Lead the Willing

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If you want to enjoy success, you will have to lead.  Look around at the most successful people you know, they are leaders.  People follow them.

In his timeless classic, The Law of Success in 16-Lessons, Napoleon Hill states,

“You cannot enjoy success in life without power, and you can never enjoy power without sufficient personality to influence other people to cooperate with you in a spirit of harmony.”

In other words, you have to be a leader.

There are countless books and course on how to be a leader.  But, I am convinced that just as important as how to lead, is who to lead.  You should lead those willing to follow.

Lead the willing

We can spend way too much energy trying to get the unwilling to follow.  Whether it be in business or in life, it is useless to waste time trying to convince the unwilling.

No matter what your objective, you do not need everyone to agree.  You do not need everyone to follow.  You’ll be much better served to spend your time, energy and resources identifying those who are aligned with you and lead them.

Several passages in the New Testament refer to Jesus instructing his disciples to go from town to town to spread his teachings.  And for those unwilling to listen?

“Whoever does not receive you, or head your words, as you go out of that house, or that city, shake the dust from your feet.”

Now, I am far from a biblical scholar, and I know that “shaking the dust from your feat” was akin to cursing someone.  But to me, the message is clearly, don’t waste your time with the unwilling.  Move on and find people who want to believe in you and your message or your product.  Lead them.  Lead the willing.

Keys to effectively leading the willing:

  • Lead yourself – To lead is to guide, to take charge.  You can’t guide and take charge of others, if you are not taking charge of your own life.  Don’t wait for others.  Set a target.  Create a plan.  Act on that plan.
  • Have clear direction – You can’t lead others, or yourself for that matter, if you don’t know where you’re going.  You must know what you want.  What do you want to be?  What do you want to do?  What do you want to have?  Without clarity on, you cannot lead.
  • You don’t have to be all things to all people – Leaders aren’t worried about making everyone happy.  Leaders don’t care if everyone likes them.  Don’t worry about the people who are not willing to follow you.  There are enough people who will.  You don’t need to be all things to all people.  You have to be a strong leader for the vital few.

If you have a clear direction and are leading yourself in that direction, there will be plenty of people to follow. Lead them.

3 Simple Steps

  • Get clear on where you want to go.  What is it you really want out of life and your business?
  • Identify the people on your team, or your clients who want to go in the same direction.
  • Lead them


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Photo credit: Leadership Maryland Class of 2014 Reception, by Jay L. Baker, MarylandGovPics, licensed under CC by 2.0