“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States …
I really love this definition of being a leader, for it brings the ability to do so into the realm of possibility for all of us. And why not? We all have that ability to inspire others to dream big, to learn and to grow into something greater than they were yesterday, and to step into the shoes they were destined to fill. It is quite inspiring to think that through my everyday actions–simple ones that I am often not even aware of–I have the potential to be a great leader to those around me.
And yet, there are many among us who are amazing role models of honesty and integrity, courtesy and friendship, love and compassion, humility and gentleness, charity and mercy, patience and kindness, and so much more, who are not even aware of the impact they have on the lives of others. I know parents, who through their encouragement and support offer real strength and nourishment to the impressionable hearts of their children, and yet fail to see how wonderful of leaders they are. And teachers and coaches who inspire countless children each day to dream big and to seek to achieve those dreams, yet do not notice the leadership qualities they are exhibiting. You see, many of us place our leaders upon pedestals that we feel we could never climb, and we relegate ourselves to be only followers. We often think that leaders have special gifts, talents, and abilities that we lack or could never possess, and therefore, are unable to envision ourselves being a leader to anyone else.
The beauty is that we all have this incredible potential about us–whether that be sharing our unique perspectives, ideas, and talents with others, helping others to do things differently by teaching them how to act more effectively, providing our positive examples and guidance for others, or even by simply lifting the hearts and minds of those around us. But we must first be willing to ask ourselves who we will lead? I led a team of my peers in high school football for a season as the starting quarterback; now I lead my children through learning, self-discovery, and lessons on how to deal with others and how to help and be compassionate. And then, we must be ready to act with courage, integrity, determination, fortitude, selflessness, and love–to inspire, share, and teach others by our example; for leaders do not necessarily tell people what to do, they show people what to do.
What a beautiful way to live our lives and contribute to the beauty of this world… inspiring others to “dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.”
Take a moment to reflect upon some of the leadership qualities you possess and demonstrate to those around you.
Questions to consider:
Why do so few of us actually see ourselves as leaders?
In which situations do you actually have to exercise leadership skills?
How might you strengthen your ability to lead others in subtle ways that may be very valuable to them?
For further thought:
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” ~ Jack Welch, Winning