After 30 years of study and research I’ve come to three immutable conclusions about leadership––and only three…
#1 There are only two types of people in the world: Leaders––and those who aren’t.
#2 If you want to get ahead in life and help others––be a leader.
#3 Leadership has nothing to do with rank, title or position of authority.
Leadership is your key to an independent, productive and happy life. Our Founders understood this intimately. They built America on the principle that people are more productive and prosperous when they’re free to pursue their own interests, own the fruits of their own labor and choose their own causes and determine their own purpose.
They also understood that people contribute much more to other members of the community when they are empowered to pursue their own vision of success and happiness.
I’m going to start by expanding on my second conclusion…
Leaders are people who make things happen––for themselves and for others. They don’t wait around for others to help or save them––though they appreciate those who do. They dedicate themselves to the service of others and understand that their own power, their ability to perform effectively, can only expand through sharing and by empowering others.
Which leads us to the third conclusion…
“If you inspire others to learn more, do more and become more––
you are a leader.”
Lots of people have attributed this quote to John Quincy Adams. More recently researchers have found that Dolly Parton is the likely source! Either way––it’s a powerful sentiment.
You can be a genuine leader no matter what your rank, title or position of authority. There are plenty of people in high places that are simply lousy leaders. And you’ll find many effective leaders on the front lines.
A leader is defined by action––not by title. Inspire, empower and guide the people around you and you are a leader. You don’t need a title, rank or private parking space to do this.
And so––the first conclusion…
The most important decision any of us can make is whether or not to be a leader or not.
We decide whether or not we’re going to learn, grow and cultivate our own talents, skills and abilities.
We decide whether or not we’re going to live a life of value and service to benefit others.
We decide whether or not to direct our lives to a meaningful purpose.
We decide whether or not we provide a worthy example.
We decide whether or not to share respect, trust and loyalty.
Do these things and you are a leader. Ignore them and you’re not.
It really is this simple. Which will you choose?
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