How many times have you gazed toward the dusky sky and witnessed a flock of birds in full flight, preparing to roost for the night? It’s an amazing spectacle: hundreds of birds all moving in unison, creating a dynamic cloud moving through the sky. People often wonder — which bird leads?How do they all move with such structure, trust in the course, and respect the leader who guides them? Researchers have found that it’s not a single bird, but actually a few birds that clump closely together, and direct the others. Once those lead birds set the course, the message spreads fast. Interestingly, there is no designated leader; instead, the birds take turns.
Like all the birds in a flock, each of us has the ability to lead. Unfortunately, though, many people subscribe to the myth that a leader is an assigned role, given through a label or title. Too often, we assume that leadership is “singular” in definition, meaning only one person, rather than a “group of birds”, can set the course. The truth is that leadership is not a position or title; it’s the culmination of action and example. To lead is a gift we all have deep inside ourselves. It takes self-evaluation, the discipline to learn and the courage to discover it. Most importantly, it takes patience. Leadership is a risky journey that does not allow one to rush the process. Simply put, becoming a leader is a marathon, not a sprint. To be bold and courageous takes experience, and experience requires time.
To lead, you must be willing to risk; it’s the only guaranteed step you can take toward success. It is the foundation for which all other forward-moving actions will occur. Once you choose to take the risk, you are committed. The most prevalent barrier discouraging those who desire to become leaders is the fear of failure. If you change your mindset and face that fear, you have the power to change your entire life. Let clear thinking, constructive input, perspective, confidence and integrity be your compass on your journey toward success. Yes, you will most likely experience some form of failure or challenge along the way, but just know that failure is success at an early stage — if you learn and apply the lesson to your growth as a leader. You will find that your core principles will guide you toward prosperity. With each opportunity that you earn the chance to lead, the leader within will shine, and your character will be defined.