I’ve always love to learn about how leaders of different generations are formed and their background stories. What I have found in common in all of them is that none of these timeless leaders is remembered because of their title or social status.
Look at anyone who is widely considered an inspirational figure, for example, Dr Martin Luthur King Jr, Mohammad Gandhi or Mother Theresa. Do we even remember their official title?
We get inspired by them for what they believe and what they did about it.
Think about the Woman Suffrage Movement, pioneers such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who essentially started the women’s movement in 1848, they did not live long enough to see the legal right for women to vote in 1920. Yet, they paved the way of what is to come as one of the most significant milestone in achieving women equality.
They did what they did because they felt the call to do the right thing. They believed women have the right to vote and should be treated more equally. They didn’t know for sure if they were to succeed, in fact, the odds were completely against them. But they did it anyway.
This is in alignment with what Dr Martin Luther King Jr. believed, he said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Why? Because they believe with their heart, not with their head. There are no apparent reasons why they should think they would or could succeed. But that thinking didn’t deter them, not at all.
We used our mind to form strategies, create plans and execute moves. But without the heart and deep belief in something that is truly important, none of the strategy, plan or move will lead us to the long road to victory.
About 250,000 people showed up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. to listen to Dr Martin Luther King Junior’s speech at the March for Jobs and Freedom. He began with these words “I have a dream …”. Not “I have a plan”.
A true leader is not necessarily someone who holds a high position in a business or an organization. It is someone who can inspire others and mobilize them to follow with actions.
As Simon Sinek said, “A boss has the title, a leader has the people.”
In order to mobilize people, we must first connect with others’ heart and emotions. This is not about the use of an effective strategy. It is about thinking about who we really are.
We are emotional beings that are capable of empathy and love. When we have something truly sincere and important to communicate, people in the receiving end can feel it. Some may try to manipulate and script the right words to say, but at a deeper level, most of us can sense what is real and what is fake or what is fear masking as protectionism.
True leadership is about who you are and why you do what you do.
We all can be leaders in our lives, whether it is at work, at home, in our tribe or community. None of that matters, we must listen to what our hearts call us to do. And that’s the ultimate way to understand and fulfil our life purpose.
Leadership is a quality that emerges from your life experience, essentially through trial and error, growth and losses. It is not something you can get to wear a badge once you reach a certain level of success. Wealth and success alone cannot attain leadership, they may provide some circumstances for it to develop but ultimately it requires a deeper understanding of who you are and what you believe.
And here comes the saying “You are the captain of your ship”, as you are the leader of your life. It is all in your power to become who you want to be.
If true leadership is something you would like to develop, then make sure you have a clear sight of what you believe, rather than chasing blindly after a title or status quo.
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a moulder of consensus.” another great quote by Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
Now, what is in your heart that you truly believe in? Are you willing to allow your true leadership quality to emerge? If so, take action, share what you believe and start a conversation that matters today!
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