Taking the lead, going first is always a daunting task. Whether you are the first to scale a mountain, the first batsman at the wicket (taking the harder and ultimately faster ball) or the first person to change the status quo – it’s hard. The rewards of bravery, perseverance and just plain ‘hanging on’ are often great: And as we become more adept at leading, others follow and may even look to us to inspire themselves.
However I have always believed that it is not enough to succeed. Success of ‘one’ can only every bring about personal gain, which is transient and has little impact beyond ourselves, rarely changing the world. Sustained changes and developments that have the potential to advance communities, professions and even the world require more than the power of one. But leading brings with it responsibilities. If we truly believe in the things that inspire us, we are also charged to actively bring others through behind us. Helping others directly and indirectly, through our efforts to meet their own challenges and add to the collective efforts for change.
We must remember the difficulties we faced on our own journeys and the lessons we learned as a result. These hurdles that we over came – whether we climbed over them, crawled under or found a way around them were our battles – but we do not have to leave them for others and watch them attempt to scale the same barriers. There is no virtue in “I did it ..so can they”, there is no leadership, or I would hazard to say, little humanity in ensuring we remain at the top of the Mountain by not sharing with others the solutions to those obstacles. Passive inactivity is as destructive as active obstruction… Success and leadership can be a lonely place. I urge you to do more than feed your own successes – lift as you climb – True leaders are enablers. They actively seek ways of supporting, encouraging and nurturing others to join them at their peak or climb towards their own.
This activity is time consuming, you may even appear at times to slow your own progress. But do not be fooled – lifting others during your journey adds to your achievements as much as to those you encourage. Through individuals’ actions networks are formed and seemingly insurmountable problems are overcome and rendered to the annals of history. More importantly you yourself receive support and friendships are formed. My mother, a very wise woman, always said “take care how you treat people on the way up – they can hold you up there, and remember should your rise be short lived, they are the same people you’ll meet on the way down”.
For me it is more than a fear of the fall which drives me to network, support and nurture others to fulfil their dreams. Through the achievements of each of my mentees, each person I have made some contribution (however small) to their journey; I believe that it is my responsibility and an honour to see others soar father and I higher than I dared hope myself. In return I have made many friends and on many occasions have been spurred on by them when I in turn needed support.
So I urge you – lift as you climb – the rewards are immeasurable.