In the March 2016 Entrepreneur Magazine, there was a great article about 22 Must Have Leadership Qualities. I found the article to be so powerful that I am spending a few minutes each week thinking about how I can improve these leadership skills myself. Like most things in life, you get what you focus your attention on.
The fifth of these 22 Must Have Leadership Qualities is Inspiration.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, a poor immigrant came to America and made a name for himself as a bodybuilder, then movie star and later as a politician rising to the highest public office in California. When reflecting on his success he gave credit to others for inspiring him and encouraging him to pursue his dreams. This is one of the reasons why he himself has tried to be a motivational figure in others’ lives.
I think that one of the big myths about leadership or success is that in order to contribute or to make a difference in the lives of others you have to have already climbed the ladder of success and be standing on the top rung. NO… far from it. It’s the climb up those rungs where you learn about who you are and what you have in you. Especially after you have fallen to the bottom or have been knocked down a few rungs. It’s also on this climb up the ladder of success that you make the decision about whether you want to climb it alone or bring others along with you. Most leaders who have climbed to the top of their chosen fields will tell you that they didn’t do it alone and they had a lot of help (and a little luck) along the way. So don’t think that you can’t inspire others, just because you haven’t attained the level of success you are striving for. You have a lot to offer right where you are now.
Schwarzenegger also brings up an important point within the quote referenced here… “Leaders aren’t self made. They are Driven.” As a former triathlon coach and personal trainer I can remember telling client after client that I can’t go to the gym for them or do that bike workout. This is true with clients that I work with now as well. It’s the clients that have that internal drive, that desire for high achievement that burns deep inside that brings out the best in them and translates into success. No one ever achieved anything of worth by laziness or lacking inspiration. Arnold is right when he says,“Leaders aren’t self made. They are Driven.”
While my story is not remarkable, I do get a lot of satisfaction in working with business leaders in a mentoring and coaching capacity and inspiring them to achieve more for themselves and to attain a higher level of success. Most of the clients I work with are self driven so it’s easy to guide them to achieve more but for others they need someone to provide them with the tools and inspire them to become self driven to reach the next rung on the ladder.
If my story or simple posts on Facebook or Twitter can inspire someone else to either not give up, to try harder or to see a problem in a different way, it can have a major impact on someone’s life. That’s the reward that leaders get by being inspirational. Regardless of whether you provide inspiration to one person or a team that you lead, the ability to provide inspiration helps to provide a more solid foundation for that leader to stand on, especially in hard times. And sometimes, when facing insurmountable odds, all a leader has is his ability to inspire… which sometimes is enough to save the day.