“If your actions inspire
others to dream more,
learn more, do more
and become more,
you are a leader.”
-John Quincy AdamsAs children are heading back to school to take on another year of academia, challenges, new experiences and opportunities, the question of what makes a leader is something that lept to my mind. After all, while parents have a tremendous influence, the world outside of the home is also full of voices wanting to be heard, people who want attention and young ears that are easily influenced.
While some are involved in sports, and others in drama or the orchestra, what is it that influences someone else to adopt a certain behavior? A coach, a teacher, peers? Words fly around in all of our world’s constantly from all sorts of people from all seats of positions in society. Students will hear teachers, adults will hear their boss’s voice and colleagues, we all will hear the words of the media in some form or another, and family and friends who are part of everyone’s world, but what prompts us to act in a different way than we already are?
John Quincy Adams states it quite eloquently and simply above I believe. It is the actions that child imitate more so than the words they hear. Think about what you tend to follow for a moment. A speaker you are listening to preaches action and volunteering, but while on your drive home you witness someone stop and get out of their car to help a stranger in need due to a stalled engine in the middle of the intersection. Which instance would inspire you more to immediate action?
Another example might be a professor who is genuinely respectful of each of their students, welcoming them as they walk in the door each morning, validating their thoughts as they are shared and letting everyone be heard versus, a professor who preaches on endless about diversity and acceptance, yet raises an eyebrow of disdain at the mere mention of certain controversial topics. While both may be speaking and lecturing in class, only one is leading and is doing so by what is being done, not by what is being said.
More importantly, how are you living your life? Are you living passionately? Or are you just making it through the day and venting continuously to anyone who will listen? Are you trying to see the glass half full and working to achieve a life that while not a reality right now, could be if the effort is put forth?
Think about the message you are sending out to the universe, to the people around you, to your family and friends, co-workers and, if you have them, children. What is it saying? And is it worth following?
Better yet, ask yourself would you follow someone like you?
Here’s to making today a day full of beautiful actions that anyone would gladly want to follow. Have a wonderful Monday.