It’s said that one day, Frederick the Great of Prussia was walking on the outskirts of Berlin when he encountered a very old man walking ramrod-straight in the opposite direction.
“Who are you?” Frederick asked his subject.
“I am a king,” replied the old man.
“A king!” laughed Frederick. “Over what kingdom do you reign?”
“Over myself,” was the proud old man’s reply.
One of the most important ingredients needed for living a great life is Leadership.
Most people think of leadership as a position of authority, but leadership is so much more than this. Leadership is simply about stepping up and taking responsibility. And the first person we are responsible for is ourselves. Being self responsible is about understating we have the ability to respond. We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can always choose what happens in us.
Leadership is more about who you are than it is what you do. The most important person anyone will ever lead is themselves. Forget leading others if you can’t get a handle on your own life. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is called to be a leader by leading themselves well.
You are responsible to lead your life, no one can do that for you. You can’t delegate your life to someone else. Wouldn’t it be great if we could delegate our character to someone who has an awesome character? Wouldn’t it be great to delegate our compassion to someone that was full of compassion? But the reality is, you can’t delegate what is your responsibility. You will never get the most out of life if you don’t lead yourself first. Think about the word leadership…lead-er-ship…lead-ur-ship…lead-yur-ship…lead-your-ship. You have to lead your ship if you want to sail to great destinations. You are the captain of your soul and God is the Commander. He gives you the orders and it is your responsibility to carry them out. When we come to accept the responsibility of leadership in our own life, we will begin to take the first step towards greatness.
Over the years, I have been known for having a drive for leadership. Most people think it is because I love business organizational type stuff. But the reason I truly have a passion for leadership is because I believe the quality of a person’s life depends on their ability to lead themselves. I remember the desire I had to learn more about leadership as a young adult. It was not a desire driven by a want for position or authority over others; it was a desire that was birthed from my deep passion and dedication to lead myself and make a positive impact in the world. When I began to study and learn about leadership, I discovered that it was more about me than it was the masses. I started to devour any and every resource I could get my hands on to help me guide my life.
At the time, I didn’t have the income, networking, knowhow, or in some cases the time machine that I needed in order to meet people like Norman Vincent Peale, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Dr. Stephen Covey, Dr. John C. Maxwell, Jim Collins, and a host of others. So, I used the one resource I did have available to me: books. I even took a side job at a bookstore, because I wanted to be surrounded by great books. I studied these leaders’ resources and teachings and it shaped my paradigm.
I still remember listening to every Zig Ziglar tape (yes, I said tape, as in cassette) as a young twenty-year-old working a side job as a janitor of a dialyses center in Maryville, Tennessee. I would clock in around midnight, pop in my Ziglar tape, and start cleaning. I listened to the same tapes night after night until I literally memorized every one of them. The dialysis center paid me to clean, but during those hours of cleaning I was truly earning hundreds of credit hours towards a self-worth leadership degree. The principles I learned while cleaning the center directed the course of my career and inspired my devotion to personal development. Since that time, I have been on my own journey of leading prominent teams, organizations, and individuals down their own path of leadership development. I even was able to write my leadership book LEADOLOGY because of these experiences.
And it all started with a desire to lead myself first.
It’s time to start taking responsibility for your life and start to make the right choices to lead it in the direction that you’re called to go! Quit making excuses and start to make a way.
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