Are you a leader? If not, then I urge you to become one. Here are the two best reasons to do so:
1. If we want to create a better community, one with less suffering, less pollution and less violence, then we need more talented leaders. You can be one of these people.
2. By becoming a leader you will be adding meaning to your own life. You will also be positioning yourself for success in a wide variety of endeavors because virtually every organization needs effective leaders.
But there is a problem: many people believe that leaders are born, not made.
I strongly disagree.
What do all great and admirable leaders have in common? They want to create a better quality of life for other people. How do they do this? By actively helping others and adding value to their lives.
Leaders use their own talents, knowledge, and connections to help the people who can benefit from them.
Even if you have never been class president, department chair, or the captain of a sports team, you can still add value to other people's lives by helping them. By consistently doing so, you will emerge as a leader.
There are many ways to begin helping people. I will start you off with a list to help spark some ideas:
-- Volunteer in the developing world: by doing this you will be helping some of the people who need it most and you will be expanding your global perspective.
-- Volunteer locally: by working in a soup kitchen, after-school program, homeless shelter or other local organization you will be making an impact on your community.
-- Host a fundraiser for your favorite charity: there are many fun ways to do this. Here are two. Invite your friends to a poker night where half the pot goes to the winner and half goes to the charity. Or, ask your favorite restaurant if they would be willing to donate 10% of their sales next Tuesday to your charity. You will be surprised by how many restaurants are happy to do this. Then invite everyone you know.
-- You know that lonely person you see every now and then? Engage them. Smile and say, "Hi". Ask how their day is going, share a candy bar, invite them for a coffee with you and your friends -- whatever. By reaching out to people who are lonely you will help them feel a little less isolated.
-- Next time you see someone struggling to pay at the grocery store, offer to pay for their food.
-- If none of these ideas resonate with you spend a few minutes asking yourself, "How can I be more helpful to others?"
The difference between being a leader and just being helpful is that leaders are proactive about providing help. If they see a way that they can help someone or their community, they will not wait to be asked. They will propose the idea themselves and start acting on it today.
There is nothing at all stopping you from becoming a leader and helping people live better lives. Start small and work your way up. If you are not already helping others, start today. If you are helping others but have not taken on a bigger project in a while, increase your efforts.
By going out of your way to help other people you are becoming a leader. This will make your community a better place and it will make your life a more fulfilling one to live.
Jason Connell is an international speaker and the Executive Director of Ignited Leadership where he helps create world changing leaders. Jason tweets at @Ignitedleaders, can be found on facebook at facebook.com/ignitedleadership.com. Jason can be contacted directly at: Jason@ignitedleadership.com. Learn more and read Jason’s blog at: www.Ignitedleadership.com.© 2012 Jason Connell
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