Labor Day Challenge – Day 9 – Be a Leader
Still appreciating all the love for my Labor Day Challenge. I get statistics from WordPress.com telling me how people get to my blog, and I even had a person google “ryan eller leadership.” Whoever that was, you made my day! I have broken my record for blog visits 4 times already throughout this process, and I hope more of you will continue to follow me.
Funny I ask you to follow me, because that is my focus today…I want to become a better leader. To symbolize this, I have been posting a leadership quote to my Twitter (@nsueller – follow me!) and Facebook everyday.
I know that posting a leadership quote on Twitter does not make you a leader, but it is reminding me every morning that I have a responsibility to do more, to be more.
Leadership is currently a hot topic in all walks of life, whether it be professional, spiritual, organizational or personal. People and businesses are realizing that managing your life or company is not going to cut it in an ever competitive world. You must lead people into a new future, guide yourself towards your vision, and direct your life in the best possible way.
For as long as I can remember, I have been surrounded by strong leaders. My parents are strong leaders, parents who never wavered in their conviction, integrity or character. My older sister, Leslie, has always been an example of grace, cooperation and fairness. My wife is a model of consistency, dedication and commitment. My brother-in-laws show me how to be good husbands, fathers and friends. My friends are incredible leaders, and have taken me to levels I could have never dreamed. No one, however, has challenged me as a leader as much as my twin sister, Melissa.
We obviously go way back, and we have always been thick as thieves (well, mostly always, there were a couple years we needed some distance). Our first experiences as leaders were shared, because wherever one was, the other was right around the corner. It was hard to say who was the ringleader in all of our adventures, but we sure had some good ones. My very oldest memory was from preschool, and it involved an adventure with Melissa.
On the day we were supposed to dropped off at the baby-sitter’s house for the first time, but no one spread the news to the bus driver. He dropped us off at the house, and drove off, never knowing any different. This left us, two four-year-olds, at our farm, in the middle of nowhere in front of our locked house at 12:15 p.m. We knew mom wasn’t coming home until 5 and that dad was in a pasture bailing hay, so we decided to take charge. I can remember our conversations about breaking into our house so we could watch the cartoons that came on in the afternoon. I didn’t want to miss Darkwing Duck, and what kid didn’t? We decided to grab the slide next to the house and pull it up to the small window above the laundry room, it was only big enough for a small child to crawl through and was wired shut from the outside (this wasn’t the Chatsworth Estates). I climbed the slide and Melissa stood on my shoulders as I boosted her through the small window. She jumped down onto the washing machine and unlocked the door, and we celebrated our victory. We proceeded to make some PB & Js and sit in the living room (a huge no-no) to watch our favorite caped duck. We were never scared, never in doubt and always in charge.
At about 3 we ascended to the top of a tree and jumped on top of the barn, where we ran around in our underwear. We set on the edge of the roof to holler at the Big Dad as our feet dangled 25 feet above the ground. I don’t know if my mom ever got over that one. Melissa stepped on my back to see if the burner was hot on the stove (it was). Melissa helped unlock the medicine cabinet so I could drink an entire bottle of Dimetapp, and it tasted so good!.
In middle school and high school Melissa led the way as a student and as a leader. She was student council president and active in most activities. We both went on mission trips, volunteered our time and led groups. We went our separate ways in college, and were able to create our own identities, even though we became more alike while we were apart. She has never allowed me to be complacent and has a higher standard for me than I have for myself. She has always worked on improving herself and improving others. She is a motivator and influencer, and a huge impact on my life.
The one thing I take away from her as a leader is the fact that she has always worked hard to improve herself and she has proven it with her life. She has completed her classes for her Ph.D and is a professor at John Brown University. She is a mentor to hundreds of kids and teens in Fayetteville through Potter’s House and the Joshua Center. She adopted the most precious boy I have ever met, and plans to adopt more. She challenges others to be the best they can be.
I want to be more like Melissa. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am a leader, but I want to be more of a leader. I want to challenge people to be the best they can be, and empower others to do the same. I want to travel the world as a leadership consultant and conference presenter. I want to write books and train experts. I want to host leadership camps across the US, giving others a chance to improve themselves. I want to challenge people to mentor others to become a leader. I am currently taking the steps necessary to achieve my dream. I honestly believe this is within my reach.
We were able to host a leadership conference in Cuba for around 300 Cubans. We are planning to do the same in Peru in the Spring and eventually on the six continents. We are in the process of taking the 20 Leadership Camps to all 50 states. I plan on pursuing my Ph.D in educational leadership at OSU in the upcoming year. I have already trained leaders with Experiential Adventure in 5 states since I founded the organization. I am able to impact students with Educational Talent Search and as an adviser on NSU’s campus. But I have so far to go, and so much to learn. I do not want to settle for a life of mediocrity when excellence is an option.
John Maxwell tells a story of a young man who attended his conference and fervently took notes and was attentive to all of the speakers. Maxwell brought the young man on stage and encouraged him to do whatever it took to be a leadership expert. Take notes, go to conferences, interview leaders, read books, etc. and in 20 years, he would be in the prime of his life and career and people would wonder how this 40-year-old man so instantly became an expert. He calls it the Law of Process. Building on past successes, information and ventures to achieve your vision.
In his book “The Total Money Makeover,” Dave Ramsey tells his readers that if they want success they must work at it, they must put in the effort to become successful. Jack Canfield says the same thing in “The Success Principles.” You must take 100% responsibility for your life. If you want to be a leadership expert, then who is holding you back? Do what it takes to achieve your goals.
This is why I tweet leadership quotes. This is why I read leadership books. This is why I attend conferences and interview others who are known leaders. I want to be more like Melissa. This is what my Labor Day Challenge is all about.