Today I want to talk about leadership. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a group and somebody raised their hand and said, “Bo, name 3 leaders that you look up to and are inspired by.” And honestly, I was struggling. I could not come up with one leader that I felt inspired by.
As I left that group and was driving back home, I thought, “Oh my gosh, is leadership that precious?” I guess it is. I looked around and there was nobody that really inspired me. There was nobody that was really talking my language and inspiring the troops and wanting us to go forward. I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t come up with an answer.
So it made me start thinking if you want to lead, you’re going to lead, which most of us I think are reluctant about doing. I know I am. Look, I’ve been a leader pretty much my whole life, a captain of most of the teams I’ve been on.
There is a lot of responsibility that comes with leadership. It’s time we take the responsibility because who else is going to take it? Otherwise we’re going to have these amateurs leading us. That’s really what it is. It looks like amateurs are leading us and we’re following them.
So I said you know what, I just looked in the mirror and I said, “Maybe that leader is me.” Maybe, I’ve got to stop looking over my shoulder for somebody to lead me and my family to inspiration. Maybe it’s us, maybe we’re the leaders. So I stopped looking over my shoulder and I started looking in the mirror going, “Okay, maybe it’s me.”
Then I very quickly learned that to lead, especially today in this world that has reduced itself to this culture of mediocrity, to really lead in this culture you must go counter to it.
So we live in this culture, we live in this society and we see it, we’re part of it. But we have to go the opposite direction if we’re going to lead it, because how many of you out there are pumped up and excited about where our society is headed, about where our culture is going and who’s leading it there?
How many of you out there listening right now are excited and enthusiastic about that notion? Right, not many of us. It’s not very inspiring.
So to lead, the number one thing you must do is you must take your life into your own hands, know that you have all that power and you have to go counter to the culture. Watch the culture. All you have to do is watch it because you’re a part of it. You can feel where it’s headed. Then I want you to turn and go the opposite direction. That is how people know how to follow you.
So it comes down to a couple of things. Number one, you have to go counter to the culture. That’s just how it goes. You just have to. You have to take the pulse of the society and the culture and you must go the opposite direction.
Also, there have been a lot of studies on storytelling and leadership. They’ve done this one study that went all the way back to Julius Caesar, all the way back to the Roman Empire. They studied leadership all the way back to the middle of the Roman Empire. What they’ve come up with on leadership applies all the way to today.
What they’ve come up with is the number one quality that a leader has to have is that they have to have the ability to tell their own story. The number one thing they have to have is the ability to tell their own story.
All that means is, people, our constituency, the people following you right now, there is a whole community around you right now that you might not even know are watching you. They’re waiting for YOU to take the lead. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to take the lead and we have to lead through our own perspective, through our own story.
So the study that they’ve done all the way to Julius Caesar times is you have to be able to lay out some connective tissue to your constituents, to your people, so that they know how to follow you. Leadership is our most precious commodity.