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The Right stuff. Becoming an IronCEO.

“Naturally you needed a man with the courage to ride on top of a rocket, and you were grateful that such men existed. Nevertheless, their training was not a very complicated business.” Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff

If you put the images of an Ironman Athlete and CEO together in your mind you probably start thinking of high achieving, intense, active individuals. What does it take to become Mary Barra, the first woman CEO of General Motors or to become the next Mark Zuckerberg? Is their “right stuff” the same qualities you need to run an ultra-marathon, finish an Ironman triathlon, scale Mount Everest or flying supersonic jet fighters at the speed of sound. Does it take incredible strength, stamina, competitiveness, or natural talent for certain individuals to soar to incredible heights?

No, an IronCEO requires only two qualities to achieve great things. The “right stuff” is to have a goal and passion.

Ralph Waldo Emerson proclaimed;

“The world makes way for the man who knows where he’s going.

You must find a worthy pursuit to lead a fulfilled life. It does not necessarily have to be associated with an athletic achievement or business career. Our life’s journey is the most important journey you’ll ever make, and you only make it once! But if you don’t know where you are going, how will you ever get there?

The goal should be meaningful. It should be challenging; it should bring significant personal fulfillment that will make it worth the journey. Your goals should be the culmination of your dreams. But dreams are not goals. Dreams are unfocused, non-specific and non-committal. The goal is a finish line. It has a specific time, place, or result. It requires commitment. A great goal will make you want to put in all the hard work for planning and executing the steps needed to succeed. If it has all those things you will get there. That is the wellspring for passion.

Back to the quote from the late Tom Wolfe’s great book, The Right Stuff. How you got on top of that rocket ship, doesn’t matter. Are you prepared to be a leader? Are you able to be your best self and lead yourself and others? Whether you became a CEO by starting your own company, rose to the top by paying your dues, or have been suddenly thrust into a leadership position did you develop the skills or get the appropriate training?


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