Questions build rapport, trust, psychological safety

5 MindSet Shifts to Achieve Incredible Success

#dannylangloss #leadershipexcellencepodcast Oct 21, 2022

Last week, I went to Sauk Valley Community College and had the chance to meet 15 of the best and brightest high school seniors from across a 6-county region. These students are in the Sauk Valley Academy, which is an accelerated program where they complete their senior year and freshman year of college at the same time.

This is going to surprise you, but my topic was leadership. There was so much engagement. So many great questions, so much insight into the minds of these students. The questions at the end led me to sharing my “5 Success Mindsets” that completely change the game.

Interested in learning more? Click here to go to my most recent blog post where I share and take a deep dive into these 5 mindsets.

  1. Our relationship with failure is one of the most important relationships we will ever have.
  2. The only person who can stop you is you.
  3. Only compete against yourself.
  4. Preparation + Opportunity + Success
  5. The most successful people don’t shoot for a title, they aim to make an impact.

#1 - Our Relationship with Failure

Mindset is the foundation of our success and how we view failure will determine if we keep ourselves locked in a small cage with tight walls and a low ceiling OR if we shatter that low ceiling and knock down those tight walls and soar. 

Failure does not define us. If we fail, we are not a failure. We do not get a “failure” label stamped on our forehead for the rest of our lives.

Failure is nothing more than a learning opportunity. It is nothing more than one more step on our pathway to success.

Failure is our greatest opportunity for growth. Failure gives us more information. It gives us a different perspective. It allows us to identify what additional resources we need to get where we want to go.

Not only does failure teach us and help us see a new pathway to success, failure makes us more resilient, more determined, and more motivated than ever to take the next step towards what we are trying to accomplish.

Failure makes us smarter. It makes us wiser. It makes us stronger.

What would you be willing to try if you weren’t afraid to fail? What would you be willing to do if this was your relationship with failure?

#2 - The Only Person Who Can Stop You is You

The only person who can stop you is you, because you are the only person who can decide to give up. You are the only person who can make the decision to quit.

When we are so focused, so committed, and so determined, when our goal is founded in what drives meaning in our lives and creates impact for others, nothing can stop us but us. I’m not saying that things will be easy, but what great thing in life worth accomplishing are easy? If it were easy, everyone would be accomplishing it. Everyone would be doing it. How special would that be?

When we run into roadblocks, when we begin to doubt ourselves, this is when we really need to lean into our purpose and our values. And in many instances, this is when we can lean on the incredible network of friends, mentors, and coaches.

#3 - Only Compete Against Yourself

As a young kid, my dad instilled this mindset in me, “Only compete against yourself AND always compete against yourself”.

Why is this so important?

When we are competing with other people, we take our focus off what we need to do to be successful. We are so worried about what everyone else is doing that we stop focusing on what we need to do. This creates negative energy within us and begins to drive comparison.

I believe comparison is one of the greatest thieves of peace, joy, happiness, and fulfillment. To make it worse, comparison opens the doorway to jealousy, envy, speaking with bad intentions, and backstabbing. Comparison leads to unhealthy competition that negatively impacts relationships and often leads people to do things they are not proud of.

When we only compete against ourselves and always compete against ourselves, the focus is on how we can show up as the best version of ourselves. This allows us to stay focused on our goals and passions while remaining grounded in our purpose and values. It is in these moments that we can remain true to who we are as a person. This allows us to stay in the present moment, focus on what we need to do to execute and be successful, and control what we can control. This drives incredible positive energy and maximizes our potential to enter a state of “flow”.

The most successful people realize there is plenty of success to go around for everyone. This abundance mindset allows us help other and cheer others on, and in turn, will create an environment where these people do this for us.

In the end if we have left it all on the field, we can be happy and proud of that whatever the result.

#4 - Preparation + Opportunity = Success

While all these tips have been essential to my success, this one has probably been the most important. We never know when opportunity will present itself, but when it does, we had better be ready. Just because an opportunity presents itself once does not mean it will present itself again.

Here is part of my story.

I had just entered my third year as a patrol officer when Detective Sibley suffered a significant injury to his right hand. This injury put him off work for 6 months. We had a small detective division, and it didn’t look like there would be any opportunities here for the next several years. But, with this injury, there was not a “short-term” opening in the division.

I loved my job and gave my best effort each and every day. I had volunteered for trainings and had just overcome some struggles I had the first two years of my career. My hard work had not gone unnoticed. With Detective Sibley being off recovering, the department needed someone to fill in for him. They tapped me on the shoulder. This set the trajectory for my career.

Things went very well my first few months in investigations, and when Sibley returned to work, they decided to keep me in the division. Two years later, I was promoted to Sergeant. The role of Detective Sergeant gave me an incredible opportunity to be creative and innovative in the area of community policing, while tackling the most serious crimes in the City. Seven years later at 33 years old, I became one of the youngest police chiefs in the country.

We never know when opportunity will present itself. I have seen so many people fall short of their goals, because they didn’t think an opportunity was coming, so they didn’t work hard and prepare themselves for it. In the end, they were upset with everyone else, but the only person they have to blame is themselves.

In the words of Will Smith, “The only way to be ready is to stay ready.”

#5 - It’s Not About Title; It is About Impact

Throughout my career, I have never set out to achieve a certain status or title. In fact, I never thought I would become the police chief, and I never wanted to be the City Manager. Duty called, and I stepped forward to answer the call. Both positions aligned with my passion and purpose. An opportunity presented itself, and I was ready to capture it.

I will tell you that I about fell out of my seat when the former police chief called me into his office, told me he had been watching me, and said he thought I would be the best choice to be the next police chief. Ultimately, he didn’t get to make that decision, but just because he believed in me it gave me an incredible amount of confidence to compete when the job came open. It also let me know that I was on the right path and creating great impact.

Many of you are asking yourself, if I am not seeking a title, what am I trying to accomplish? For me, it is all about impact in the areas I am passionate about and drive meaning in my life. Those areas include leadership, helping people who cannot help themselves, protecting children from pedophiles, creating a safe community, helping those suffering from addiction and mental illness, and the City of Dixon.

How do I determine what will give me the best chance to create this impact? Here is the question I ask myself, “Based on my current skill set, what position or positions would allow me to create the greatest impact for the most amount of people?”

Today, the positions I have chosen are City Manager, consultant, and motivational keynote speaker. These positions align with my values and give me the greatest opportunity to create significant impact in the areas I am most passionate about.


Because I am helping great people take their leadership to the next level, I get to be part of their impact in the areas they are most passionate about.

What do you think? 

I am interested in your thoughts! What tips can you share that drive your success? Email me at [email protected]

About the author: 

Danny Langloss has 25 years of leadership experience service as a hostage negotiator, police chief, city manager, state task force chairman, leadership consultant, host of the Leadership Excellence Podcst, and keynote speaker. He is currently the City Manager in Dixon, Illinois and owns Langloss Consulting.

Danny deliver’s leadership motivational keynotes on the topics, “Empathy: The Heartbeat of Leadership”, “OwnerShift: 7 Pillars to Unleash the Champions in Your Organization”, and “Protecting the Protectors: Building Resilience in Public Safety Organizations”. For more information, click here: 

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