I want to talk about leadership. The principles that I’m want to talk about have wide application, they’re not just into the real estate industry, they’re not just in your career. They’re in your family, your community, they’re in all different areas. They are things that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. Considering our national state, considering a lot of things that are happening in our communities, a lot of things that are happening within our families and companies during these challenging times. So I want to take what I’ve learned over the past 20 plus years of leadership and distill it down to a few key things that I think will be really beneficial for all of us. 

I’ve studied this recently, because I realized that there are some voids in my own personal leadership. In no way am I coming to you, as someone who has leadership figured out, I’m a lifelong student of leadership. This is why; I realized that I can’t get to my potential, without me, helping and leading other people. My mission and my passion, as you know, is to help you to wake up to the potential inside of you and then to help you live in pursuit of that potential. So that you can live, give and serve abundantly. That’s what I’m about. That’s my personal life mission. That’s what drives me and fuels me every day. Obviously, my show the Think Bigger Real Estate Show fits right in with that. But today, I want to speak to a wider audience. 

A couple things that I’ve learned about leadership. One was from John Maxwell, he said, the definition of leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less, the ability to influence other people. I think that’s important for us to remember that leadership is influence. The next thing I want to talk about are some general truths about humans. The reality is each and every one of us are living below our potential, we have the ability to live a bigger life, to serve more people to reach more people. I want to keep that in your mind, I also want to share that each and every one of us have a sense of wanting to belong somewhere to something and if we ever feel like we don’t belong somewhere, then we will find somewhere where we do belong. So it’s important, I think, as leaders, for us to recognize that. If you’re really going to influence people, if you’re really going to move people forward, reaching your potential and helping unlock their potential, people have to feel like they belong.

The purpose of leadership then becomes to help get more out of people. Again, if we’re all living below our potential, then leadership, [the definition is influence], the purpose of it is to help unlock within people the idea that there’s more inside of them. That they can live a bigger life, that they can give more and serve more. I would also add that the purpose of leadership is to convert people to a united way of thinking around a certain cause. Whether that’s in your family, your company, your community, or in your nation. To actually convert people to to a common cause that you’re all working towards. That word convert is interesting, because to convert something is actually to change it. I think anytime we’re leading people, we actually want to change their hearts and their minds, to get them to believe something, maybe better, maybe different than they believed before, that is united with that core group of people. So within my family to convert people to the cause that we can create a great family that we can create this great life together, that we can help make each other better and have peace within our home or within your company, within your community, within whatever cause or movement you’re leading. We’re converting people to this new way of thinking so that we can do more together, so we’re more united, and we’re doing more together. 

Some key principles of leadership that I’ve learned: 

  • Number one is to know your people. It’s very difficult to get people to want to follow you. Maybe you think you know who your people are, what they want, what they need, but the real way to really get to know your people is to spend time with them. If there’s something that you don’t understand about them, rather than just making assumptions, I think it’s more important to ask; “Hey, I don’t understand where you’re coming from, will you share with me?” I think the great wisdom and principles of Stephen R. Covey, who taught, seek first to understand, then to be understood. People really could care less to understand you, if you don’t first seek to understand them. When we are in any sort of leadership role, it behooves us to really find out what our people are about, who are they, what drives them, what they want most in life. In my family maybe there’s fighting amongst my children, and I’m trying to convert them to be nice to each other, if I just start slinging arrows of words, of accusation or blame, it’s amazing when I end up learning the whole story I recognize that actually wasn’t the scenario I assumed. That’s not who these people are. All of a sudden they don’t want to follow me anymore. They’re like, I’m not following you, Dad, I’m not going to do what you say, because you didn’t understand where I’m coming from. In addition, you didn’t even try and ask why this ruckus was going on. When I learn what really was happening at the core, I have more compassion for my children and I’m more inclined to go and help them. Okay, so know your people, you have to understand them before you can expect to be understood. 
 
  • The second principle is to love your people. The reality is, each and every one of my children, using the example of my family, each and each and every one of my children are different, they’re very different from each other. I’m not trying to make them all the same. Obviously, I want all of them to be the best version of themselves. If I tried to make them all think exactly alike they wouldn’t like that. They come from the same parents but there’s different experiences that they’ve had, they’ve got different strengths and different weaknesses. So I have to love them where they’re at. If I ever expect to influence them, if I ever expect to actually help them, I actually have to love them where they’re at. To come at them with compassion. 
 
  • The third principle that I think is really important when it comes to leadership is to serve your people. I think I often find that it’s way easier to love my people when I serve my people. That kind of goes without saying, we look at Gandhi, all the kind of the great leaders of the world that really influenced people that really changed hearts and minds. They served all those around them. They did all of those things. They knew their people, they loved their people, and they served their people. So if you have any desire to lead people, to influence them to unite them around a common cause I think these are some principles that we should all embody. I’m pointing at myself right now too. In my family, in my career, in my Think Bigger movement, everything, I’m seeing deficiencies in the way that I’m showing up in the world. I want always to strive to be better.

Hopefully there’s been some value here for you.  I’ll reiterate that none of us are able to reach our full potential without leading people. There’s always true principles about leading people, some of which, hopefully, you’ve found some value in what I’ve shared here today. I share this out of my love and respect for anybody that’s listening to this and your desire to unlock your potential and unlock the potential of other people through being a genuine, great leader. 

Thank you so much for listening and remember, GO THINK BIGGER!

The Upstream Model
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