“Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done.”
The book, The World’s Worst Predictions, records some of the worst predictions ever made in history. Among some of the more notable bad predictions include how in 1773, King George II said that the American colonies had little stomach for revolution. Another reveals how in 1939 The New York Times said the problem of TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American would not have time for it. And in the early 19th century, an English astronomy professor said that air travel at high speed would be impossible because passengers would suffocate.
History is filled with examples of men and women who chose a dream larger than the faith of those around them. Consider Walt Disney; he was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination,” and “had no original idea”. Cut from his high school basketball team, Michael Jordan locked himself in his bedroom and cried. A teacher told Thomas Edison he was “too stupid to learn anything,” and should go into a field where he might succeed by virtue of his pleasant personality.
For every time you watched Jordan play ball, enjoyed a family vacation at Disney World, or turned on the light switch in your home, imagine how different your life would be if they had taken their well-intentioned advice. Against the odds, these individuals decided to write their own headlines at the risk of being a failure.
The construction of your headline as a leader is a process. It involves risks, disappointment, failure, and reward. Here are three simple truths that will help you understand the process and the meaning of your leadership as you write your headline.
Your talent alone is where you begin. Within each person lies a certain set of gifts and abilities you were blessed with to use. No one else is created like you and no one else can fulfill the role destiny has for you; it is yours alone.
The construction of your headline begins with an understanding of the talents you have and the great causes you can serve. But this is just the beginning. If you want to succeed at the next level you cannot do it alone.
Your talent joined is where you grow. When you join your leadership skills with those in your organization you will create results far greater than going it alone. Michael Jordan said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence joined wins championships.” A successful leader understands that the headlines of success are typically not written alone.
In your organization the success headlines are collectively written by the bean-counters, administrative professionals, and the heavy-lifters in the trenches in addition to countless others with great skills and talents who have set aside their egos and put the team first. John Maxwell was right when he said, “Every leaders potential is determined by the people closest to him.” Do you want to know who is writing your headline? Look around you.
Your talent shared is where you multiply. On this level is where you begin to understand the purpose of your leadership and its lasting value in the lives of others. Lloyd D. Mattson said, “A great person takes a small talent and develops it as a tool for serving others. A small person with great talent soon fizzles, and wonders why.” When a leader understands this truth it will make all the difference in his leadership style.
Multiplied talents and resources achieve greater results than what could otherwise be achieved alone. Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success.” The wisdom of your leadership is acknowledged when you join forces with those around you. It begins with the talents you have; it grows when you join forces with those around you, and multiplies when you share it with others. The headline written will be larger, bolder, and far more significant.
Who’s writing your headline?
© 2011 Doug Dickerson