Sisu is a Finnish concept describing sustained, relentless persistence no matter the circumstances. In Finland, the winters are long and cold, making a spirit of fortitude extremely important. As a leader, demonstrating sisu means being willing to say, “This situation is difficult, but I’m going to map it out and see it through regardless.”
Accomplishing your goals requires that persistence in the face of adversity. It requires that you remain focused and purposeful, and you do not allow challenges to turn you from your path.
As we wrote in our book, Would You Work For You? — The Quest: Discovering the Leader Within, “Let’s not lose sight of the big picture. It’s about results. Your ability to stay on a path that drives consistent results is the target… Individuals who consistently achieve their goals are purposeful in their steps.”
These are the six steps that will assist you in moving toward success and the ultimate achievement of your goals.
1. Define Success
It’s not uncommon for people to describe success in nebulous terms. Maybe they think they’ll recognize it when they see it, but that isn’t how it works. As a leader, you need to be clear and intentional about what you’re trying to accomplish. Otherwise, you might find yourself lost or drifting in the wrong direction.
Take inspiration from the structure of SMART goals. A SMART goal is:
Really narrowing down your definition of success greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll achieve it.
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” — Estée Lauder, businesswoman
2. Perform a Reality Check
Before you start moving full steam ahead, take a moment. Consider whether the mission you’re striving for is truly realistic. How likely does it really seem? Did you define it well enough? Do you have access to the resources you will need?
As we wrote in our book, “What are the gaps between what you’re experiencing today and what your preferred vision is?” Your reality check will give you a greater understanding not only of what you hope to accomplish but also the steps you’ll need to take.
3. Commit to the Mission
By this step, hopefully, you’ve created a well-defined image of what your mission will look like and tested it against your own gut and knowledge. Now it’s time to embrace intentionality and commit to the mission. Consider writing it down in your leadership journal or establishing some other visual reminder to help you stay on track.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” — Bruce Lee, martial artist, actor, and director
4. Set the Goals
A massive mission can quickly become overwhelming, but it becomes far more attainable when you take it on one piece at a time. Break your journey down into smaller goals and milestones that can act as incremental stages. As we like to say at Fired-Up! Culture, success consists of small things done well over time.
Along these lines, don’t forget to celebrate your efforts! Each time you pass a milestone, give yourself a pat on the back. This action keeps the momentum going as you adjust your outlook and begin heading toward the next milestone.
5. Define the Strategy
We wrote in our book that, “The strategy is all about effectiveness… Like a good Google Map for your road trip, your strategy will guide you as you move forward.” To build a truly effective strategy, you must prioritize two key elements:
- Discipline: The order, systems, study, and framework needed for you to grow and be efficient, productive, and happy.
- Reflection: A practice allowing you to continually examine where you’re going, how you’re doing, and the steps required for improvement.
Combining these two elements allows you to maintain a growth-focused strategy and a meaningful journey.
6. Work the Plan
“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” — Jim Rohn, entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker
This step is where you start to really put the spirit of sisu into action. You can do all the footwork of mapping, strategizing, and committing, but your outcomes rely on working the plan.
Roll up your sleeves and stick with it. Put in the time and effort. Understand that there will be challenges and even failures along the way. Seek outside support, validation, and perspective. Keep the core leadership principles in mind. Be intentional and own the details. Keep going.
In time, you’ll achieve the success you mapped out for yourself.
Are you ready to start your leadership journey? Our free eBook on defining your values and purpose is available now.
Author, Speaker, and Change Agent.
Chris leads a dynamic team of passionate change agents who are dedicated to partnering with organizational executives to create cultures that inspire, engage and ignite the best in people. Our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams and align operation practices to delighting the customer and drive breakthrough results.