Dashrath Manjhi rose as usual that morning, quietly easing himself off his bed, careful not to wake his sleeping wife, Falguni, who was heavily pregnant with their second child. She looked so beautiful lying there in the stillness of the morning in their little hut on the mountain. He’d see her later in the day when she’d bring him his lunch in the fields. Encouraged by that thought, Dashrath slipped outside into the dawning day, and began his journey over the treacherous mountain pass to reach the fields of his employer.
The sun was high in the sky, beating down on Dashrath’s back as his pick hit the earth, over and over, his stomach rumbling with hunger. Falguni should have been here by now. Where was she?
All of a sudden there was shouting from above – Falguni had fallen down the mountain pass. The nearest doctor was over 70 kilometers away and the love of his life was too unwell to make the journey over the mountain. Devastatingly, Falguni eventually died from her injuries.
Dashrath Manjhi, a grief stricken, poor, landless farmer, from one of the lowest Castes in India, in the remote mountain village of Bihar in the Gehlour Hills, made a decision that day, one that would change the course of his life, and those of his fellow villagers, forever.
Dashrath sold his only goats to purchase a rope, a hammer and a chisel to cut a path through the mountain so no one else had to suffer the same fate as his beloved Falguni.
Despite the noble intention of his task, Dashrath faced unrelenting ridicule from his neighbours – they thought it was ridiculous! No none could cut a path through the mountain and who cares if a woman from a lowly Caste had died?! Dashrath continued day and night for 22 years to make his vision a reality – he cut a path 110 meters long, 7.7 meters deep in some parts and 9.1 meters wide. It reduced the journey from 70 kilometers down to 1km.
He was a national hero.
The conviction of his thinking and the conviction of his actions, made an invaluable contribution to the lives of many people, including those who ridiculed him for many years.
Later Manjhi said, “Though most villagers taunted me at first, there were quite a few who eventually lent me support by helping me dig, giving me food and helping me buy my tools.”
What a staggering accomplishment and an amazing story about having the courage of your convictions.
It was a shame Dashrath passed away before he saw his path eventually paved 30 years later. That would have given him immense joy to see others catching his vision to improve the lives of his village and beyond.
Leaders, like Dashrath, who experience great success in their endeavours all have one Leadership trait in common – conviction.
Conviction comes from the depth of your heart and spirit and it drives your passion as the leader to lead your team with a compelling vision. Your deep down conviction multiplies positive energy resulting in your team also becoming convicted about what needs to be done.
What are you convicted about? Why?
What aren’t you convicted about? Why not?
There is a huge difference between being effective and just focusing on Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Effectiveness is driven by conviction. The greater your will to succeed, the greater your conviction to achieve, the more you will hunt down better ways to achieve what you want to achieve.
When leading people, it is the leaders responsibility to grow the people they surround themselves with by growing their effectiveness, not just their efficiencies.
Are you being effective?
What aren’t you being effective about?
Who is effective?
Who isn’t effective?
Effective leaders attract and empower the people they are leading to be convicted about achieving the vision, totally sold out, united and driven, resulting in the team becoming one.
Is the team you lead sold out to the vision?
What must you do to grow the conviction of the team you surround yourself with?
A highly effective leadership process to grow the conviction of those you lead is the power of One On One’s.
To be an effective leader, you must have the ability to lead people one on one, empowering each individual’s heart by connecting with them to ensure that they are following you as the leader, not because they have to, but because they want to.
When people follow the Leader because they want to, this is the moment of conviction – heart and spirit. The villagers who eventually offered help to Dashrath did so because they wanted to, inspired by his conviction to build the path through the mountain.
Are people following you because they have to?
Are people following you because they want to?
Who do you need to empower?
Who do you need to influence?
When team members are convicted, it means they have a purpose. Conviction is personal. It comes from deep within our heart and our spirit. It is stronger than belief. It is stronger than passion. Each individual on the team who is convicted about the vision will be accountable to themselves and accountable to the team to do whatever it takes to achieve it. A convicted team member is like gold.
As the leader, are you doing whatever it takes?
Who on your team is doing whatever it takes?
Who on your team isn’t doing whatever it takes?
Do you know why?
To grow conviction in individuals requires effective leadership, spending one on one time with those key people who have the potential to lead.
Growing conviction within team members results in effective leadership because you are growing trust and belief through empowerment and raising the individuals self worth. This in turn grows their own personal accountability resulting in deeper loyalty allowing the leader to challenge the individual at a much deeper level because they are convicted about wanting to follow that leader who is making a real difference in their life.
Who do you need to believe in more?
Who do you need to empower more?
Who do you need to challenge more?
Who isn’t loyal to you?
Who isn’t accountable?
You don’t need to be a well known leader, or work for a multinational conglomerate or have 100,000 followers on Insta to get stuff done, you just need the courage of your convictions to blaze a trail for yourself and your team. But it starts with you, the leader.
Are you leading with conviction?
Are you inspiring and growing conviction in those you lead?
Do you and your team have the conviction like Dashrath to achieve what you want to achieve? Why or why not?
Thank you for taking the time to read my article.
I trust my articles can play a part in helping you grow your Leadership strength to live a better life!
I talk further about conviction in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.
If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy, (RRP $24.95), click here.
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