Classical music has its beauty, and as everything surrounding us, it requires a little bit of exploration to fall in love with it, but once we do, it can forever influence our mood and transform us. Exactly like leadership, we tackle into it like novices, but the more we learn and experience, the better we get at it and the biggest the impact we can have upon us, the team we’re leading and the organization or community we’re part of or leading.

I got the inspiration for this article from Benjamin Zander’s TED talk on “The transformative power of classical music” – feel free to watch it below; it’s a talk providing leadership and inspiration, being amusing and full of excitement. This guy breathes his passion, he’s charming and confident, and through the things he’s sharing he’s an inspiration when it comes to life, leadership, and well-being.

Mastery, leadership and inspiration

Like anything we want to be good, mastery of classical music as well as leadership requires hard work, learning from mistakes, persevere no matter what but most important of all, always move on, never give. In the following lines, we’ll be talking about these ingredients to mastery, and what makes the difference between the boy from the video, who stopped learning piano after a few years, just before he could turn into a real master.

Leadership and inspiration are no different; they include a set of skills that are both managerial and people oriented. Leadership has many styles one can apply in the various circumstances and level of leadership he’s choosing. However, with the right attitude, people, confidence, clarity, and grit, anyone can reach the mastery level.

The attitude in life and leadership

Take a look at the photo below. I loved it the moment I saw it some time back. The kid on the 3rd place is so happy with his performance, and how far he got, and he knows it’s only up to him to reach higher in the future. For now, he chooses to enjoy the place where his journey has taken him.

Image source

In life, our interactions and mood depend on how we choose to react to the things we trigger or happen to us outside of our control. Like in the example Benjamin gave, facing the same situation, one saw a lost cause – “no one is wearing shoes,” while the other believed there’s a huge opportunity, as no one was wearing shoes, and that everyone could buy it!

In leadership, it’s all about excitement and how we choose to approach and see things. There is a vast difference between picking up a boring goal to grow from 3% to 4% in the sale of a particular product or go out there and achieve something inspiring. Tapping into a new audience, explore new geographies or think so much outside the box that scares you are just a few examples of motivating reasons to get out of the bed every morning.

It’s all about choosing your approach to life, and leadership.

Confidence leading outcomes

A confident leader that celebrates achievements inspires performance. When bringing in front the results and how far the team, organization or community has advanced, pointing out each one’s contribution, the outcome is a confident team and active individuals that have the right attitude to continue to do great work and contribute to further growth.

Attitude and confidence are two main ingredients to reach performance, and as a leader, you need to be these things yourself but also inspire them and build them in the people you work within your team. As a leader, your victory is not your work; it’s the work you managed to get done through the people you’re leading.

Remove giving up from “the menu”

That is if you want to reach the desired outcome. Like the child mentioned in the video, he was on his way to mastering the piano, but he gave up too soon to reach that level. He settled for being average; he lost his excitement or confidence that he can become outstanding.

There are times when giving up makes sense, but make sure you’re not giving up just before that something great you were expecting is about to happen. Maybe what you need is a break, a change of tactics, a different attitude or confidence, not giving up completely. Moreover, this rule is valid for your personal life as well as leadership striving.

Clarity and belonging

The way some people disengage with classical music, some other people disconnect with their work and the purpose they’re trying to reach. Benjamin uses a potent tool to engage people with classical music – while playing Chopin, he asks the audience to think about a very dear person that’s no longer with them. This way, they’ll get the music. Being present and engaged in your life and work makes all the difference between just doing your thing and making the most of it.

Clarity and belonging go all the way from the people in a team up to their leader. Being clear on the goal they’re all trying to achieve and seeing their contribution to it makes people feel engaged and care about not just the purpose but reaching the goal while having fun, grow and do their best every step of the journey.

Grit and the power of showing up

Grit, or perseverance, is the art of showing up no matter the bad days or moments, the dip, or the fact that you don’t see the way up. Showing up is even more important than talent. Being there, ready to face yet another challenge, try out a 100th solution hoping at least this one will work, that is what makes a difference between really succeeding or living a life of ever trying.

Grit is an element of the culture of performance that a good leader should inspire his team and organization. An individual can develop courage from the inside, but also from the people surrounding him and even from his competition. Looking up to others to find a model to follow or challenges you should overcome as well leads to developing grit and improve oneself.

In the end, classical music is just a metaphor for leadership, and for anything else in life that we choose to do with passion and full presence. How do we know when we’re there, doing it? “…if the eyes are shining; you’re doing it” right. If the passion is there, there’s clarity, desire, the right attitude, confidence, and a will to make things happen no matter what. Moreover, all these are the ingredients that bring you the real transformation of leadership, and music, dancing, business, personal development, life.

Originally published on Work & Life Balance, this article has been fully re-written