All of us will have the opportunity to grow and to develop ourselves into better leaders and people. Leadership is something we all have concerns about. Leadership is a concept that is not reserved for or only applies to certain people in business, government, and civic organizations. The reality is that no matter our age, gender, occupation, educational level, or position in life, each of us touches and influences other lives. This means that we will have to work hard to develop our skills and become more effective in our roles.
We will have to be willing to accept our share of the responsibility of growing and developing into leaders and understand that we are all leaders to someone at some time. It can be a person under our supervision or care, a spouse we honor and live with, a child we nurture, a student we teach, or a player we coach. It could be as simple as a fellow member of our church or religious affiliation, club, league, or association, but it is usually identified by the fact we have made a positive difference through our actions and examples. With this sense of responsibility and being lifelong learners, we are constantly in pursuit of knowledge, whether written or experienced, of how to be a good leader and how to improve our skills.
We take great pride in the books we have read and where they sit on the best-seller list. I often find that some of the best examples and learning experiences come from the stories we tell and the experiences we share. Sometimes they come from the stories we learned as children or read to our children as parents or grandparents. Leaders must develop emotional intelligence along with their educational intelligence and business acumen. I have found that sometimes a simple story can help us see the bigger picture, promote moral and ethical behavior, and maybe, just maybe, not take ourselves so seriously that we lose sight of the fact that it is not always about us.
Once we accept that we are the architects of our own destiny, we become purpose-driven people. As we grow and develop, take on new challenges, or simply move into a new phase of our life, we will be faced with complications and adversity that may set us back. Honesty, perseverance, and trustworthiness will become major factors in overcoming these obstacles and creating your personal brand and your legacy. Along the way, you come to a decision point or stage gate. Your choice is simple but profound in each instance, but a decision must be made.
Your choices are LEAD, FOLLOW, or GET OUT OF THE WAY.
If you choose to lead, you will need to be an honest and trusted leader to establish your vision, mission, and values so that those in your care or supervision will trust you enough to follow. As a lifelong learner, you are constantly forging a path to transform yourself into a high-character, high-performance leader. You will never be without challenges both in life and business. But if you are focused and ready to face these complex business challenges and personal changes with discipline, determination, honesty of purpose, and in an ethical manner, you will be successful. Whether we realize it or not, we are all here to determine what our real intent is in life. For each of us, it may be different. For some, this might mean being a great spouse, father, leader, and mentor; to have a legacy, to leave the place a little better than they found it.
Purpose-driven people put their morals, character, and honesty first. Without purpose, we drift. With purpose, we steer. You have a responsibility to yourself and to others to use your best judgment, weigh your options carefully, and make the right decisions—even if they’re not the most favorable or popular, even when no one is watching! When you do that, you honor yourself and your values.
Wherever your path takes you, know that your trustworthiness is your highest honor. For if you are a trusted leader, others will believe in your vision, mission, and values and will trust in you enough to follow you. That will be your legacy. As a person, your core beliefs are not what you would like them to be, but rather what lives and breathes in you as a person. The good news is that you will have many opportunities in your career and in life to demonstrate these values and beliefs, but only one chance to get it right each time.
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Have a great 2023 and BE THE ARCHITECT OF YOUR OWN DESTINY
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