In the words of John Maxwell, “leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less” and that is the cornerstone for how meaningful leadership must be lived, influence with an attitude of serving others above self.
Yet part of effective leadership is self-growth. We cannot develop and inspire others if our sources run dry. So as leaders we are always seeking to enhance our knowledge and influence, through self-development material, courses, mentors, mastermind groups, and the like. Therefore, ambition to achieve has to be a critical part of our journey.
While I was coursing my Business Undergrad Degree at Florida International University, I had the opportunity to take Entrepreneurship with Dr. Dileep Rao, who aside from successfully walking the walk of entrepreneurship is a renowned business consultant and author of several books and blogs . Being the bibliophile* that I am, just before the semester ended, I purchased his books and was reading the first one, Bootstrap to Billions as if my life and final grade depended on it.
After the final presentation of our group Venture Capital (VC) Business Case Project, which represented a significant chunk of our final grade, I approached Dr. Rao and asked him to sign his books for me and what he wrote as dedication was both simple and powerful:
Maria, Achieve! Dr. Rao
You see, ambition and the desire to achieve can have such a negative connotation, yet that is the exact fiber of what differentiates the average from the great.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again until my voice has left me, leaders must be humble and becoming a leader in the pursuit of monetary compensation, will ALWAYS make you fall short and feel inadequate. Leadership is labor of love, but it requires that the leaders equip themselves with the necessary tools to bring others along the ride and help them grow and succeed. Moreover, as leaders such growth has to be intentional. Growth doesn’t just happen, it’s premeditated, it takes investment, it takes sacrifice.
We must look at our lives, both professional and personal as a project and set benchmarks that will help us support and reach the goals we want to achieve. Personally, we can focus on working out consistently, being present around the people we love, developing a reading habit, or a hobby we’ve always been curious about. Professionally, it can range from developing new skills, like continuous improvement, strategic planning, or emotional intelligence to maybe learn a second or third language that can open doors for a new marketplace, or even pursuing a degree.
This is what achieving is all about; it goes beyond a title, a hefty salary or a car allowance. Achieving is the pursuit of the profound satisfaction of stretching ourselves beyond what we believe we are capable of and then meeting ourselves on the other side, more rounded, more centered, a bit wiser, and definitely hungrier for more. And don’t forget that leadership consists of injecting that same willingness to grow and achieve into the people we serve.
Don’t ever again feel guilty for wanting more, the world belongs to the dreamers, to the crazy ones who dare to dream big and then are willing to do whatever it takes to make it a reality and as such, map out their next opportunity. Add value to others and be a positive force of change. Don’t limit yourself to thinking outside the box, destroy the box and reinvent the game.
Thanks for reading and God bless,
noun: bibliophile; plural noun: bibliophiles
a person who collects or has a great love of books.