So I think one of the issues that we’re facing in our society today is a lack of leadership.

Hi, this is Bernie Heine, and today I want to talk about leadership as a choice. Who do you think of when you think of a good leader? And what are the characteristics of that person? Take a moment to reflect on that. What are the things that you value when you see somebody, meet somebody, work with somebody, and you say “wow! that person’s a good leader?” What are the things that come to mind?

Now think about some of those terms you might come up with. Maybe they’re outgoing or they’re very thoughtful. Maybe there’s a person that asks really good questions or the person that takes initiative/gets things done.

You Can Be a Leader

Now imagine for a second you can do all those things yourself, can’t you? Do you have to be the appointed CEO of the company? Do you have to be the manager of the department? Or can anyone exhibit those behaviors?

The fact is, we can all be leaders. It’s a choice we make. We have the ability as human beings to choose the outcomes of our lives. We choose things that we we want to do. We don’t have to take things as they are, we can change them. We don’t have to conform always to what everybody is trying to tell us to do. We have our own minds think on our own to go in our own direction.

The late Jim Rohn is an inspirational speaker, and one of the things he said once in his one of his talks was that his life changed when he realized it even rains on rich people. What he meant by that was happens to us tends to happen to all of us equally. If the economy goes up or the economy goes down, or there’s new innovations from other companies these effects happen to all of us equally. What we can do is how we react to those things. What we do about those things is what makes a difference for us.

And successful people recognize that they need to take charge of their own lives and be responsible for the things they want to change in their lives. So we think about leadership and all those positive things you were thinking of before, so what’s the opposite of that? These are people who blame the rest of the world on what’s going wrong in their lives. They can come up with hundreds of reasons why they’re not successful: well it’s the economy, well it’s my neighbor, well it’s my family, well it’s my upbringing. Or maybe it’s my boss or countless other things. These people point fingers at everyone else as to why they are not a successful individual.

The Oz Principle-Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman

Well it turns out they’re just displaying more victim behavior than leadership behavior. In the book The Oz Principle, the authors point out a very simple graphic, and it’s a straight line across the page. They propose the question that we should all think about every minute of every day: am I above this line or am I below this line?

That line above the line means leadership behavior, and below the line is victim behavior, and all of us go through the process of going above and below the line all the time. When something bad happens generally our human nature is to react negatively and think “why did that happen?” and “what are they trying to do to me?” We need to quickly recognize in those moments that we have to pull ourselves up above the line and think and get above the situation and say “what can I do to make this better?” “what I make happen?” “what decisions can I take?” “what actions can I take to make the situation better?” rather than wallowing in the victim side, which is “oh well, all these bad things have happened n. that this is bad that’s bad these people are against me, and those don’t like me and my boss is always giving me all this work.”

Think about what is that I can do to pull myself  above? So am I above the line or below? Above the line is making the choice to be a leader and below the line is making the choice to be a victim, and these are clear choices that we make all the time to be a better leader. You take the challenge on to take the choice of choosing leadership