I’ve been talking about leadership a lot lately. It’s an interesting topic because the qualities that create a great leader are sometimes difficult to define. The concept of emotional intelligence has become better understood in recent years and there are some good books on the subject. Great leaders have vision, integrity, good communication skills, and tend to be above most things that are petty. But the quality I admire the most in leaders is grit – people who persevere and just find a way to get things done. They don’t wait for instructions or direction; they know what needs to be done and they find a way to get it done. This is the ultimate form of leading by example. It is usually not the smartest or the most skilled people who rise to the top, it’s the people who are the problem solvers. The people who rise to their challenges and who are at their best when their best is needed. People spend a lot of time and money educating themselves and honing their skills, but very few of them focus on the skill that will take them the farthest, which is true leadership. Find a good book on leadership, deploy what you learn, and become conscience of whether you are becoming the type of leader who you would want to follow. Unlike other skills, leadership is not something you can turn on and off. To be a true leader, you have to be on all of the time. It’s a lifestyle choice, but one that will pay dividends in your life.
A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors said “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!”. The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.” A few days later the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out “Your horse has returned and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” and the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
I’ve written about this in other iterations. I’ve talked about finding your rhythm, and the importance of letting things come to you, not forcing things, and then riding the momentum when you have the wind at your back. The point of it all is that success is not linear. Progress doesn’t follow a straight line. For most people, the journey is long and winding. It looks more like a stairway or a hockey stick.