The Keys to Unlocking a Can-Do
by Dr. John C.
A faint but discernable dividing line separates achievers
from dreamers. At first glance this line may be difficult to distinguish. You may be tricked into believing that
talents, titles, or resources draw the line between the doers and dreamers. However, if you spent a significant
length of time with a group of leaders, the line splitting the achievers from the dreamers would become crystal
What makes the difference? Attitude. Achievers
have a can-do attitude that sets them apart from mere dreamers. Achievers are sold out to success—no matter the
obstacles—and they are willing to put forth the effort and pay the price of success.
In my days observing leaders, I have
identified four main groups.
These people set no goals and make no decisions.
These people have beautiful dreams, but they are afraid to respond to challenges because they lack the
self-confidence to overcome difficulties.
These individuals clearly define their goals, and, in the beginning, they work hard to make their dreams come true.
However, when the going gets tough, they quit.
These are the stars. They want to shine out as an inspiration to others. Once all-outs have set their goals, they
never quit. Even when the price gets high and the challenges mount, they're dedicated. Their can-do attitudes carry
them to greatness.
Here are 10 keys to cultivating a can-do
Key #1: Disown Your
Can-do people aggressively pursue solutions, and in the process, uncover creative solutions others never even try
to find. Can-do leaders take responsibility for the future, whereas lesser leaders blame circumstances or other
people when facing roadblocks. Rather than wallowing in helplessness, can-do leaders search diligently to overcome
the obstacles in front of them.
Key #2: Take the Bull by the
Can-do people are fearless. They go straight to the source of their solution. Their every effort commands attention
as they wrestle a problem to the ground with expediency. I have discovered that people with a can-do attitude have
an aggressiveness about them. They take the bull by the horns. When they enter into the arena of action, they don't
wait, they initiate.
Key #3: Enter the No Whining
Can-do people abstain from complaining. They recognize its futility and guard their minds and mouths against
indulging in this time-wasting activity. As George Washington Carver observed, "Ninety-nine percent of failures
come from people who have a habit of making excuses."
Key #4: Put On Another's Pair of
Can-do people empathize with others. They attempt to see any predicament from the other person's perspective in
order to make the best decisions. In my book Winning with People, one of the 25 People Principles is the Exchange
Principle, which says that instead of putting others in their place, we must put ourselves in their
Leaders see the world from their perspective
and others' perspectives. They use their own perspective to give direction, and they use others' perspectives to
forge relational connection. Both direction and connection are indispensable to taking the team on a successful
Key #5: Nurture Your
Can-do people are immune to burnout. They love what they do because they've learned how to fuel the fire that keeps
them moving. In leadership, the prize is not given to the person who's the smartest, nor to the person with the
advantages in resources and position, but to the person with passion.
Key #6: Walk the Second
Can-do people exceed expectations. While others settle for an acceptable solution, they aren't satisfied until they
have achieved the unimagined. They set expectations for themselves higher than what is dictated by the people or
situations around them.
Key #7: Quit Stewing and Start
Can-do people take action. While others are crippled by worry, fear, and anxiety, they have the fortitude to press
forward. The perfect moment when all is safe and assured may never arrive, so why wait for it? Can-do leaders take
Key #8: Go With the
Can-do people can adjust to change. They don't get caught griping about an unexpected curve in the road. They
accept transition with an optimistic outlook. They realize it's less important what happens TO them, than it is
what happens IN them.
Key #9: Follow Through to the
Can-do people not only initiate, they finish. They are self-starters with the capacity to close the
Key #10: Expect a Return as a Result of
If you make an all-out commitment with a can-do attitude, expect a return. Passionate commitment is contagious, and
resources follow resolve. Committed leaders will reap rewards and find open doors as others are drawn to the
excitement and energy emanating from them.
Attitude is a little thing that makes
a big difference
- Winston Churchill