John Wooden. Nelson Mandela. Richard Branson. Abraham Lincoln.
Great leaders, all of them. Their words and actions inspired and motivated thousands upon thousands of people.
But probably not you. At least, not directly.
You never met Abraham Lincoln. (And, if you did, you need to contact the Guiness Book of World Records people immediately.) And, although I may not know you personally, I’m guessing that you’ve never had any of the other three on your speed dial either.
Sure, you’ve read their words and their stories. You may have seen movies about their lives. You certainly know about them. But if I were to ask you who the leaders were in your life, they would probably not be the people you’d name.
No, if I were to ask you who the leaders were in your life, you’d tell me stories about your grandmother, or your high school wrestling coach. You’d tell me about someone in your church, synagogue, or mosque. You might tell me about the mother down the street who single-handedly raised three children into fine young adults, or the man who took a chance on you by giving you your first job.
The truth is that, for most of us, the leaders who made the biggest direct impact on our lives were not household names. They may not have even thought of themselves as leaders. But they were leaders, whether they realized it or not.
And if I asked you who the leaders were in your life, you’d tell me their names and their stories.
So here’s the question: How many people, if I asked them that same question, would tell me your name, and your story?
It comes down to an even more basic question: Are you a leader?
I mean a real leader. I don’t care what title is on your business card. Any idiot can print a business card.
A real leader is someone people follow because they want to, not because they have to.
A real leader is someone who leads by example—who walks the talk whether people are watching or not.
A real leader earns respect rather than demands it.
A real #leader is someone people follow because they want to, not because they have to. #Leadership Click To Tweet
A real #leader earns respect rather than demands it. #Leadership Click To Tweet
Art Grimm was a real leader. He was my high school football coach. But I wasn’t on the football team. I was in the band. (Yeah, I know. But let’s be honest—there are more band nerds than there are football stars.) If you want to know what a real leader did, in less than one minute, that has stuck with me for over 40 years, click here.
Here’s my final question: What can you do, today, that will still be making a difference 40 years from now?