Since the dawn of time, most great leaders have had one thing in common. It’s not often highlighted in the annals of leadership. It’s rarely written about or listed as a strategic advantage. It might surprise you, but it’s responsible for freeing nations, leading movements, and inspiring generations.
The shocking similarity among great leaders is that they were angry. More importantly, they used their anger.
A few years ago, I spent time in a recovery group. My goal in the group was to learn more about why I was often so angry and to learn how to avoid it turning into the rage I so often felt. What I learned along the way was surprising, though. I learned ten amazing lessons about living with passion, leading with purpose, and ultimately leaving a legacy of which I could be proud.
Through the process of attending the meetings and getting to know the members, I learned the most important lesson of all that I want to share before I share the other ten lessons.
When I attending my first meeting, I will admit that I entered with the attitude that my problems were not as bad as everyone else’s problems. In other words, my poop didn’t stink as badly as the rest of them people there.
If I am abundantly clear, I looked down on everyone else there.
“You make me so mad.”
Have you ever said something like that? Of course you have. So have I. At one point in time (or in my case approximately 108,283 times) we’ve all said those words.
Here’s a translation of that phrase you might not like: “You control me.”
Letting someone else “make” you mad lets that person control you. You give away your power to choose your actions. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook
When you let what someone else does or says “make” you mad, you let that person control you. You give away your power to choose your actions.
You give up your right not to be offended. You give up your right not to get angry. You give up your right to be at peace, to be happy, and to focus on your calling.
“How can I change the world when my life is so messed up?”
So, your life isn’t perfect. Join the club.
This is something I hear so often. People who question their ability to be a world changer just because their lives aren’t right out of a black-and-white sitcom from the 1950’s. Their lives aren’t bright, shiny, sterile, and wrapped up in a pretty little bow.
In other words, their lives are real. Their problems are real. And yet, somehow, they can’t change the world? I don’t think so.
You are a world changer. Right now. In the midst of your own struggles. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook
The notion that you have to be perfect to change the world is ridiculous. In fact, no world changer in history (save for one) was perfect.
3 examples from history
If he were alive today, Abraham Lincoln would probably have spent the past twenty years watching soap operas in a Snuggie while popping anti-depressants. He was prone to severe and debilitating bouts with depression that often led to suicidal thoughts. But he described his depression in a letter to a friend as “a misfortune, not a fault.” That is the attitude that allowed him to be a world changer.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
That, if you didn’t already know, is from the 4th verse of the 13th Chapter of First Corinthians, better known around the world as the Love Chapter.
All of those traits make for good spouses, good parents, and good leaders. But there is more to love, more to life, and more to leading others than those things.
Sometimes, you have to fake it.
True leadership, like true love, often means doing things you don’t want to do. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook
Sometimes, you have to fake patience.
With some people, you have to fake kindness.
Some days, when envy is coursing through your veins, you have to pretend that you are happy for someone.
Since the dawn of time, great leaders have had one thing in common:
But not the kind of anger you probably thought of immediately.
Great leaders hate mediocrity. Average makes them sick. They use their anger to drive them. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook
Great leaders are angry.
Angry at the status quo.
Angry at average.