If you’re like 99% of leaders you’ll end up comfortable but secretly unfulfilled.
In this article I’ll explain the very first step to getting off that trajectory and truly fulfilling your potential.
In my work with hundreds of entrepreneurs and CEOs, I’ve seen many leaders decided to settle for their comfortable life. They’re secretly bored, but they feel they can’t complain as they have the external trappings of success.
However, I find the magic happens when successful leaders commit to pursuing a legacy of “exponential impact.” They assume their future can be 100X more impactful than their past, and they can achieve it without the grind and sacrifices that governed their early years in business.
But the very first step in the journey is commitment. Until you commit, you’re standing on the sidelines, held back by fear, and playing small.
But how can we actually commit to the wild and unknown journey of pursuing “100X” legacy goals?
Well, marketing expert Marisa Murgatroyd once introduced me to the idea of “the three whys”:
Connect to all three whys, and you’ll be unstoppable. So, here’s why you should let go of the slow path of incremental progress, and commit to creating a legacy of exponential impact instead.
Let’s dive in:
The Altruistic Why: The path of exponential impact is what the world needs from you
If the world's top business leaders do not become forces for good at scale and make a big positive impact on our planet, then who will?
If the most talented gifted people with the most education the biggest opportunities the widest networks do not stop step up to the challenges this world is facing, then who will?
You should commit to creating a legacy of exponential impact because it is the right thing to do. It sets you on a heroic path. It builds your giving back into the very fabric of your professional life and as something you can get to after you've made a stash of cash.
Andrew Bastawrous is an eye surgeon who has committed himself to solving global vision problems across developing nations. His organisation Peek Vision has provided eyewear to over a million people and by 2050 he aims to prevent 1.25 billion people from needlessly losing their eyesight. What an example of harnessing your professional talents to make an exponential impact! If he can do it, why not you?
The Selfish Why: The path of exponential impact is more lucrative and less risky
At the core of the journey of exponential impact is letting go of what has worked in the past to embrace what will help you go 10X.
For example, your current success might be because you were a safe pair of hands, but your future success will be as an inspirational leader.
This unlearning and letting go involves uncertainty and a degree of risk. But in our volatile and turbulent times, what appears to be playing it safe is actually the risky option and what appears to be risky is often the safer option.
If you set your sights on creating 10x more impact then you're going to help many more people and create much more value in the world. So it’ll be much easier for you to capture some of that value.
Few people are pursuing the path of exponential impact, so you will stand out, get noticed and make a difference in this world. That’s a far safer bet than being one of the masses trying to play it safe.
Before I set up my business, I had an extremely well paid job as an tech-sector exec. It felt ‘safe’, but I realise now it was “golden handcuffs” holding me back from what I was truly capable of.
Since setting up my business my income has been more volatile, but my confidence in the future has soared. My network has expanded to include some of the most senior leaders on the planet who know, like and trust me. Plus, after a couple of years of transition, my income exceeded my corporate salary!
Compare that with colleagues who took the “safe” path within the company: they are still trying to dodge restructuring after restructuring, whilst privately worried about what their future would hold if ever they had to leave.
The Intrinsic Why: The path of exponential impact is more fun and less of a grind
When you’ve committed to exponential impact, you’ll need to let go of everything outside your genius zone, to double down on what’s so fascinating and motivating to you that you can't help but master it.
If you have an inspiring goal that’s so big it feels impossible, grinding things out quarter by quarter isn’t really an option, so you can take the pressure off. The good news about a 25-year vision is you only need to achieve 1% of that each quarter!
This can often be a hard lesson to learn. We’ve been trained to assume that “the bigger the goal, the harder the work.” That works with incremental goals, but you need a different strategy when you want to go 10X, and fun and ease turns out to be a superpower.
Moreover, if you commit to being a force for good then it's going to become the most powerful personal development program you've ever experienced.
As I've started to go on this journey myself, I’ve asked myself hard questions about my mission, what I stand for and what I'm prepared to let go.
I've also learned to become the person capable of investing more money on myself and my mission than I ever did when I was pursuing incremental gains. Once I balked at spending a couple of hundred euros on myself; now I spend over six figures a year on becoming the person I need to be if I am to achieve my own exponential mission.
This has been unnerving at times but ultimately incredibly rewarding as I've seen the return on these investments. Not wanting to live a life filled with regret, this path has been incredibly rewarding.
The journey of exponential impact will be a thrilling ride
Whilst 99% of people choose the path of incremental impact, that initial act of committing to exponential impact will change your life and the world in amazing ways.
In my work with some of the world’s top leaders, and in my own journey, I can attest to these truths:
It might not be easy and there is a personal transformation that will need to happen, but the future will be so much more fun and fulfilling.
But the first step is to commit to the journey. Are you ready?
Resources to help you commit to a legacy of exponential impact
Here are some helpful resources you might like to check out to go deeper into this subject:
- The “punching through” technique to achieve incredible results
- How to set yourself up for a year of exponential impact
- The stretch: two labels to change your future
- The 3 leadership games: how to 10X your impact by playing by new rules
Moreover, I’d recommend you subscribe to the Xquadrant Insider, my weekly newsletter where I share weekly tips for creating a legacy of exponential impact.