“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” –John Quincy Adams
Leadership is an internal concept. It is a mindful activity we perform by communicating our desired set of thoughts which take up a physical form on the outside. It defines our value as a human to other individuals and groups which either makes them look up to us or otherwise in differing degrees based on the worth of our contribution to their lives. Thus, leadership, in one word, is influence. The question is, Are You a Leader?
Sadly, we think of leadership as something reserved in the work environment for the elite few. We believe we need extraordinary intelligence, experience, people’s skills, and high qualifying educational degrees to be a leader. In truth, everything we do in our lives involves showcasing leadership. I hope all of you reading this are so with the intention of becoming positive influential leaders. How effective we are as leaders in various roles is based on our priorities, ability, and willingness. Let us take this point further, in detail, by viewing it in form of an example:
Let’s imagine a 37-year old married top notch business man with two young kids along with a beautiful wife living in the suburbs of a fast paced city facing daily professional, personal, physical and spiritual pressures. This can be very difficult, but this man has worked hard to build a strong unshakable character and seems to look at every day as an opportunity to become more efficient and successful in all aspects of his life. One habit which has helped him through is his morning ritual of getting up at 5:30 AM. In addition, he spends time exercising and eating right. Further, he takes a strong dose of positively influential non-fictional reading to sharpen his saw to prepare himself for the day ahead.
Next, he ensures he bids good-bye to his kids on their way to school knowing one day they will be gone and he would miss having his little gems around. He takes time to express deep love for his wife before he leaves for the day letting her know how much he appreciates her support and he would always stand by her. Before he went to sleep last night, he already had his day planned ensuring he hasn’t left any stone unturned. While at work, he remembers that it is a gift to be leading an organization. He cares to lead with integrity and commitment even in the most challenging of times. Overall, he cares for his people, family, and himself all equally.
I bet you this man can take up more challenges than most who would fall prey to one of the pressure aspects of life disrupting the balance in other areas as well. You should know that the only reason this man has come so far in his life, and why definitely and undoubtedly he would continue to grow is because his strong character allows him to maintain a phenomenal attitude letting him lead his life with integrity, optimism, and commitment to greatness. This man, in all aspects, is a true leader.
Moreover, true leadership is leadership by example. Many can talk, but it takes a true leader to walk the talk. Are you a true leader? Don’t worry, if you are guilty of faltering. It’s ok. But, knowing what you know now, change. Get up, look around, look within, and look deep at all aspects of your life. See, how much more can you be and do. Take responsibility. Stop blaming the weather, people, and circumstances outside. Instead, raise your self-worth, and improve your surroundings and relationships with people. This is the true path to greatness. I would like to leave you with a true story from the life of one of the greatest leader’s of all times-Mahatma Gandhi. Hope it speaks volumes that only action can, and inspires you to lead by example:
In the 1930’s there was a young boy who had become addicted to and obsessed with eating sugar. His mother decided to get help from Gandhi, and took the long and hot journey with her son walking many miles and hours under the scorching sun.
She finally met him and asked him to tell her son to stop eating sugar, it wasn’t good for his health. Gandhi replied, “I cannot tell him that. But you may bring him back in a few weeks and then I will talk to him.” The mother was confused and upset and took the boy home.
Two weeks later she came back. This time Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said “”Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.” The boy nodded his head and promised he wouldn’t. The boy’s mother was puzzled. She asked “Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I brought him here to see you?”
Gandhi smiled and said “Mother, two weeks ago I was eating a lot of sugar myself.”