What does it take to be a leader?

Some self-described leadership guru’s opine that leaders are born not developed. Their case, somehow a genetic gem is created within the womb that enables a person to be born a leader. Where they get the basis for their theory is unknown, however I can tell you the idea that leaders are born is entirely false. A look at some of the most heralded leader’s in history shows they were not born with the ability to lead but their abilities were developed. Abraham Lincoln, before he was elected president his girlfriend died, he lost his business, he had a nervous breakdown, in all he lost seven political races before being elected president. Doesn’t sound like a born leader does it? Yet, Abraham Lincoln is considered to be one of the best leaders in United States history. Under his leadership the Civil War was ended and the Emancipation Proclamation was penned, bringing an end to slavery.

Abraham Lincoln, natural born leader?
There are thousands of stories like that of Abraham Lincoln. Despite what the politically correct would like you to believe, many leaders did not come from an affluent childhood or born with the ability to lead. Most developed their abilities through what Walt Disney called “stick-to-it-tivity.” So, what does it take to be a leader? A pulse. If you’re breathing, you have the ability to be a leader. No matter where you are on the depth chart, organization structure or classroom.

If you have influence on others then you are a leader. If you have a pulse then you have influence.

In the next few blogs I will share some thoughts on steps we can all take to becoming the leaders we aspire. Until then, begin the transformation today to develop the leader within you. Here are a few things that have helped me along the way…thanks to John Maxwell for sharing these “Daily Dozens” in his book Today Matters.

Think the right kinds of thoughts. (Positive: don’t dive into the pool of self-pity.)
Say the right kinds of words. (Words heal or hurt, build or tear down.)
Set specific goals. (daily, weekly, monthly, long term and a plan for achieving goals.)
Take responsibility for your actions. (10% of life is made of what happens to you, 90% has to do with what you’re dealt.)
Turn failures into strengths. (Failure is inevitable, learn from mistakes.)
Go the extra mile. (Do more than is expected.)
Never give up. (Stick-to-it-tivity)
Choose right kind of friends (friends help you pass or fail, bring out your best or worst)
Character counts (commitment, honor, attitude, respect, truthfulness, morals)
Live by faith. (Faith is the currency of God’s economy; you want to be rich, live by faith.)
Generosity (be generous to someone who cannot repay your generosity)
Growth (spend at least an hour per day thinking, reading, listening for ways to improve yourself.)

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