Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Great Ones...

One of the perks to being sick is that you are forced to sit on the couch and watch marathons of TV. It's perfectly acceptable to watch a 3 hour block and not move an inch other than to flip the pillow. Normally, this might include great shows like Law and Order, Friends, or Everybody Loves Raymond, but today I was glued to the History Channel's presentation of "The Presidents." I watched from the Andrew Johnson years to FDR's 4th election. This really got me thinking about what it means to be a great leader.

It struck me that each of these men had their own idea for what it meant to be a leader... but the true greats only came about when they put helping others at the core of their vision for change. They were all just men...they had their weaknesses, shortcomings and failures; but the greats always rallied, driven by a desire to leave their world a better place than they found it. Let me be clear... Presidents don't usually get me fired up, and I recognize a great many problems with a system that has (at least until 2008!) failed to elect anyone but old white men. But I couldn't help but see a pattern in the great leaders of their time... and this of course got me thinking about the leaders that DO get me fired up: Martin Luther King Jr., Bono, and our pastor, Bill Keane, just to name a few.

It may seem counterintuitive - lead by following, get more by giving more, help yourself by helping others. Too often we feel pulled by the gut reaction to hold on to what is ours for fear of losing it. But leadership, like love, is one of those things that you will always find more of, the more you give to others. Take a chance on helping someone may be the best thing you ever do for yourself.

I saw this great old Apple commercial a long time back, but most recently came across it on Becker's blog. I love what it stands for. So what are you going to do today to be "one of the crazy ones"?

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