Leadership maybe isn’t what you think…

I haven’t written in a while… and I thought it about time that I get back into doing the things that I like doing best… creating.  Creating a story and is more than just writing.  It’s taking an idea and even though you may not have that idea fully vetted, you know in your heart that it has merit.  It’s taking that idea, and building your story, your concept around it.

Recently, I’m in roles where I’m expected to be a leader and increasingly progressive leadership roles.  Some of you may understand what that means, where as others don’t really have a clue or even care.  I find it quite odd that the term of leader and what its being used for in the work world and what it really should mean.  See, I like to think that we are all or can be leaders.  I originally got the idea of what a leader is from a guy named Drew Dudley who talks about what everyday leadership really is.  See, a leader isn’t someone who gets up in front of a crowd and takes charge.  A leader is someone that has a meaningful and positive impact on your life.  Someone who has deliberately or sometimes inadvertently done something to have a profound impact on who your are, and who has shaped the person you have become.

Think about it for a minute.  A Profound Impact.  Now let’s think, has there been a person in your life that has fundamentally changed who you are ?

Who in your life has had a profound impact ?  Now, I know you can say your parents, or spouse has had a profound impact on your life, and you’d be correct.  But who else ?

Let me tell you about one such person that has had a profound impact on my life.  When I was in Grade 7, I had Mrs. Penn for math class.  She was an extremely stern and strict teacher.  After a few short weeks in her class,  I was put into a group of students she called the High group… and no it wasn’t because we got high, but it was because we were high achievers.  At the time I didn’t know what that really meant.  Mrs. Penn’s regular class followed the curriculum.  In her high group the training wheels were off and she laid down the challenges.  I had never worked as hard or been as challenged in my life.  She garnered a level of respect that I still feel to this day when I talk about her.  She was also so severely strict that I worked my hardest just to be able to prove to her that I could do the assignments.  In reality I was working to learn and Mrs. Penn fostered the environment to do so.   I have never been able to tell Mrs. Penn how her challenges have profoundly impacted me.

From those 3 years taking math with Mrs. Penn, I learned the value of hard work.  Math and logic from that point forward just seemed to click with me.  Some may argue that it may be more nature versus nurture for some skills.  I disagree on that.  I think from that point on logic and science were in my cards.  I think that is part of the reason I do what I do today.  I still carry that same work ethic that I learned all those years ago.  I think that from those early lessons, I learned to logically think through problems which has ultimately lead me to what I do today, and where it will take me in the future.

Mrs. Penn had a profound impact on my life.  She wasn’t just a math teacher to me.  She showed me that being challenged and being forced outside of your comfort zone are good things.  That growth, although may not be comfortable, is absolutely necessary.

Which brings me back to leadership.  Mrs. Penn’s lessons were more than just math classes, they ended up being life lessons.  Unfortunately, I realized that long after finishing grades 7-9.  The one thing I feel fortunate for is that I do realize this.  I also realize that I should make an effort, and create the opportunities everyday to have a profound impact on someone’s life.  Whether that means being the better person, or setting the example to show how to act respectful when all around is the opposite.  Sometimes is very simple things, but my hope is that through simple and small acts, that those will show a higher standard of which to operate by.  In a sense, I’m doing exactly what Mrs. Penn did, I’m laying down a challenge for those to pick up and rise to the occasion.

Maybe there has been someone in your life that has been the catalyst for you to make that change, that initiated the profound impact that challenged you to better yourself.  At the very least I hope that you are creating the environment that helps foster change in others and makes someone view you as a leader.  Go out there and be a Mrs. Penn

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