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When You Start Leading...
When will you start leading?
Dear Future-Ready Leader,
I trust this meets you in pursuit of wisdom.
August came pretty early, the year is gradually winding up and I think it’s a good time to ask you - when will you start leading?
As against popular beliefs, you are not a leader because you have a title or because you attended a leadership conference and took some leadership courses. Those things are a good complement but it is actually the day you make THE COMMITMENT to take responsibility that your leadership begins.
If you ask me, for example, when my leadership began or when I actually started leading. I’m very sure it was 2010. That was the year I made a commitment to developing my skills over the course of my life and to take responsibility for problems in my society. Prior to this period, of course I had attended many conferences on leadership, but you really never start leading until you make a commitment to LEAD.
Even if you were the headboy, headgirl, class captain, school prefect, Band leader or you occupied various offices with titles that end with “Leader”, the truth is leadership in real sense begins when the commitment is made, not when you occupy an office.
Every other activity or action should follow that keystone decision. For instance, since 2010 when I made that commitment, I have developed a habit of taking a percentage of my income monthly to buy books and reading them, growing myself to become a (better) leader.
Think about the people who you believe have made an impact or have greatly affected humanity. If any name comes to your mind, I’d like you to acknowledge that these people were ordinary men and women who either by virtue of circumstances had to exercise that quality called “leadership” or they were people who by virtue of a personal passionate goal had to exercise that quality called “leadership”.
To me, leadership is the game changing effect for everything, therefore leaders are the game-changers.
So when will you start leading?
Anywhere you go, it may be hard to define leadership but you know when you see leaders and experience leadership. This is because leadership is not just a noun, it is a verb - Responsibility.
Leaders are ordinary people but they are ordinary people who accept responsibility under certain circumstances to BE, and DO something and by doing so inspire confidence and trust in others.
Today, just like yesterday, the world is in desperate need of such “ordinary people”. Those who don’t care what title they hold.
In the last few years, the world as you know experienced remarkable progress in science, technology, medicine, etc., but sadly, the last few years also saw us struggle with difficult problems not just in Nigeria but all over the world - from COVID-19 to Russia-Ukraine War, Military Coup in Africa, Civilian assault like the Lekki Toll gate shooting, the rise of new dangerous weapons, countless natural disasters, collapse of structures & businesses, we can go on and on.
But in all of these, there are only 2 responses (maybe one and the other a reaction) as an option. These strange conditions will either press us as a generation to ask “What can i do” or to react by finding ways to run away. Japa is the buzzword in Nigeria.
But if you pay attention, you’ll realise that no nation is immune to problems. Many nations today face similar or worse situations which we usually call “wicked problems” yet their so-called leaders (i like to call them pseudo leaders) cannot explain the reason the nation is the way it is, nor do they have a clear map for the future.
This is why I’m asking you, when will you start leading? We need you! To Lead!
Don’t be deceived. There is a dramatic leadership vacuum all over the world and across every sector. You don’t need a title. You need a commitment and my goal is to inspire you to make that commitment today - to act, to take responsibility, to find the problem that pains you the most, roll up your sleeves, start anywhere, we need you! LEAD.
In a world where everybody is expecting somebody to fix a problem that affects everybody, nobody is showing up. When will you start leading?
I agree that leadership is a difficult task. It takes a lot to lead. A lot of planning, working, sleepless nights, bla bla bla. Leadership takes a lot of everything you’re thinking of right now, except that it begins with that COMMITMENT. That’s the first and most required step.
To tell yourself, I’m all in.
When will you start leading?
I’m a Nigerian, and in my 3 decades on earth, I’ve seen a lot of difficult challenges just like you but also as a student of leadership and public policy, I have read widely about a lot of complex problems facing countries all over the world.
So, anywhere you are, MAKE THAT COMMITMENT today, face the challenge, accept the responsibility to develop yourself and deploy yourself as the solution we are waiting for - to provide sustainable solutions to our numerous challenges, secure the future, for your children, for my children, for our children!
Talk, they say, is easy, let’s do the hard thing!
It is when you start leading!
Yours in leadership,