Are You On An Eternal Countdown?


Counting down is needed before a lift-off The other day, I heard a great presentation that taught me that sometime we have to go backwards before we can proceed forwards. "What!" I hear you cry, "You are suggesting that I go backwards first?"

In a nutshell - yes! Please, let me put this into context...

When you ask anybody to count from 1 to 20, they will say, "1, 2, 3..." all the way through to their target - "20". However, when you want them to get to the next level - in this case 30 - they have to start over again. You ask them, "What comes after 20?" and then you start them off by saying "Twenty...?" They reply "One."

You prompt them to carry on by saying, "And the next number is Twenty...?"

To which they reply, "Two!"

And so it carries on all the way to 30.

Counting up to the next level always starts with a "1"...

Sometimes we reach a pinnacle in our career and we are tempted to sit on our laurels and take things easy. We might get complacent and think, "I've arrived - I have the title & position!" And then somebody walks in to ask you help them with a menial task and you automatically get defensive, thinking, "That's below me..."

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I encourage you to stop yourself and think through the situation. If you want to get up to the next level, maybe you do have to start at "1" again. Here are five simple things that you could ask yourself to help you get to the next level:

1. How can I help?

When an opportunity to add value to others around appears, look for ways to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. My favourite quote about leadership comes from John C. Maxwell. Simply put, it states "Leadership is action, not position!"

2. Who can I serve here?

John Maxwell talks about the concept of serving people well through his Minute with Maxwell video on "Service". He rightly points out that servanthood is the highest form of leadership and the best to get someone's cooperation is to reach out to them. To put it another way, "You can't ask for a hand, until you've touched a heart!"

3. What's the worst thing that could happen?

How much does a bruised ego hurt? The practical reality is that the worse thing that could happen to you is that you feel a little silly doing the menial tasks, but you can use that time to offer your leadership wisdom to positively impact on those around you.

4. Where can I contribute?

Look around you and start to identify areas where you can contribute. As a leader, you already probably have a philosophy of excellence in all that you do. Use your extensive experience to find a person that needs help and lend your extensive knowledge to help them achieve their goals. As Henry J. Kaiser said, "Problems are only opportunities in work clothes!"

5. Why didn't I do this earlier?

Once you get into the swing of things, you'll soon start to reap the benefits of helping others and contributing on many levels. You will only wonder why you didn't start doing this earlier!

So, remember to ask yourself these five questions and enjoy the results!

Elias Kanaris
Forensic Consultant & Lid Lifter


Elias Kanaris is an expert in lifting the lid on leadership by focussing on ethical business practice.

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