never play it again. After six years, I gave it up and I was really good to this day. It’s one of the biggest regrets I have, honestly, because I think right now it started, I don’t know, when I was ten, eight, I don’t know. I’m 51 now. I mean, I’d be one badass saxophone player. I mean, I’d be built I mean, I’d be awesome there days that I think about okay, what if I picked it back up and just, you know, started at it again? But it’s a big regress and it’s interesting because you don’t quit something when things are going really well, you know, you tend to enjoy the things you’re great at, right?
John You also, on the other hand, don’t enjoy things you’re not great at. Now, I was really good at the saxophone. I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it when I was challenged. Then when I was playing with really good bands, I didn’t enjoy it when I was playing in groups that were not pushing me or challenging me. So there are so many different leadership lessons from this. You know, one is the fact that you have to ensure that you and your teams are always challenged. It’s one of the biggest things I see people make career decisions about. They stop a career.
John They move companies, whatever the case is, or change total industries because they’re just not challenged. They’re not grown anymore. So as a leader, question number one is, are you challenging yourself and challenging your people enough? Ask them, you know, hey, what’s how, how, how challenged are you? I mean, what are you are you really doing what you feel you can do? Are you really tapping into everything you really think you can do? How can I help that? How can I put what else can you do that might help bring out your potential of you as a leader? But here’s the other thing, too. We tend to quit. It is so easy to quit something when things are not going well, you know, it’s just, you know, if you’re very rarely done you quit something after you’ve had lots and lots of success.
John And then all of a sudden now maybe, in that case, you are bored and that’s the reason why you quit. But a lot of times we quit something. We stop something when we’re not doing well with it. You know, we just we are at a bad point. We’re going through that disillusioned learner phase. Right. As a leader, this is really critical. Right. I know that when I make the decision as a leader now, I’m just wired that way where I know when things are going tough and there are so many great leaders out there, great people, and great individuals that are not getting the results they want because life is cyclical. It goes up and down. Business is cyclical, the market cyclical, everything is so we have great, great times and we have bad times.
John Sometimes the results don’t match the leader. They don’t match the person. There are great, talented people that are not getting great results, but oftentimes that’s temporary. So I have to and usually, it is. So oftentimes what I have to say is and the questions that you need to ask yourself is, am I making am I thinking about I’m talking to you? If you’re out there and you’re thinking about some kind of change in what you’re doing, you’ve gone down a path, you’ve had success, and all of a sudden things have turned for whatever reason. And it’s making you think about things you haven’t thought about before.
John You’re starting to think about, Okay, maybe this isn’t right for me. Maybe I’m going to make a change. Remember to give up on this business. Maybe I’m going to give up on this relationship. Maybe I’m going to just move maybe or whatever. When in reality, well, you have to ask yourself, are the things that are making me not have success or the things that I really don’t like right now? Are they temporary or permanent problems? Most of the time they’re temporary. Now sometimes they’re permanent, but more times than not, they’re temporary. And then the other question is, okay, if they’re temporary problems, is it something that I control? And if so, am I doing what’s in my control to help fix the problem? If it’s not in my control and it’s part of a bigger issue in the company or organization or whatever, is somebody else or the people that can fix it or we’re the problem?
John And working on fixing it, if they are bigger, heals it, and just hold your ground. Because what will happen is things will change as they always do. Time heals so much, time makes things get better, and sometimes you literally just need to wait it out. If I’m in a bad period of time or in a rut, sometimes I just say to myself, You know what? I just have to wait this out. That’s all I’ve got to do. I’ve got to let enough time go by and so on through this period of time because I’m being tested. You’re constantly being tested. And what I know is that when you get through that period of time and you’ve come out the other end and actually even sometimes it just survives. But other times you come out the other end and you actually have thrived.
John You’ve actually succeeded, you’ve figured it out, in which case either one of those is going to have this long-lasting ripple effect for the rest of your life because you get conditioned for certain things. You know, we get conditioned if we see certain things, we get a certain emotional response or a certain thought. If as a kid, every time I saw a balloon, I, you know, it created pain. I got hit in the head with something. Well, then, for the rest of my life, every time I see a balloon, I’d be ready for a, you know, knock on the head. I’d be conditioned to assume that something bad is going to happen every time a balloon showed up. The same thing is true in life, in business. If I pull the plug and bail out when there’s really, really tough stuff going on, then ultimately it conditions me for the rest of my life.
John Truly, for the rest of my life, I. Start to set a pattern that that’s what I do. And so the next time I face a challenge or something that’s not going well, I remember back whether I realize it or not. I go back to my instincts of saying, Well, what did I do last time and last time I bailed? Let me think about doing that now. Whereas if I dug in my heels and figured it out and created success or came through those bad times, then I’m also wired to say, you know what? If I handle that, I can handle anything. I did that you have this confidence. And that’s what I’ve seen very, very successful people do. They just it’s not that they can’t dodge bad times. You can’t dodge mistakes or bad things happen. It happens. It’s just all how we deal with that. I’ve seen very, very successful people just deal with it differently. They realize they look at it differently when they come upon it.
John They look at that as saying, okay, this is a period of time, I’m getting tested. It sucks. I don’t like it, I want to enjoy it. But I also know it’s not going to last. And in three months, six months, a year, whatever the case may be, I’m going to be in a whole different spot and I’m going to realize, wow, I’m going to look back and say that was actually there was something I took from that that made me better and more prepared for the future. I’m a better leader because I dug in my heels and made it through that period of time. I’m a much more effective leader. I’m able to help other people. I’m able to impact organizations better. I’m stronger because of that. That’s the key thing, right? That’s what we’re trying to do is just grow. It’s nothing more than that. And part of that, we just have to keep reminding ourselves that part of growth is we got to go through the tough stuff.
John And again, we don’t like when we’re not getting good results. Nobody likes it when we’re not good at something. I don’t like sports. I’m not good and nobody does except golf. I like golf if I’m not good at it. But we don’t like things we’re not good at. You know, if I’m not a good singer, I’m not going to I’m probably not going to like karaoke. You know, if I’m not a good public speaker, I’m probably not going to like it. Right? But if I start to get good at it, I’m going to enjoy it more. I’m going to be more apt to do it more and I’m going to have fun. Right? I’m going to really, truly look forward to it and have fun.
John Okay. So just keep that in mind. It’s okay. That’s okay. If you’re not having good results and you’re kind of in the dumper about it, it’s all right. But just realize it’s temporary. Are you doing the things that are in your control to turn that around? If you’re not, then you got to do it. If you are, then let yourself just continue down that path and trust the fact that the results will come. Focus on the things you can control, not the stuff that you can’t control. Okay. But keep in mind the things that you do during the tough times. Those are the things, the decisions you make during those times. Those are the lasting things that make an impact for the rest of your life. They truly do. Tell your kids, I learned that as a kid. I tell my kids that, too. Like the things you’re going through, it just does.
John It wires you a certain way and it stays with you the rest of your life. Is it a fight or flight, you know, do you have the mentality where you flee when you have trouble, or do you fight? Do you fight through it? It’s the fight mentality that ultimately prepares you for the next one, the next obstacle, the next obstacle, and then you ultimately feel invincible doesn’t mean you’re not going to deal with the threat, but you feel prepared to deal with it and handle it and come out the other end, a stronger person.
John So then I thought I’d share that with you. I hope that was helpful. Again, I’m here for you. Anything you need, give me buzz. Give me a shout, give me a text, give me an email, whatever I am here. So thanks for listening as always. Like share, subscribe give a five-star review, all that kind of good stuff. And I’ll see you next time. Bye.
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!