Imagine yourself walking downtown in your city at summertime and you become thirsty. Before you turn into your corner store, you see a guy across the street with a sign saying bottled water $1. You pay it little attention because you were already at the store and you really wanted to be in the air conditioned place anyway. But the water in the store was $3. You talk to the clerk and walk out of the store paying only $1. How?
Imagine yourself being lost in the desert. A week has passed since you’ve been wandering. You’re out of water and now the back of your tongue is sticking to your tonsils and to the back of your throat making it difficult to breathe. You are at the brink of death. A doctor, with wicked intentions unknown to you, sitting on a camel with cases of water stroll by. And as you re-tell this story to your friends standing around you at home while sitting in a wheelchair, you continue, “that’s how I lost my arm and leg.” Why would you give that?!
Looking at today’s congress, top executives at major financial corporations, sport franchise owners, coaches and teachers etc., you can easily see that Leadership (the true kind) is rare. Not everyone has it. So the question is, since it seems so difficult to attain, what does it cost to become a leader?!
In my 36 years of life I’ve had some leadership positions/experience(albeit limited from my POV) so I’m not going to pretend that what I’m about to say is from my experience only. I also understand that a title without the willingness to pay the cost for the nature of a leader remains only an inflated position. This answer comes from the many books on leadership that I’ve read and from what my mentor’s been speaking into my life.
The cost simply stated is: ATTENTION!
When you are NOT a leader you pay attention and are led by your emotions…how you feel about something or how you feel in general on any given day. When you decide to pay the cost of leadership, you have to pay attention and make decisions only based on the vision/cause/purpose for the direction you are heading.
Leadership costs you the freedom of letting your feelings guide your attention…you have submitted to something greater than you. So when you say you want to be a leader understand that you must be convicted by the thing you are moving towards.
If what you are going after is just a preference, then your emotions will pull away your attention whenever you get frustrated. And the cost for leadership will always frighten you, then all your excuses will begin to emerge for the purpose of covering up your indecisiveness or lack of effort towards developing others and yourself.
This is why mentors say that the first person you should lead is yourself and the first thing you should search for is your purpose. Knowing your purpose or the cause you believe in is the only thing that could fight against distracting feelings by accepting the cost of leading yourself.
If you can learn to not follow your feelings but your purpose when leading yourself, then you are prepped to be a leader of others. But remember this, People don’t follow because they respect a title, they follow because they respect YOU! Be worthy of that honor!