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A Lifetime of Leaders

Posted on 05 December 2016

Throughout my lifetime I have been exposed to many different leaders, each with their own style of motivating an inspiring others. Some have been incredibly inspiring with yelling different phrases and incorporating expletives in order to get blood flowing before big games, and others somewhat uninspiring due to a lack of emotion or investment in whatever cause we, as a team, were moving towards.  Whether on the football field, or in the workplace, I have slowly realized that the best leaders don’t have to be the loudest or most demanding—they must serve those that they lead.  As counterintuitive as it may seem, there are a few important examples in my life that have led me to believe that serving really does mold the best leaders. 

First and foremost, being a Christian, Jesus Christ was a prime example of a leader who served others without hesitation for me.  He continuously humbled himself and acted out of compassion and love for one another, inspiring and causing heart-changes in thousands of people through his actions towards those who weren’t deemed worthy of his, or anyone’s’, love.  Regardless of ones religious beliefs/preferences, it can be agreed upon that any religious leader has led, and led well due to their service for others and selfless acts of love and empathy for others. 

Second, my parents have engrained the belief in serving others because of how they have treated my siblings and I in our home.  They constantly sacrificed time, money and date-nights in order to get us to sporting events or something as simple as back-to-school shopping.  It took me a while to realize that this was done out of love, and I respect them so much more because of it, and admire their leadership for it.  Because of this, I am willing more obedient in knowing they have had and will continue to have my best interest in mind. 

Third, my friends have been a huge part of molding my beliefs on leadership.  I have made some extremely close friends over the years, and would go to battle with any of them. This is because I know for a fact that they would do the exact same thing for me.  Whether its doing favors, or just offering time to be someone to talk to, I have a core group of friends that are willing to lay down their ambitions to serve me.  That attitude is contagious and always makes me want to follow, or be like that person that does good to me.

Last year I had the honor of being a senior captain for the University of Dayton football team.  Although the recognition for the nomination and walking out for the coin tosses were a cool thing to be a part of, I’ll never forget being close with the guys and just offering myself up as someone that was available to talk to or offer advice to younger guys.  I think the respect that guys had for me was from guys watching me put my head down and give my best effort, not for my own stats, but for the team.  I gave my work for something bigger than my own leadership position or myself personally.

If I could give one challenge for this week and even beyond, it would be this: whether you’re at the bottom of the corporate ladder or the star of the team, think about if you’re working to serve yourself to fuel your own personal aspirations or if your laying down your ego to serve others.  One of those results in emptiness, and the other a full heart that other people can’t help but cling to.  Leave your mark.


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