I’ve been in awe of the incredible athletes at the Winter Olympics in China. The tricks, the speed, the relentless fight to achieve more. Stretching the boundaries of their body, their mind, and their skill. It takes hard work, dedication, and the support and encouragement of many.

I write this as the conversations this week centre around ‘willing’.


Adj: not opposed to do something / noun: a willingness to do something (Cambridge English Dictionary)

If we look at these athletes, they are willing to do what it takes for their ambition, their dream, – for what they want and train for.

Willingness is tied closely to help and failure. Because to be willing often takes courage and movement.

The movement towards what you want and a commitment to keep moving forward, however long it takes, one step at a time.

In the diagram below, above the line, there are three words that came up in coaching and development sessions surrounding being willing to progress or proceed in something. The three words below the line are what are holding my clients back.


Here are two examples:

I’m unsure whether to stay with my organisation or leave.’ The exploration as to what this statement meant came down to their motivations and the willingness to share what they are really thinking.

‘I want to do this but’. The exploration came down to them being motivated by status but not willing to ask for help or seeing a reason to invest because of the success they have had so far.

Whilst this is a very general view based on conversation, there is an element of truth.

In an article in Science in 1990, Harold T. Shapiro writes about The Willingness to Risk Failure. Whilst I’m not aufay with the topic, the statement of having a risk-averse nature rings true.

Thomas Edison didn’t say he failed 10,000 times. He said he found 10,000 that won’t work.

You are so ready to give up on our dreams because of the unwillingness to invest, ask for help, fear of failure or you get stuck.

In a Forbes article, Patel describes 11 powerful traits of successful leaders:

  1. Self-managing
  2. Acting strategically
  3. Being an Effective Communicator
  4. Being Accountable and Responsible
  5. Setting Clear Goals and Persisting in Achieving Them
  6. Having a Vision for the Future
  7. Managing Complexity
  8. Fostering Creativity and Innovation
  9. Team building and promoting teamwork
  10. Creating Lasting Relationships
  11. Learning Agility

Within this text is, what is your willingness? Do you want to be all of these, and how will you do that?

Of course, high performers and high achievers will absolutely use all the self-help available. You are curious and persistent enough to know what’s helped you before, but here is something to consider:

If you are willing to invest in time, how much time will you be willing to give before you give up?

If you want to shape your future and be clear about your vision (dream), what are you willing to invest in?

If you get stuck or feel demotivated, does it matter?

I invite you to ask yourself these 3 questions – be honest – and then complete these sentences:

I am willing …

I am willing …

I am willing …

Keep going.

Remember, not to write I am willing to go for a walk each day because it is good for my health. A justification isn’t needed. This is what you are willing to do before your thoughts start analysing your statement.

Keen to explore how to start shaping your future? Download my free guide.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

Juliet is an award-winning executive coach, consultant, and leader. Over the next 10 years, her mission is to shape a million futures, one leader at a time, by igniting possibilities and elevating their extraordinary.

To work with Juliet, book an initial call, subscribe to Quest, download her guide or connect on LinkedIn.

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