I have no idea what my purpose is. I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing here. I hear that a lot, actually.
I travel around the country and I talk to folks about leadership and, you know, typically, I focus on, not so much the discipline to leadership; for example, certain businesses or certain lines of work. I focus on leaders who want to make a difference bigger than themselves and who believe that they can punch above their weight and do that and, a lot of time, they are leaders without titles. They could be stay-at-home dads. They could be community leaders. You name it. Or they could be CEOs of corporations. But I hear all the time I’m not sure what my purpose is; I’m not sure what it is that I’m here to do. Do you ever think about that? Do you ever struggle with that? I know I do. Even though I’ve spent most of my life in formal designated leadership positions often leading elite warriors and others in combat in places like that, I still struggle with my purpose and what I’m here to do. I still do to this day.
Again, I’ve heard so many leaders talk about this. That’s why I’ve chosen to make this the final installment of this video blog series where we’re talking about the mindset of leadership, where we’re talking about the mindset of rooftop leadership. We’ve hit a lot of the different topics that are critical to how your mind and your heart have to be set if you’re going to lead.
Look, I’m telling you, no matter how transactional we get in life, no matter how advanced we get as a society and how connected we are through our devices and things like that, the bottom line is if you’re not clear on who you are as a leader, who you are as a person, most people are not going to see themselves through to follow you. They just can’t. It is how we’re wired. We can smell it a mile away when someone doesn’t trust themselves or when someone doesn’t have a sense of themselves.
As you’re watching this and you’re thinking about your role in this world, the first thing I would tell you is you have an inherent obligation as a leader of yourself, of your family, your business, your community, your nation to have a sense of yourself, to have a sense of who you are, what you’re about, and what you are here to do.
Look, that takes work. I don’t know of anybody who is a strategic leader who just sits around and that just comes to them out of the blue and, if they tell you that, you know what, they’re probably full of crap and I would be very leery about working with people like that who just are gifted. That takes work. Even if you are gifted and I think, in some cases, we are gifted a sense that we’re going in this direction or we’re gifted in instinct that this is what we should be doing. That’s great. But it still takes work to uncover that, to refine that.
I just had a talk with several of my Spartan Rising leaders—a group of men who I work with on restoring male leadership in the world today. This was a topic for us—our higher purpose. How do we know? How do we get at that? I will tell you the topic of today that I really want you to work on is clarity of vision. Clarity of vision. Having crystal clear vision of what the better world looks like that you are building. Whether that better world is yourself; that better world is a better family, a closer family, a family who is more communicative; that better world might be your office or your job or where you are taking your company; that better world might be your community; that better world might be your nation or any combination thereof—you must first have a crystal clear vision of what each of those things are.
When is the last time you did that? When is the last time you looked inward and developed a crystal clear vision of your better self, other than New Year’s Eve. I mean, seriously, when have you sat down and done that? Or when have you sat down with your loved ones and had a discussion about how your family could be better? Or when is the last time you clarified the vision for your company or the people under your charge at someone else’s company? When is the last time you laid that out and described what that looks like?
One of the guys I coach in my Pathfinder Program, Chad, he has been doing this work in the last week or so really hard and it is amazing to watch this guy grind at it but it is even more amazing to see the stuff that he is coming up with. It is really, really powerful stuff.
One of the things that he does is the Leading Tracks exercise which I teach in my workshops—Spartan’s Rising and Rooftop Leadership—which is imagine that it is 15 years after you’ve passed and the person who held your hand when you took that last breath is now describing the tracks that you left in this world, those deep impressions in the earth that served others, they are describing those tracks 15 years after you’re gone. What would they say? It is a bit of a eulogy exercise combined with kind of a Steven Covey begin with the end in mind. If you do that, that’s a very, very powerful way to get your head around that.
The other way is to do the pen-and-ink work of really laying out what does the crystal clear vision of each of these world’s look like—yourself, your family, your job, your business, your community, your nation? Write it out. What does it look like? In a blue sky world, perfect world, what would that look like?
The other thing that I love what Chad is doing and I challenge you to do is, once you start to get clarity on that, talk about it. Talk about it to your tribe. Talk about it to the people who matter in your life. For example, any of you guys who know me, you know I’m always talking about restoring rooftop leadership to America. Rooftop leadership is my metaphor for servant-based leadership, leadership by example, leadership in a trust-depleted society when people are too scared to take a chance. Going up those ladders yourself and leading from the top, leading from the front.
That is rooftop leadership and restoring it to America is, I believe, essential for us to get ourselves back to where we need to be as a nation, as communities, as corporations, and as families. That is why I teach this to all types of leaders from those arenas.
You hear me talking about it all the time. I do TED talks on it. I do Facebook Lives on it. Wes gets so tired of seeing all the different platforms that I do on it but I’m always talking about that better world where rooftop leadership is there and I am crystal clear on what that looks like. Do you understand? I do the same thing with veterans transition. I do the same thing with defeating ISIS. If you can work on that—again, the levels being yourself, your family, your job, your community, your nation—work it out, start with you, it’s powerful, man. And then communicate it to your tribe on whatever platforms make sense.
If you start to do that, two things are going to happen—you’re going to start to get a better sense of yourself and that is just going to draw people to you; number two, people are going to start to understand where you’re going and they’re going to see not only what you’re building but how they can help you build it. That’s powerful stuff.
Until next time, I’ll see you on the high ground.