August 27

If your actions inspire others
to dream more, learn more, do more
and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams


Today's Meditation:

I'm sometimes astonished to find out which people don't consider themselves to be leaders.  I know people who are wonderful role models of honesty, courtesy, love and compassion, but who don't think that they have any effect on others at all.  I know teachers who can get kids to do anything they want, but they separate the term "teacher" from "leader," and they don't see themselves as being leaders.  The simple fact is that we all have the potential to be leaders, whether we're leading people to think differently by sharing a different perspective or do something differently or better by teaching them, showing them, or guiding them--or all three.

Most of us learn to be followers, because we tend to put our leaders up on pedestals that we think we never can climb up.  We think that they have gifts that we don't have, and the they have abilities that we lack.  When we see ourselves in their place, we just know that people would argue with us, cut us down, and make the job of leadership impossible.  But it certainly is not impossible for any of us.

Part of the question we have to ask ourselves is just whom shall we lead?  I led college students through writing and literature courses for 15 years; now I lead high school students through different courses.  Parents lead their children through learning and self-discovery and lessons on how to deal with others and how to help and be compassionate.  In an office, one person can lead his or her peers to feel better every day by sharing important thoughts, photos, or even a snack or a kind greeting or words of encouragement.  Leaders don't necessarily tell people what to do--leaders inspire and teach and share.

"Dream more, learn more, do more, and become more."  What a beautiful thought.  And what a beautiful set of circumstances to which we can make a definite and powerful contribution, as long as we really do see ourselves as leaders and take that role seriously.

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

More on leadership.


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