We can never be a leader unless we start to think like one!

This article is about my reflection after more than one year, growing an organization in Helsinki, Finland. Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned after meeting and working with hundreds of people, including senior entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and nationalities. I hope this is helpful, especially for people who are starting their careers!

Leader’s mindset on self-development

First, you know who you are, secondly, you know what you want in life, then you do what it takes to get there! 

If you let the crowd, or the trend, or more-experienced people, influence too much on your life decisions, you’ll feel secure now (doing the right thing JUST LIKE everyone else), but may regret later & wonder “WHAT IF I listened to my gut feeling.”

If you stay true to yourself & commit only to do what personally matters, things may not make sense at this moment, but it will later on.

This is also what Steve Jobs experienced when he dropped out of Stanford. He quitted the compulsory classes that never interested him in studying calligraphy, which drew his curiosity, even though he had no clue how to apply to his career or benefit from it in his life. But that’s how ten years later, Mac became the first computer with beautiful typography. So follow your heart. It will never fool you.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra.

Have you ever taken a look back at WHY you decided to do what you’re doing? For example, why going to school? Why living abroad? Why study for a master’s degree? Why getting married? Why having children? Why eating meat?

Don’t worry, and there’s no right or wrong answer here. Just need to make sure the goals/ reasons behind every life decision you make matter to you, not your parents, your friends, or your social networks.

Stay true to yourself, and you won’t end up feeling regret. The worst thing is not giving it a try but to BLINDLY follow social norms or the majority. Don’t waste your limited time on earth living somebody else’s life.

Leader’s mindset about work

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

Planning is a huge waste of time and effort, but only if we do it without execution. In fact, every minute of planning can save 10 minutes of doing. The first and foremost step of any planning process is setting the goals. And in whatever you do, with a clear goal, you will do it much better.

Abraham Lincoln is often quoted for having said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe”. Some people may find it unreasonable to spend more time on preparation than execution. They might be impatient and just want to jump right into doing it. And I think that’s why it takes them more attempts to succeed. It’s not necessary to have a good and early start if you never reach your destination.

In most cases, what we do is not as important as how we do it. I keep telling myself when I work on something: “Do it with 100% energy & attention or NOT AT ALL”. That quote gets me hyped up whenever I need some motivation. Like Jack Canfield also said, “Anything worth doing in life, it’s worth giving your 100% effort into it”. So folks, whatever you’re doing, give it your all, do it to the best you can. And you will be amazed by the result you’re going to get.

Work smarter, not harder. Here’s WHY and HOW

What will you get when you reach the maximum of working hard? => Success? Unfortunately, it’s the contrary – burn out! Paul Rulkens says, “We don’t have to be twice as good to double our results. Only need to become a little bit better at the LITTLE things that MATTER the most”. And I can’t agree more!

Working hard is when

– I do everything I think I’m supposed to do all by myself.

– I spend a lot of time working without any strategy.

Working smart is when

– I do the things that matter to me the most.

– I let more talented people help me to do the things I’m not good at.

– I spend a lot of time building a working strategy to get things done more efficiently.

Start working smarter from today!


Leader’s mindset towards other people

Manage yourself before being able to “manage” anyone else

I regard the term “people management” with disfavor. I think I should never try to manage anyone else except for myself. In the same vein, instead of trying to control others whom I love or work with, I aim to learn how to control myself better day by day.

The most common thinking trap young people fall into is that we compare our beginning to others’ destination. Let comparison motivates you to improve, instead of feeling fearful & insecure. Let others’ good news make you happy, not envy. Let others’ achievements inspire you to thrive not to feel sorry for yourself.

Just be grateful for who you are, where you’re at, and what you have right now. And even more grateful for the fact that you can always continue to pursue what you want to have & achieve what you desire.

You are above no one and below nobody.

Comparing yourself with other people & then feel miserable about it. For me, it just makes no sense. Because firstly, there is no proper “standard of measurement”, unless you can find another “you” in this world. Otherwise, whatever aspect you take into consideration: earning, appearance, relationship, achievement, talent, etc. Those “metrics” are all irrelevant.

Secondly, what you can see about others, especially via Social Media, it’s all just the OUTSIDE. Everybody has their struggles unshown. Only compare yourself with the person you see in the mirror. You are above no one and below nobody.

Leader’s attitude during difficult times

“Tough time never lasts, but tough people do” – Robert R.Schuller 

Have you ever recalled some of the most challenging times in your life and felt so proud & impressed “Wow, can’t believe I made it through”? We’ve all been there. So no matter how difficult the situation you are in right now. Hang in there! Remember, you’re much stronger than you think you are!

If you’re feeling great, appreciate it. If you’re feeling bad, appreciate it as well. Because nothing lasts forever. Wrong decisions, mistakes, failures, bad days, unpleasant things at work. Oh, and also Coronavirus. None of them lasts the test of time. So when life gets tough, my friend, remember you’re much tougher!

Control our fear before it controls us

Never let the FEAR of things that you’re not sure will happen WASTE the limited time that you are certainly going to have. The worst experience can become a bliss if you allow it to be. Fear is a powerful emotion, and we should make good use of it. Control your fear before it blocks all your opportunity to thrive!


Ha Nguyen (Hanna). Ha is an advocate for children’s rights & equality who has a passion for writing & creating impactful content. If you like this blog, you probably will enjoy and benefit from her daily writing. Connect with Ha on FacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn

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