Posts Tagged courage

Leadership Is Dangerous

Leadership_is_dangerouseMy good friend Joseph Lalonde released his free eBook a couple of weeks ago, LEADERSHIP IS DANGEROUS: Four Traps That a Leader Should Avoid.

Sometimes we become leaders by accident. It leaves us wondering what leadership means for us. To be honest, it can mean many different things. Leadership means:

You have followers: There are people who are watching what you do. They’re waiting for your next move so they can follow in your steps. You may not always see who your followers are but they’re out there [TweetMe]. They can be friends, family members, or complete strangers. Be on the lookout for who’s following after you.

Being a leader means you have responsibility: Did you ever read Spiderman growing up? Before Peter Parker’s uncle Ben dies, he says something to Peter. He uttered the words “With great power comes great responsibility.” [TweetMe] How does this relate to you? You’ve been given the power to lead others. You have influence over your followers. This gives you power. With this power comes great responsibility. Be sure to lead with this thought in mind.

Your choices no longer affect just you: That’s right. Your choices now affect others. Your followers may feel the repercussions of the choices you make [TweetMe]. The bad choices you make will reverberate through your organization. If you’re married, you know this. Every choice you make affects your spouse and children. No choice is separate from your leadership of the family.

Now you know what being a leader means. You’re attracting followers. You’re given great power but also have great responsibility. And your choices now affect more than yourself.

The choices you make affect everyone you touch and everything you do. There will be times when you believe no one is watching you. That’s a lie. Once you become a leader, someone will be watching you.

All you have to do is watch the news and you’ll see how our leaders are watched. Your steps will be scrutinized. Your decisions will be questioned. And eyes will be watching you.

This is why you, as a leader, need to be vigilant. Get a free copy of Joseph’s eBook here.


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Leadership In The SUN

medium_6045855541I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was worried, thoughts ravaged my mind, I pondered over many scenarios. Then fear put a cold, solid grip on my heart. What would the future be for my family and I?

Like many a man, not having a solid feeling of control can leave me in a mental vortex.

In the sleepiness that plagued me that early morning, I remembered the following passage from Jeff Goins’ book, The In-Between.

“In frustration, I’m confronted with an old lesson of letting go, of looking beyond personal ambition and replacing it with something better. The slow growth that happens when I surrender to what life — and maybe God — is trying to teach me. So it seems, despite a penchant for travel, that the antidote to my restlessness is not another trip or adventure, but a deep abiding in where I am really matters. I don’t like it, but I’m starting to see the value of the times in between the big moments in life.”

My in-between is to activate the Suspend, Understand and Nurture model [TweetMe]. I needed to step into the SUN now to take control of my fears. As I wait for the next phase of my life to kick in, I can maximize on the present. The now becomes my launch pad.

SUSPEND my fear and embrace the possibilities by focusing on the vision [TweetMe]. I don’t live just for myself but to bring forth leadership that brings meaningful change to others. Succumbing to fear of failure reduces my chances to advance and possibilities to learn. I am robbing others of an opportunity to be led. When I progressively overcome my fear, I increase my chances of growing leaders, not just gaining followers. As Seth Godin puts it, “Fear the fear, feel the fear”.

UNDERSTAND the right tools required for leadership to thrive within me [TweetMe]. I must invest in the right attitude to engage with others, leaders and followers alike. However, these tools will not be available to me at the same time. I need to capture the moment and use what is at hand to gain what I can’t reach. Joseph Lalode shares the secret sauce for testing the waters and getting something done, pulling a ready, fire, aim on life. That attitude will be guided by the knowledge that there is always space to learn. It is only a fool who doesn’t change his mind!

NURTURE is paramount for any meaningful growth as a leader [TweetMe]. A frequent detox is required to get rid of the dirt/baggage for best results to emerge and leadership to shine. I need to learn and sit at the feet of great men and women who have gone before me. This includes a desire to be more accountable to myself and significant others. Learning to be humble will nurture my leadership and ability to mend fences and build bridges, especially with those I have wronged.

For any leader, those in-between moments can be make-it-or-break-it scenarios. I now have a deeper appreciation for what Steve Jobs once said, “Believe that things will work out… Trust your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path. Trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”


How can you apply the SUN model to grow your leadership?

photo credit: Kevin_Morris via photopin cc

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The Maple-Leaf Affair

medium_8086903740On a recent trip, I couldn’t help but notice a well-dressed elderly lady in a wheelchair. She was sipping at what I assume was a delicious coffee at Muggs & Bean, just outside the boarding gates at Cape Town International Airport in South Africa. I gathered she must be Canadian as her bag had a tag with the red maple leaf found on the Canadian flag.

I did not think much of it until well into our flight. Incidentally, the lady and her husband sat across the isle to my left. That is after I noticed that she was urgently pecking away at an iPad. It was the bold, red, fontsize-24 Arial typeface that grabbed my attention.

“Handling the wheelchair is becoming a challenge. The pain in the shoulders and fingers is getting worse. Need constant help to get around,” she typed out and continued, “Should check out hospice [she even typed out its name]… Prepare for death.”

What? Had I read that right, or was the recycled air in the aircraft cabin playing tricks on my travel-fatigued mind? All this time, her husband would read what she had typed out and patiently respond to her in a soft, loving voice.

This got me thinking of how short the time is to make any meaningful impact in our community [TweetMe]. Should I waste my time chasing my tail or those of others? Or should I build my dream and impact lives with the goodness that was so graciously extended to me by my Maker?

As a leader, the three parts of the maple leaf remind me I need to do the following inspired by Robin Sharma:

First, I must CAST AWAY FEAR OF FAILURE and grow the opportunities I come across [TweetMe]. Robin Sharma reminds me, “Your excuses are nothing more than the lies your fears have sold you.” This lady embraced her fears and talked about them.

Second, Even as I work at it, I need to CLAIM STRENGTH AND COURAGE from significant others and God. I need to remain accountable to accomplish what I set out to do. Robin says, “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” Her husband was right there walking her through what must be a very difficult period in her life.

Finally, I must MOVE FORWARD WITH BOLDNESS that is the leader I was destined to be! [TweetMe] “Life is short. Be of use,” says Robin. This lady was courageous enough to accept her life’s situation.

My dream shall become my mantra. From today, I will actively remind myself to serve first. For it is in service that I grow my significance [TweetMe].

How are you growing your significance? What do you need to do to grow your service-leadership?

photo credit: mgabelmann via photopin cc

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Rise up Titans!

de5d6297a3e847ce5b90e1649671565eA few days ago, I received and interesting email from a good friend. “I will give you a call in a bit about this post…” was all it said. No salutation or sign-off. He is a regular management columnist in the local Business Daily. “What had he noticed in my blog post?” I wondered. Being the optimist, I focused on the positive. I thought he has found life-changing inspiration in my thoughts.

Later in the evening, after a raucous exchange of pleasantries (he is a fun, loud chap) he blurted out, “I give you a 1 out of 10 for your blog post today!” What? Did I hear that right? So much for my optimism. Under normal circumstances, I would have become super-defensive. But I listened…

He took me through the emotions he underwent as he read my blog. The title had drawn him in, but something was missing in the content and he was yearning for more. Furthermore, he gave it to me straight up that my post was not up to the quality he expected of me. You know what? He was spot on!

I re-wrote the post to meet the need of one man. Was it necessary? Without a doubt it was. The reason I write is to fulfill a need. It is to share knowledge and inspire perspective to life, work and family. As I write, I strengthen my leadership and learn how to become a better follower.

A short while back, I attended a meeting with a difference. About a hundred men gathered together to engage in discussion around the meaning for their existence; spiritually, in society, at home and at work. There was a palpable buzz in the room. From the very onset, I had a feeling that something awesome was afoot.

For many men, it does not come naturally to us to meet and discuss intimate matters that affect our personal lives. We would rather discuss politics, sports, cars or women for hours on end than admit that we need help. Yet the cry for help was the clarion call in this meeting. Men coming together and saying, “I need help!”

So, what did I learn from these two experiences?

Leaders meet a need, not a target [TweetMe]. The need is a cry from the younger men for role models. They want to be led. They want to learn. They need hope. There is a need from the older folk. They have a deep craving to be significant, to matter. To lead is essential or very important for them to inspire future generations. When needs are met, a sense of belonging and stability is cultivated.

Leaders are pillars of unity. However, unity is broken when I participate in active/passive disobedience and refuse to take responsibility for my actions or calling. This happens when I am overwhelmed by fear or I am too lazy to commit to the task ahead. You can gauge a leader’s influence by his or her ability to instil unity in their followers regardless of the surrounding conditions.

Faithful people needed, must be ready to lead courageously. When I lead courageously, I begin to define the fellowship of where great initiatives spawn [TweetMe]. I need to take time to actively listen to others. To listen requires patience and time dedicated to it. Sometimes, listening is a dangerous adventure and I need all the courage to embrace criticism, rebuke or correction.

Leadership is complementary, not competitive. Who really pays the price in competition? How complementary are we as leaders to inspire hope in people? Do I give people faith in their capability that propels them forward in love? I read this interesting insight: “Faith is walking as you are. It is being stripped down to your own bare essentials and simply saying here I am.” Complementarity is when a leader has a healthy perspective of life and work. As Lolly Daskal says, “Losing perspective is being stuck in one single view of things and becoming distant from other views.”

When I choose to become a leader, I must be ready to pay the price [TweetMe]. The choices I make are driven by the values I hold. A leader can only be as effective as his or her deeds. I can’t expect to instigate meaningful change if I can’t live that change in the first place. For your influence to be followed, leaders have to pay at the door! I have to be the change that I wish to see in the world around me. I have to pay the price…

“I dream of men who take the next step instead of worrying about the next thousand steps,” T. Roosevelt.

Are you living to your full potential? List fears that are holding you back, and then determine the steps you will take to overcome those fears.

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