This article was inspired by Thom Knoles’ piece on “What is True Leadership”
When I was a kid, there was a commercial for Volkswagon with the slogan, “On the road of life, there are passengers and there are drivers. Drivers wanted.” I remember it well because I recall thinking to myself that I wanted to be one of the drivers. I think many of us have that calling to lead in some way, though what does that really mean? What does it mean to be a true leader?
Why do you want to lead?
Seems everywhere you look there are people trying to be leaders, and they are certainly leading, but the question is, where are they leading us and is it somewhere we want to go? It makes sense that people want to be “leaders” in our capitalist society because leaders draw a lot of attention, and attention leads to “success” from our Western world view definition i.e. money, status, influence. But those who want to lead simply for ego-boosting reasons are not true leaders in my opinion no matter how big a role they play in our society. They may have influence and create change, but if that change is not progressive, or worse, if it is harmful, then what’s the point in following them down their path? Motivation for true leadership should come from within and be for the purpose of aiding in the evolution of yourself and others.
Does credit and popularity define a leader?
If you ever get down about your level of influence, just think, Jesus only had twelve followers. This is a joke, but in all seriousness, as my teacher Thom Knoles says, the true trailblazers are largely uncredited. It’s actually a good test to see where the motivation for wanting to be a leader comes from, because if we are truly motivated by an inner calling, we’re only concerned with “credit” from our inner Self, whether we get credit from the outside is unimportant. Many of the true change-makers most likely don’t even think of themselves as leaders but are simply living in a way that inspires all those who come in contact with them.
Who is really leading?
Our leaders are simply a reflection of the collective. It is the collective that is actually leading. Most “leaders” have merely detected the pulse of the masses and are putting it back out there. Some of the most “successful” leaders, in a sense, are right in the center of the bell curve of the current collective state of consciousness, but by definition of being in the center, they are not on the front edge. Many true leaders are in a lonelier position. They are at the very cusp of the current thinking and are pulling it forward. Some are so far ahead, we say, “they were ahead of their time,” because the collective didn’t catch up with them until after they were gone. This is one of the reasons that pulling your motivation from within is so important, because real revolutionary thinking and action often goes unappreciated.
How do I become a true leader?
We have the choice to lead with every action we take. There is always a higher value and a lower value. By picking the higher value and listening to your inner voice, you become an inspiration to others. True leaders are really followers of the heart.
My tiny Napoleon