Being a leader is different and more important than being followed. So often people are too caught up in how many friends they have on Facebook, how many people follow them on social media and forget the more important point which is, are you making a difference in their lives? And are you leading them down a good path or a bad path? At Kenpo, we have a saying, “Lead by example, follow by choice”.
Does it really matter how many people are following you if you are not really going anywhere productive? Being a great leader involves more than just leading the way. All too often you take the wrong turn and the people following you wind up as lost as you. I’m not saying getting lost is always a bad thing. Sometimes you will find things you never expected. I met my wife, Erika, when I was lost! We found Mr. Speakman when we were lost! Just like Bugs Bunny we took a wrong turn in Albuquerque. Seventeen years later I can honestly say getting lost those two times was God sent. My life has been on an upward spiral ever since.
I saw a post on a friend’s Facebook page and these words hit the nail on the head. “Leadership is all about helping others obtain their own greatness.” So true! We have all had leaders in our lives, mentors that we did not even realize at the time we’re giving us great leadership advice. Like our parents, our grandparents, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters. Those little moments when your older sibling was trying to give you good advice but you thought they were just picking on you and being mean to you! The teacher that was encouraging you to create good work habits, complete your homework, focus and not talk during class time. So often we look at leadership as just someone telling us what to do. And sometimes that’s exactly what it is.
Unfortunately, sometimes even with good intentions, some of our leaders really are not leading us down a good path. I honestly believe our society and their idea of right and wrong is so confused. When it comes to health so often we hear about this diet and that diet. Food we should eat food we should not eat. What is good for the body and what is not good for the body and so often that changes. Isn’t it funny how those opinions sometimes change over time? Just like sunscreen. I can remember as a child nobody used sunscreen. Twenty years ago everybody used sunscreen and now they are telling us too much sunscreen and not enough sun gives you a deficiency in vitamin D. Make up your mind.
Growing up in the Midwest I can remember watching cattle follow each other through the fields. You can even see the indention in the ground where the cattle walk day after day after day following that same cow down the same path.
My intention is not to compare us to cattle for they need to follow in order to get to their watering hole or food. But so often we find ourselves following people blindly just like cattle. From the beginning, we had leaders who did not lead their people necessarily down the correct path. We have had horrific leaders. Hitler comes to mind as a leader whom I would never want to have followed. Charles Manson even up to the day of his death had followers. I sure don’t believe he was a good leader!
We need to look for good leaders, people who will lead us to our greatness, people who will direct us towards a more compassionate, giving caring and loving life. We have had great leaders throughout our history. We have had great military leaders – Attila the Hun, Sun Tzu, Alexander the Great, George S. Patton, King David of Israel. And the list goes on. I’m not sure I would want any of these people to lead my daughter or sons through their adolescence.
We have had amazing economic leaders – Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Madam CJ Walker, PT Barnum, Walt Disney, Sakichi Toyoda. And again, the list goes on. And once again I’m not sure I’m OK with all of their spiritual values and integrity. Now we have spiritual leaders throughout history starting with Jesus Christ listed as one of the most influential people of all time. There are many more such as the Dalai Lama, Moses, Abraham, Martin Luther, Mother Theresa, Pope John Paul II. My opinion is, we do have a great leader and his guidance can be found in our Holy bible. Even if you are not a follower of Christ, it is very hard to deny that his guidelines for holiness are good for humanity.
I guess the bottom line is we have many different leaders for many different things and ultimately like the earlier quote said, “Leaders are to help others obtain their greatness. Military leader will lead us to victory. A financial leader will lead us to economic security, and the spiritual leader in my case and belief, will lead me to heaven.
Keep pushing forward and lead yourself to greatness,