It is the process of influencing others and supporting them to work enthusiastically in order to achieve a common goal. It is the ability to take the initiative, manage, convene, promote, motivate, and evaluate a group or team. It implies that there is a person (leader) that can influence and motivate others (followers). Leadership studies emphasize the ability to persuade and influence. Traditionally, charisma has been added to the sum of these two variables. To summarize, leadership is the process of influencing others, for others to follow, it is the ability to take the initiative, to take the first step, to accept responsibilities, to take challenges and decisions, and to motivate others to follow. Leaders are the people who generate a change in the world.
Who can be a leader? We all can! There is a phrase by the author Robin Sharma, writer of the best seller “The monk who sold his Ferrari”, which says: “If you breathe you can be a leader.” Since leaders are made, and we are all born, then we all have the possibility of becoming leaders.
Leaders start on their own, from within, the true leader is born from within. All the great leaders started with something small, step by step. As Martin Luther King said: “You do not have to see the whole ladder, just take the first step”. Or Neil Armstrong: “A small step for man, a great leap for humanity”. Where did that program come from? From the mind and determination of a young American president named John F. Kennedy, who did not last long in the White House but who to this day we remember him as a president who changed the history of the world. That is a true leader, charismatic, sympathetic, innovative and winner of obstacles.
The true leader is not the most intelligent person or better than the others, he is the one who does something focused towards improvement every day, pointing towards the goal. All dreams start small, all leaders start small, make a decision and put the effect in motion, the great leaders are flesh and blood ordinary people with extraordinary attitudes. What separates the best from the rest is that the best took action towards their dreams, without being afraid of failure.
They are leaders because they failed more than us. You have to see failure as research, since nothing fails more than success. Failure is the price of ambition, it is part of success, the most successful leaders went through the worst failures, large organizations went through great failures, the industrialized and developed countries go through great depressions. If you do not make mistakes at least 8 times a month, you are not stretching enough to be a leader since leaders always increase their goals.
How can we be leaders? We must start with ourselves; we cannot be leaders for others if we are not leaders for ourselves first. Big organizations are made up of human beings, so in order to have a great organization we must start with ourselves.
- Commit yourself to learning every day: the world’s best leaders dedicate themselves daily to learning something that helps improve their lives. Leaders are constantly renewing, learning, and improving. If you eat three times a day you will be fed, but if you read 3 times a day you will be smart. Commit yourself every day to read at least 30 minutes, or listen to an audio book. The most interesting thing about books is that you learn in 30 minutes what took the author a lifetime. Reading is a conversation with the author. An idea in a book has the power to change your life. Also, do you know how amazing it is to read the lives of Gandhi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Disney, Sylvester Stallone or Harry Potter‘s author, J.K Rowling? The interesting thing about these lives is knowing how they got to where they are. Read, learn, awaken in you that interest in knowing and asking everything. You know where you can learn that habit? From your kids.
- Take care of your health: it is the most important thing you have. True leaders take care of their health and therefore, do what they love. There is a Hebrew saying that says you spend your life looking to make money and then spend your money trying to get your life back. It is like saying that you are too busy at work to go to the gym, it would be the same as saying that you are so busy driving your car that it does not give you time to get gas. Health is the fundamental pillar of a leader since being sick or in bed soes not allow you to make the right decisions. Health is life and the life of a leader is health. If you do not take time to take care of yourself, you are making time to get sick. You do not want to be the richest in the cemetery, right? In fact, isn’t it peculiar toy will find no tombstone that reads “Dear friend, we need you in the Rotary Club, or we will miss you. Signed: your fellow Wall Street co-workers.” But you will always find things like “you will live forever in our hearts”. Take care and love your family, especially the ones closest to you.
- Time is money: being a leader means managing time. One of the greatest problems a human being has is that everything is left for tomorrow. We’ve all been there. I believe that we must live with urgency, full of challenges, changes, innovations, and new things. As the Chinese proverb says, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best moment is now”. At the end of the day, we will have eternity to rest, or not?
- Keep a diary: great leaders write things down and are always waiting to get that million dollar idea. Remember an idea can change your life.
- The legacy: the most important thing in our life is not what we can get out of it but what we can give to it. Success is wonderful, money and everything that goes with it. I believe, very personally, that the magic of life is in giving, that a sensation of inner fullness can only be obtained by giving to another human being, when you serve, when you share. There is nothing more beautiful and satisfying than the transformation of a brother or sister. Life is to make a mark, that made by leaders. Tomorrow’s leaders, those who will make decisions that change the world, are created today. Create a leader today and start with yourself. Decide to be a leader today! A leader is not the one who avoids obstacles, nor fear; it is a person who stands before adversaries and turns them into allies, into his followers. A leader controls the inner voice, that which stops us in life and fills our minds with garbage and limitations, and transforms it into a true voice, that of the I am powerful, successful, unstoppable, made in the image and likeness of the essence of life, the creator of infinite possibilities, to be better, to do the best. Make the best of your life today.