When I was a kid, the picture I had in my head of “leadership” was pretty stereotypical. Maybe Abraham Lincoln. A decorated military general. My Scoutmaster. And definitely my parents!
Leaders, I thought, were the people who told others what to do.
But leadership is not position. It is not authority. It is not power.
Leadership is the gravest form of responsibility—a responsibility that we each bear.
Leadership means taking responsibility for something greater than yourself and using your natural influence to shape the world beyond the walls of your mind—ideally for the better.
We tend to think of leadership as a strength or a personal trait. Thinking this way neglects the fact that every one of us has inherent leadership, the vast majority of which lies untapped.
You are a leader when your thoughts or your voice or your actions influence outcomes in a way that you could not have achieved on your own under your own resources, physical capability, and mental power. Heck, simple encouragement of another person is one of the most powerful and effective types of leadership.
One of the broken things I have observed is that we tend to believe that the most influential leaders are those who rise to the highest ranks. We perceive the peak of “success” as a leader is to be CEO or mayor or governor or President of the United States, to have a few million followers on Twitter, or to have a media empire.
It’s confusing because there’s definitely a clear point where these things are assets to a leader. A person has more influence as an individual leader by having a bigger audience. But the question is what are they actually doing with it?
Leadership isn’t about you.
Your power and accomplishments and position are just tools. What you do with those is how you demonstrate your leadership.
If you’re a leader, your most important responsibility is not to actually to lead—it’s to create more leaders, people who are also using the whole of their capability and influence.
I believe in a notion I call “intentionally tiny leadership.”
My world doesn’t need one-off heroes, it needs entire armies of leaders.
Tiny leaders build on other tiny leaders to create tiny resilient fearless societies.
We feel like there are certain rules which govern the natural order, which tell us we’re not allowed to change the way things are unless we get into this position or that position. But that’s nonsense.
No one can stop you from making things better than they are right now.
Viewing the world through the lens of intentionally tiny leadership means believing the world needs the people around you just as much as it needs you.
We are all the chosen one.