The grey wolf stopped, raised his nose, and sniffed the air. He smelt the scent of deer. He looked back at his pack of 18 wolves, made up of several young strong females, a few juveniles, and a handful of pups. He continues his way into the depth of the forest, adopting an easy canter, and the rest of the pack followed. They followed because he is the leader of the pack. They followed because they know that he will lead the way. They followed because they know they are better off doing so than not.
In life, we always have a choice of taking the lead or being a follower. Taking the lead does not need you to be in a position of authority. You do not have to be in a position of power to be a leader. Many get confused about leadership, thinking it is something that is only shown when you are the boss, in charge of a department, or being in a position of power. That is erroneous thinking.
Leadership starts within. Keeping promises to yourself, making choices, and understanding yourself are forms of leadership. When you lead yourself, you will improve as a person. The most important (and incidentally, basic) form of leadership is to lead yourself. Learning to make decisions, taking extreme responsibility, and committing to developing the best version of yourself are demonstrations of leadership that transcend any other forms or techniques. For when you do so, others will naturally follow. They will see how you have become the person you are, how your life is transformed, and how your leadership is serving you.
By doing so, you are not only showing them the possibility of an absolute best that they can be and you are also giving them permission to be the best they can be. Humans are creatures of habit. They like to be part of a crowd. When you show them your absolute best and become a shining beacon, you are almost telling them, “It’s okay to be better. It is ok to shine. Come join me!” When you start to do so, you begin leading. You do not have to be a leader to lead. It can start as simple as perfecting your craft, developing your passion, or excelling in all you do.
When you do so, it will inspire others to follow. They may think, “Wow, So-and-so is extremely good at what she does. I want to be like her” or “He has really upped his game. I must catch up or lose out!” When this happens, you not only raise your own standards or the inspired person’s standards, you are actually causing positive change by raising the world’s standard on average. Without your improved brilliant input, the world’s standards would not have increased. You are truly changing the world (albeit at a possibly minuscule level but nonetheless, doing so).
Consider the alternative of not taking the lead. You are the follower. You settle for what or who you are, not seeking improvements. Life is ‘good and okay’. You are ‘satisfied and fine’ with your achievements or lack of. You allow others or life to decide for you. You procrastinate and allow time to eliminate your choices and leave you with the remaining options because you are not motivated. You do not seek to understand yourself and feel you know yourself well and ‘accept’ the person you think you are. Life is secure, unchanging, and easy.
At work, you follow convention and simply model after best or easiest practices to get by. You take no risk and not do anything that has not been tried or tested. You do not push boundaries for you do not know the consequences. You do not try new things for you are afraid of failure. Your life is easy, safe, and simple. It may sound like a logical option, after all, who wants to fail? There is only one problem with that. Each of us is born into genius. Sadly, most of us die in mediocrity. There is a huge difference between living and merely existing. You may be alive but are you truly living?
What would you give to catch a glimpse of a better version of yourself? Would you take a risk? What would you pay to achieve the highest level of your chosen craft? Would you invest time, effort, and energy to find out? What would you sacrifice so that all around you and the world will benefit from your magnificence? Would you take the lead?
In life, you can always choose either to be a leader or a follower. There are no right or wrong choices. They are just simply choices, with consequences. Leadership is not a title or something only those in power or in charge can perform. Robin Sharma said, “To lead is to inspire others by the way that you live. To lead is to walk through the fires of your hardest times to step up into forgiveness. To lead is to remove any form of mediocrity from infiltrating the quarters of your life in a dazzling celebration of the majesty that is your birth-right. To lead is to turn your terrors into triumphs and translate each of your heartbreaks into heroism. And more than all else, to lead is to be a force for good on this tiny planet of ours.”
The grey wolf has chosen to lead. Regardless of your position or what you do, are you ready to take the lead now?
‘The single best way to inspire your teammates to become the natural leaders they are meant to be is to model leadership mastery yourself.’