If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams
What does that mean?
Many people have a very narrow definition of what leadership is. In this quote, a great leader (read his bio for some of his accomplishments) reminds us that we often sell ourselves short. We must keep in mind what true leadership is, and how we should define that term.
In the quote, leadership is defined in terms of your actions, and what they inspire. If you actions inspire people to dream for (or dream up) better things, if your actions inspire people to learn more, if your actions inspire people to become more active and do more (towards whatever ends their dreams or education may direct them), or if your actions inspire people to become more (to improve themselves), then the quote believes you are a leader. And I would urge you to become comfortable with that term.
Why is leadership important?
As we discussed in a prior blog, people tend to be followers in many aspects of their lives, imitating others and traveling the paths beaten by them. Those other people are called leaders.
Leadership is a way to leverage your time by way of influence. With your influence, you can inspire others to do more than you could do alone. Consider the leadership, the influence, the inspiration provided by Mohandas Gandhi or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As individuals, they accomplished much. As leaders, they inspired first thousands, then millions in their day. And more important still, they inspire people today. That is the best form of the leveraging of influence, when you inspire people even after you are dead.
Where can I apply this in my life?
While most of us don’t have the world as our stage, it is also important to remember that even history’s greatest leaders were at that same point in their lives. Neither King nor Gandhi weren’t born to families on the world stage, they became world class leaders by their actions, and how those actions inspired others.
While I have no desire to play at that level, I don’t want anything that I say to dissuade you from it, if that is your goal. However, I would imagine that the majority of the followers of this blog are not interested in becoming world leaders, so I will focus on being local leaders instead. Also, I have no experience as a world leader, so a blog post on that topic would be theoretical at best, and very short in length.
What do you do to inspire others? What of the four areas listed in the quote to you touch, or do you label the inspiration you give in some different manner? Grab some paper and write a few things down. Think of anything and everything in your life and your interactions for where you inspire people.
Consider your peer groups, work, home, friends, social groups, and anywhere else where people have asked you how you did something, or complimented you on being some kind of inspiration. It could be your fashion sense, weight loss, muscle building, skin care, interesting facts or information, or anything else about which people have complimented you.
Are you feeling a little more like a leader? I hope so. For me, I chose to focus on children and being a leader there. First, they have very low expectations, so it’s easier to succeed. Second, it’s where my influence could have a profound impact, even going so far as to change the trajectory of a young person’s life.
Think of all the feel-good stories you hear about, where inner city kids break out of the stereotype because of a teacher, a mentor, a coach or someone in their life. Someone who inspired them to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. Those people exist, and you can be one of them.
I don’t know a single youth group which has too many helpers. I doubt you do either. From Scouting (Boy and Girl), to 4H, FFA, Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, local schools, youth sports organizations, so many more groups, there is always something you can do to help inspire, no matter where you live. For those living outside of the USA, you can find similar organizations where ever you might find yourself.
Even for those who don’t like dealing with kids, there are plenty of other organizations in the community where you can help inspire people. Have you ever worked with a homeless shelter or a food bank? A smile and a kind word can mean a lot, and provide inspiration to others.
Whole books have been written on this subject, so I’ll stop at this point. Hopefully, you have found some spark of inspiration, and will spend some time helping others find theirs. Help them dream, learn, do, and become more than they are, and you will realize the leader that is already within you.
From: Twitter, @AR_Foundation
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnquincy386752.html
Photo by Chas Redmond