Now, more than ever, the world needs impactful, positive leaders – those among us who will stand up and lead us to a more peaceful and caring way of being.
Many of us believe that certain people are born great leaders. People look at the Nelson Mandelas, Mother Theresas, Martin Luther Kings and Princess Dianas and assume these people were born great leaders. In reality great leaders become great leaders because they intentionally grow themselves into people others want to be around, listen to and follow, and the truth is any one of us can grow into leadership that is worth following.
Unfortunately, we live in a time where potential leaders are lost to the negativity of the world. What exactly do I mean by that? Well, sadly, I mean we live in a world that spends a great deal of time focusing on the negative aspects of life. More often than not, our media – television, radio, newspapers, magazines, the internet – focuses on reporting what is wrong with us, what is wrong in our lives, what is wrong in our society and the world, rather than what is right! In general, it seems people are disillusioned with life, with themselves and feel hopeless to step up, take control and make a difference. But now – more than ever – we need people to grow into the leaders that any of us can be to change the negativity tide to hope, and help our communities step into the future with confidence.
“How do we help grow hope in a society that seems to have lost its hope?” is a question I often get. My answer to that is we need to – HEAR OTHERS to gain understanding and perspective and then TALK TO OURSELVES encouragingly to meet the challenges of our lives and the world with enthusiasm, optimism and tenacity.
Have you ever had that little voice that speaks to you in your heart or your mind? It whispers to you, it sends doubt messages to you? Telling you, you can’t do this or that, you aren’t smart enough, good enough, attractive enough, to do this, that, or the other thing! That’s you – listening to yourself. That’s the imprint the world has left on you. The world tells us we can’t – for many reasons – and so we don’t, because we are afraid to try and fail. My wife and I have a wonderful grandson named Keeghan. Keeghan is two years old and he’s a going concern. He’s unafraid of life. He’ll try anything that comes to his mind. Keeghan wakes up and in his two-year-old view of the world he believes it’s amazing, he believes it is to be explored, he sees everything he could do and be and his smile tells you his life is good. I think many of us used to be Keeghans. We used to see the world and its infinite possibilities and where we could make our mark. We had hope, we had dreams! Unfortunately for many of us, we’ve allowed the world to steal our dreams, we’ve allowed others to tell us we aren’t good looking enough, we aren’t smart enough, we aren’t good enough and so on. And the world that we were so excited about – the life we were so excited to live – becomes so much less than it can be. I believe the reason many of us fall into a life of hopelessness is because not only do we hear what others think about us, but we listen to it and we let the limitations the world places on us become our reality. We let those fearful voices live inside hearts and minds and we listen to those whispers, and, out of fear we never achieve the leadership greatness we were meant to achieve.
You might be saying “That’s all well and good Tom, but how does one stop listening to the negatives in our lives?” Well, what I’ve learned for myself is that I need to stop listening to those little voices inside of me that spread fear and tell me all the reasons I can’t succeed – and I need to start talking to myself and telling myself what it is that I am going to do! For a long time, I dealt with fears of standing out in failure, being different, being unworthy and so on. The fact is, I believe most leaders likely start morphing into their leadership when they finally decide to talk themselves past the fears and whispers the world puts into their hearts.
When asked about what I believe the single most transformational moment I have encountered as I grew into leadership, I tell people that it was the moment I realized I could self-talk myself past the fears that paralyzed me. And so can you. Each one of you, I truly believe, has amazing gifts to offer the world. Each one of you is a leader waiting to bloom. And you will blossom as soon as you stop listening to the fears and start talking your new leadership life into existence.
Thoughts to ponder:
- Fear is draining – love is sustaining.
- Fear is short-term – love is long-term.
- Fear appears strong – but is weak.
- Love appears weak – but is strong.
- Love is the way!
Now, to clarify, the hope is that you are going to grow into a positive, influential leader. The world has seen its share of disastrous leaders who somehow had the passion, charisma and enthusiasm to gain followings who inflicted or influenced terrible atrocities on the world. Leadership needs to be built on love. One must love him/herself to be a strong leader – but one has to love all others more than him or herself to be truly impactful for good.
At times a person can become a leader and not be loving, but those who love always become leaders. Leaders in their homes, in the work, in their communities, in their nations and in the world. Loving people who talk themselves into doing good for the world become amazing leaders. The world needs everyday people to stop listening to the whispers that hold them back and start talking themselves into positive, loving, passionate, energetic leaders in the areas they are gifted.
So I ask you to think about yourself. Are you being led to a life of mediocrity? Are you, is the world, telling you all the reasons why you can’t be a leader and are you listening to those whispers of fear? If you are – I want to encourage you to go to a park and watch two-, three- and four-year-olds like my grandson Keeghan play and experience life. Watch how they see the world with optimism and joy, believing they can be and do anything. Catch their fire, shed the whispers of fear…talk to yourself and become the loving leader that you were meant to be and make your positive impact on the world!
Begin your leadership journey today. Go get em!
-Positive Pledge Card-
I vow to talk myself into leadership and not listen to my fears.
I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.
I vow to stay crazy and not let the world limit my potential.
I vow to choose optimism and believe I can make a difference.
I vow to be resilient, because the world and life will try to stall me.
I vow to love. Love my life and myself, love my family, my work, my world.
Our Purpose Is Greater Than Our Challenges.