Every leader is an amalgamation of people and experiences.
Much of who we are can be attributed to our families. For instance, I come from a long line of tough people with a strong work ethic. I get it from my dad, who takes after his mother. She dropped out of high school to work and help support her ten siblings, and later raised five kids on her own. Her father came to the U.S. from France via Argentina when he was 16 years old and later owned a successful awning business.
But Family Isn’t Enough
Family lessons are great, but they’re limited. When taken alone, they aren’t diverse enough to help leaders face the various challenges they encounter.
To make changes in our lives and become the leaders we know we can, we need to look to others for examples and support.
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Sam, Kevin and Carl (real people in my life) helped me become more self aware by listening and challenging me. They weren’t afraid to tell me the truth and stay with me through the tough stuff. They encouraged me to forgive and dispose of old baggage. They pushed me to take small steps toward my big goals.
Seth Godin helped me poke the box when I was running my own business. His book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? showed me how to really care, make a difference, and lead. Recently I learned he took many lessons from the late Zig Ziglar, whom he met in person only once.
We can’t choose our families, but we can choose who inspires us from this point forward. Starting today, who will you allow to speak to you? Who will you allow to lead you?
It’s easy to allow our minds to be cluttered by a negative past or the noise of today. So let’s all do the hard work of sifting through the junk and choosing the positive messages and teachers who will actually help us lead people.
And it is a choice.
Who has your ear?
Check out the rest of the Leadership 101 series.