Great leaders inspire us. Great leaders galvanize action and create change.
My question is: who’s the greatest leader of your life?
If you answered, your parents, that’s incorrect. If you answered, your spouse or significant other, that’s also incorrect. If you answered, your boss, the President, a celebrity, or some other public or political figure, that’s incorrect too. These people can be important. They can be essential elements of your support network and can play influential roles in your life, but they are not the greatest leader of your life.
It’s actually a trick question. Because, to me, the answer is clear and there is only one answer. You are.
That’s right, you are the greatest leader of your life. If this was your answer, Congratulations! If it wasn’t, no worries. It wasn’t my answer for the first part of my life either.
You may not think of yourself as a leader because you’re not the CEO of a company, the president of an organization or the head of a major movement. And, even if you are, you probably aren’t the best leader out there – I know I’m not the best, but I’m pretty darn good and certainly my personal best, but I also know that doesn’t mean you and I aren’t leaders and aren’t great leaders at that. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have power and influence.
You are certainly influenced by many people, some charismatic leaders and even some not so good leaders. But, the most important and powerful leader in your life is you. And, that’s because you have the power of choice.
You might say, what? Come again? I have obligations, responsibilities, bills, a mortgage, a family, a job, I have to do this, that or the other thing. I didn’t choose to be [insert your personal circumstance here]. I don’t have a choice. That’s all true. I hear you and it’s perfectly understandable if you feel this way.
That’s the way we’ve been taught to think and feel about our lives – that that there are specific things we need to do, say, be and look to be successful and happy and those things are determined not by us, but by someone else. At one time in my life, that’s what I thought too. But, it’s simply not true.
That’s because you have the power of choice. You have free will – the absolute power and ability to choose who and what to follow. And, you, and only you, choose the life you lead. Why not make it one you love? My father used to toss his head back in laughter, showing his broad, bright, white smile through his curly black beard and say, “I love the life I lead!” Now, I find myself doing and saying the same thing- though , thankfully, with just a smile – no beard here.
Granted, I didn’t choose to be blind. But I absolutely choose the life I lead. Every day, I choose my outlook, my perspective, my attitudes, intentions and beliefs. And, those choices guide my actions. I chose to be truthful with myself. I chose to take an honest, open inventory of not only my strengths, gifts and talents, but my values and priorities as well as my flaws, weaknesses and imperfections and to see myself for everything I am. Then, I chose to act in alignment with who I understand myself to be.
When you hear my story of overcoming my blindness and how my happiness and success is due to the power of the human spirit, know that it was a choice. It would have been just as easy and perhaps easier for me to choose not to pursue my dreams – after all that’s how I was leading my life for years. Still, know that the human spirit is always there – it’s part of being human. But to benefit from its tremendous power, you have to choose to use it. I chose to tap into the power of the human spirit and lead my life from the beautiful perspective of that place. I believe you have this choice too.
Even though I have graciously received support from many people and places, I am the greatest leader of my life. Who’s the greatest leader of yours? Is it you, someone or something else? The choice is yours.