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5 Historical Figures to Inspire the Modern Leader

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Standing out at the front and leading can sometimes be a lonely station to hold. After all, an inexperienced leader must be able to develop their own voice, while trusting those around them enough to seek counsel for those difficult decisions. Neither of which are skills that can be developed overnight.

One of the most influential historical figures, Benjamin Franklin, developed his own solution to this problem. Franklin gathered up the works and writings of those that he looked up to, read and reread them and took incredibly detailed notes. 

By studying those who came before, Franklin was able to fashion himself into the man we know him as today. And just as he did, the modern leader can look back into the annals of history to draw inspiration from some of the greatest figures who’ve ever lived, just as we’ve done in this blog.

1. Sun Tzu – Observe & Adapt

Just as water changes course per its surroundings, a leader must learn and adapt to any situation – this could be mean responding to anything from the economic landscape to your competition’s activities. 

The much-celebrated Zhou Dynasty military leader, writer and philosopher, Sun Tzu remarked that a leader must observe their surroundings to ensure they can gain a greater understanding of what’s to come. 

Of course, The Art of War is written with the extreme backdrop of 500 BC China in mind, but Sun Tzu’s advice in its raw format still rings true for the modern professional: studying your environment, and your competition puts you in the best position to make the most of any opportunity.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” – Sun Tzu

2. Toussaint Louverture – Find Your Course & Remain Steadfast to its Outcome

A former slave, enthused by the principles of the French Revolution, Toussaint Louverture helped to defeat the European empires in San Domingo, now known as Haiti, and purge his colony of slavery. 

During the outset of the revolution, Louverture remained steadfast to one core ideal: to abolish the slave trade in the colony. To accomplish his goals, Louverture allied himself alongside the French and Spanish armies. Rather than simply associate himself under the flag of his nation, he fought alongside troops that shared his principles. 

To this end, Louverture was successful in his attempts to eradicate slavery by setting a course and doing whatever was necessary to ensure it was achieved in the end.

3. Nelson Mandela – Be the Shining Example Your People Need

Sometimes, pretending to be confident and courageous is confidence and courage. Nelson Mandela, known the world over, was rightly acclaimed as a fearless leader, even when he had every right to be genuinely terrified. 

In 1994, during his presidential election campaign in South Africa, Mandela was travelling in a small plane to give a speech to his Zulu supporters. When the aircraft was twenty minutes away from its destination, one of the engines failed; inciting panic.

However, when the other passengers of the plane looked over to Mandela, he sat quietly and calmly reading the newspaper. Eventually, the plane was successfully grounded, and the pilot had managed to get everyone to safety.

As for Mandela, he later confessed that he’d been just as scared as anyone else, but simply refused to allow the fear to overcome him, and by doing so he was able to keep the other passengers calm too. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to risk your life; instead, it means learning to deal with the fears and anxieties of the day-to-day world of running a business. Remember, courage is not an absence of fear; it’s inspiring others to move beyond it.

4. Abraham Lincoln – Think Before You Speak

Pointing out the mistakes of others is rarely a catalyst for change, and it seldom leads to learning anything worthwhile. Human beings aren’t driven by reason but emotion. So, a public dressing down is far more likely to reflect poorly on you – even if it is warranted.

Abraham Lincoln learned this lesson the hard way. In 1842, a young Lincoln publicly rebuked political rival James Shields during a debate on banking in Illinois. Lincoln’s posturing angered Shields enough to challenge Lincoln to a duel, in which the victor took the life of his opponent and the pride of victory.

Lincoln was saved only by the grace of a group of mutual friends, who sensibly talked Shields down. It was at this time that Lincoln realised his approach was making more enemies than friends. His new policy, which served him well during his time in the White House, was to understand what motivated his rivals, accept their shortcomings and dial back on the aggression.

In doing so, Lincoln’s reputation for understanding won him many admirers. In fact, the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, explains how Lincoln was able to turn many of his political enemies into members of his own cabinet. 

During the civil war, when someone spoke out against the Southern states, Lincoln simply said, “don’t criticise them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.”

“Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.” – Abraham Lincoln

5. Niccolò Machiavelli – Recruit the Very Best

To gain a better understanding of where you’re headed, you’ll need trusted people around you. In his famous work The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli maintained that in order to find the very best, you must first understand your own weaknesses. In a modern sense, this means you must understand where you could improve in order to successfully fill any skills gaps.

However, finding the very best isn’t enough, it’s vital that you learn how to get the very best from them, and in fact, how they can get the best of you too.

For Machiavelli, that translated into showing his advisors, he valued honest opinion, in a scenario where they would not be punished for offering it. In the end, though, he was the one taking that final step, saying “the first thing one does to evaluate a ruler’s prudence, is to look at the people around him.”

By surrounding yourself with the very best people, who aren’t afraid to give their opinions, there is no end to what you can achieve.

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How Your Friends Determine Whether You Succeed or Not

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Can anyone do without having friends? We all have our friends, we share ideas with them, talk together, have fun, and fight. Yes, that’s the baseline of friendship. But, do you know that aside from you, your friends can determine whether you achieve success or not?

There are two things in friendship which are the ability to ”love” and the ability to “influence”. This means you are loved and you are influenced. How do your friends affect your success in life? How are they one of the biggest deciding factors of your success? Let’s find out.

What type of friends do you keep? 

First, what type of friends do you keep? Who do you call your best friend? There are two different kinds of friends, good friends, and bad ones. A lot of people have lost their pathway to success and some have also found their road to success all because of the friends they keep, the people they mingle with. 

Who is your best friend? Answer carefully. Having a best friend means you find each other compatible and understanding. Analyze who your best friend is. If your best friend has not motivated you to do something positive, if who you call your bestie has never given you positive advice, lastly if your best friend has never informed and advised you on your shortcomings, then you don’t have a best friend.

This quote tells us “birds of the same feather flock together”. Countless people have changed from their good nature into a bad one all because of friends. One thing to note is, “negative people move with negative aura”. If your best friend is filled with negativity inside-out then you will surely be affected by his/her negative aura.

They influence your success with positivity or negativity 

The friends you keep can either influence you with positivity or negativity because your friends have the power to change your kind of person completely. 

This is how your friends influence you:

  1. They influence you indirectly with what they do
  2. They influence you directly by teaching and giving you advice 

Yes, that is how they influence you. For instance, you watch a movie and you like the way the actor walks. The question is if you truly like the way the actor walks, won’t you try to imitate the actor? Of course, you will.

Just the way you imitate the actor is the same way your friends can influence you with their character. However, the funny part is, they don’t have to teach you to do things like them. You just find yourself imitating and copying them gradually.

An important question to ask is, are you imitating a good friend or a bad one? If you imitate a good friend then you will be good, but if you imitate a bad person, you will surely become a bad person.

Everyone wants to succeed, a good friend will always teach, enlighten, and motivate you for success. A bad friend will only motivate you to do evil things (smoking, drinking, fight, envy,).

And you should know that things like that are a great enemy of success and even of God. So, if you have these bad elements in your life, how will you achieve success? There is no way!

And also, they can teach and advise you directly. But, what do your friends teach you? When you ask them for advice do they inspire you positively or teach you the bad stuff.? A lot of people have regretted lifelong decisions just by listening to the advice of friends. 

The company you keep has the power to influence and change you. Never forget that a positive influence will teach, motivate, and brush you up for success. While a negative influence will inspire you to become a bad person, change your good nature, and leave you with regrets in the end.

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The 3 Step Process to Building a Profitable Pitch

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As a communication coach, one of the top questions entrepreneurs ask me is how to deliver a winning pitch to potential investors. They want to know if there’s a magic formula to get an investor to say yes and buy into their dream and their business. (more…)

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The 4 Pillars of Wealth and Abundance

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Have you ever wondered what the formula for a wealthy and abundant life is? Many people have. Lots has been written about the subject of wealth creation and living an abundant life. It was a breaking point in my journey and pursuit of success when I found out that there is a clear path to achieve success in life. Thanks to those who have shared their journey, we can clearly see and follow the principles of prosperity. (more…)

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Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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