This morning I woke up with the instinct to share these 47 rules with you. These will remind you that leadership (and personal greatness) is less about a title and more about a decision. To use this crisis to ascend mastery, creativity and service to many. (To not will be to miss the greatest opportunity of your lifetime.) Our world demands that of you and I, yes?
I get that it’s easy to worry and fret about the future. Yet, I must enthusiastically share that what makes us human is our ability to invent. And to endure. And to overcome.
I pray you will leverage this season to reaccess the bigness, honour, kindness and strength that I know are you at your best. It’s the best time I’ve ever known to build your most exceptional you. And to upgrade your skills. And to lead your field.
I guess what I’m suggesting with love and respect is this:
Leadership isn’t just for CEOs and presidents. We all can lead. Because leadership’s mostly a mindset and a way of doing things.
Taxi drivers can lead, street sweepers can lead, and teachers can lead, as can managers, artists and salespeople.
These 47 rules are drawn from my over 26+ years of passionate work with the Fortune 100 Companies, empire-builders, and world-changers.
- To lead is to serve.
- At the heart of mastery lives consistency.
- Take care of the relationship and the money will take care of itself.
- The seduction of safety is always more dangerous than the illusion of uncertainty.
- To double your income, triple your investment in your professional education and your personal development.
- The swiftest way to grow your company is to grow your people.
- If you’re not leaving a trail of leaders behind you, you’re not leading. You’re following.
- An addiction to distraction is the end of creative production.
- The caliber of your practice determines the quality of your performance.
- Leaders Without Titles are less about ego and more about getting things done.
- Don’t worry about the economy when you can be so genius at what you do that you create your very own personal economy.
- Lead where you are planted. Start where you stand. And remember that much of winning is just beginning.
- The true measure of our leadership is how we perform in volatile conditions versus in times of ease.
- To lead is to be yourself in a world of clones.
- Aim for iconic. Why be in it if you’re not dreaming of being in the history books? But be kind, decent and ethical along the way.
- The humblest is the greatest.
- Energy is more valuable than intelligence. Health is more brilliant than gold.
- The thing you most fear carries your greatest growth.
- All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.
- Criticism is the price brave people pay to arrive at iconic.
- If you’re not lifting people, you’re bringing people down.
- Leadership has less to do with authority and more to do with a mindset.
- Where the victim sees a problem, a leader sees an opportunity.
- Don’t wait until you’re successful to work on your optimism. Work on your optimism, and you’ll become a lot more successful.
- Be alone a lot. All massively creative people value solitude. It allows them to protect their dreams from the voices of dissent, refuel their creativity and get far more done, free from distraction.
- Small daily micro-wins, when done continually over time, lead to staggering results.
- Genius has less to do with natural talent and divinely blessed gifts and more to do with a relentless focus [to the point of obsession], extreme practice and uncommon grit.
- Disrupt or be disrupted.
- Be the most honest person in every room.
- Remember that people don’t leave companies. They leave the people they worked for.
- Saying you’ll “try” is expressing “I’m not really committed.”
- The secret of passion is purpose. As I shared years ago in Leadership Wisdom from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, when you know your why, the hows start showing up.
- If you’re the smartest person you know, it’s time to know new people.
- Outlearning everyone around you is a game-changer. The best love learning. Because once you know more, you can achieve more.
- To make more money, help more people
- Leaders Without Titles talk about ideas versus people and dreams versus others.
- Eat less food, and get more done.
- The way you begin your day determines how you live it. So put mind over mattress. Win the battle of the bed. And join The 5 AM Club (another total game-changer).
- Develop obsessive attention to detail. World-class user experiences are all about winning at the small stuff that everyone else doesn’t care about.
- Even if you clean toilets, do it with pride and love. A few summers ago, I met a man who cleans toilets at the Johannesburg airport. He beamed “Welcome to my office” as I entered. The place was flawless. His passion was palpable. That man is my hero. And he reminded me that all work has dignity and honor.
- Leaders Without Titles are in the business of making people feel bigger versus smaller. And smarter versus less knowledgeable. And seeing gifts and talents, they’ve never seen before.
- Lean into your fears. Commit to what frightens you. Life’s way too short to play small.
- The secret to genius is doing less. Developing a monomaniacal focus on being brilliant at one thing is the key to mastery. You’re smart, so you know that the person who tries to get great at many things ends up mediocre at all of them, no?
- The moment you think you’re a virtuoso, you’ve lost your virtuosity. The best always think like a beginner. And they know that nothing fails like success.
- Be decent and kind and loving. In the end, you’ll have wished you were.
- Never lose the sparkle in your eyes and your sense of wonder about the things most people take for granted. Leadership, business and life are awesome. Don’t miss the simple rewards of standing for world-class.
(Note: there are two types of income: external (money and title) and internal (pride in doing great work and pursuing mastery). The ordinary chase the first. The exceptional want the last.)
- Do your part. Be the leader you wish the people around you would be. As Mother Teresa said: “If each of us would sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.”
I hope these insights on the true meaning of leadership help you multiply your productivity, amplify your genius and magnify your impact on the world.
Our tiny planet needs more true leaders, pure producers and everyday heroes. Just like you.