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The Head Coach: Lead Yourself to Success

The Head Coach: Lead Yourself to Success
September 11, 2012 Ignacio Fiallos

Austin Peay State University is in a transformation. Recently, APSU was voted as one of the best universities to work for in the United States. Only 140 universities were picked for this prestigious list, as surveyed by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

While many factors contributed to this honor, one factor came from the top — Tim Hall, university president. His positive and affirming attitude has created a trickle down effect to the faculty and staff, producing a wonderful synergy that now permeates the school. As a faculty member for the last 15 years, I can say without a doubt, he is the best president we have had in my tenure.

While Austin Peay has greatly benefited from Tim’s presence on campus, anyone could learn from his leadership style and philosophies. His principles of leadership can help students and business executives alike become better self-leaders.

A self-leader is someone who takes charge of their goals and success.

Here are some of Tim Hall’s key leadership principles that can help create a transformation in your life and make you a self-leader:

1. Great leaders are proactive. An effective leader doesn’t wait to make things happen, but rather takes the lead and seeks out ways to solve an issue. Great leaders take initiative to solve each problem.

On a personal note, one of the greatest eye-openers to my success as a writer was being proactive. Book publishing is a very competitive market. Knowing this, I sent my first book proposal to 100 publishers and agents, and then initiated follow-ups with everyone. I took my own lead, and got my first book, ‘Mentalrules for Golf’ published.

A self-leader makes it happen by taking action toward key goals.

2. Great leaders work extremely hard. One of Tim’s favorite quotes comes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who said, “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”

We rarely see someone toiling away at night, so we come to believe that success comes easily. We don’t see the thousands and thousands of hours that a successful musician or athlete or business executive puts into her craft, so we believe they have special gifts.

Success does not come cheap — Everyone who has reached the top of his profession did it through practice and sacrifice.

Self-leaders know that hard work is the backbone of success, a timeless truism, today as well as in Longfellow’s day.

3. Great leaders have solid values. Being unethical will catch up to you. As Tim Hall told me, “It is hard to hide being unethical. Your actions will find you out.”

As I tell my students in class, hold your legacy tight, because it is your most valuable asset. When your actions are based on firm values, you will be perceived as trustworthy and honorable. These characteristics are priceless for your success.

A self-leader talks the talk and walks the walk. This builds a bridge of trust with others.

4. Great leaders believe in the potential of others. When you have high expectations of others, your interactions are more favorable. The feedback you are putting out is more positive. As a result, people begin to have higher expectations for themselves, which leads to greater performance. This becomes the self-fulfilling prophecy.

A self-leader has the highest expectations of their potential. The prototypical example of this is Annika Sorenstam, one of the world’s greatest golfers of all time. Annika believed in a “54 vision.” The premise of this vision is that every hole was a birdie hole and that a score of 54 for a round of golf is possible (one under par on every hole).

While she never shot this score, Annika took the lead in her destiny and became the first woman to shoot 59 in an LPGA event.

To transform your life and get the success you deserve, you must become a self-leader.


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