Leaders lift others
Self-made is a myth. You and I stand on the shoulders of lifters. People that shaped us and helped us believe in something more. My personal list of lifters includes too many to name here, men and women who form a platform that I’ve built my life upon.
Lifting others begins with seeing what could be and then investing yourself to bring it out.
Robert Treadwell accomplished many things in his life. He was a Youth Worker and Maine State Representative. But the thing I remember most about Bob was his ability to see. He saw value in me that I didn’t see in myself and he gave himself to bringing it out. When I was young, he saw what could be in me.
Lifting others includes being an example.
My dad (Walter) changed me. Dad gave me a work ethic and a love for books. He never told me to read and he never explained the importance of hard work. He changed me by his example. He loved books and to this day he is the hardest working man I know.
Lifting others means setting noble goals that challenge perceived limits.
Coach Reed, my High School basket-ball coach, set high goals. He pushed us to be better. He set high standards and pressed our limits.
Remembering Coach Reed helped me remember to set higher goals for some of the young leaders around me. I’ve shown them acceptance and tried to exemplify noble qualities. However, I haven’t challenged them enough.
You are standing on the shoulders of people who lifted you. Honor them by taking a minute to remember them, share their story. Perhaps thinking of them will help us be more like them.
Who lifted your life?
What qualities/behaviors enabled their influence?
How can you honor them by emulating them and lifting others?
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Part of this post was published as “Changing a life.”
Leaders who lifted me up? I would have to name 6 – Emma Moran, Melba Stowell, Adrienne Creed, Mrs. Gaissm, Andrew Philips, and “Peter”. **All teachers who saw things in me I didn’t even see in myself and taught in a way that sparked my talents and encouraged their growth.
To that I would add my newest customer Annie S. whose passion fueled mine as I was fueling them. This is rare in my line of work.
Lastly, some Social Media contacts — a new and very interesting way to be lifted up.
Thanks for jumping in. The Social Media component is interesting isn’t it. I’m surprised at the interesting and helpful people I’m meeting and learning from.
I’m wondering if there are key skills/behaviors/attitudes that help someone “see things in others.”
It’s also interesting that the people you list are teachers. Something to think about if we want to lift others.
You have my best regards,
Kate is a featured blogger on Leadership Freak. You can learn more about her and find contact information at:
My first mentor’s name was Julie. She is the owner of a local tanning salon (http://www.yourbodyelements.com/) and took me under her wing when I came to the US to go to college and needed a job. Julie is AWESOME. I learned so much from her. She taught me to strive for excellence, to push and pursue my dreams, to find resilience and steadfastness, how to trust, how to develop a work ethic… and so much more! When I moved away, she gave me a card that said I could always contact her if I needed anything – advice, money and even a pint of blood! Her mentorship, trust and confidence in me has shaped me so much; it means the world to me.
Rockin’ story. Very uplifting with practical behaviors we all could follow.
Anna and Dan,
Not surprising to me that our discussion is focusing on the inspirational component of leadership. Do you think this is a universally held belief? Can someone be a great leader if they are not inspirational?
Great question. Kouzes/Posner in the great book, “The Leadership Challenge” list “inspire a shared vision” as on of the 5 functions of leadership.
I would say all leaders inspire. Might as well say it directly to see if anyone disagrees.
At an offsite once we were asked to name our greatest role model. I couldn’t. All I could say was “I am surrounded by giants.” Inspirers – lifters – come from everywhere. Yesterday it was the minimum wage chainsmoker at the convenience store who smiled at the right time.
A teacher once told me to think of challenging people as wise beings who have chosen to help me by pushing my buttons, thus forcing me to confront my limitations. I’ve found that helpful. That rude person? Not a jerk, but a Lifter.
The world is kind and tries to show us the way. It’s on us to recognize it.
I should expect it by now. You expand the conversation to include the “unsavory” types as lifters. I hadn’t thought of this angle. Personally, I’m not prepared to assume that button pushers have good intentions. However, I’ve learned that some button pushers are right. 🙂
Your comment helps me realize that finding lifters is more about me than it is about others.
Best to you,
Mark is a featured blogger on Leadership Freak. I’v posted his bio and link at: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/mark-friedman
“Self-made is a myth”,“ leaders lift others”, inspiration…
This is inspiring. I’m trying to do what you said: taking a few minutes to think about people who inspired me, pushed me.
I remember one teacher (geography and history) I used to appreciate a lot and coming back home saying “Mr X said bla bla bla”, until the day my parents and I met him. He said something like he sees me to be a good XXX (professional position)…. And his vision was clearly not the same as mine and I was very disappointed to be underestimated by him. I went far more in the education which proved me I can do more than what he saw.
Back now, after trying to remember good leaders for me, I realize that I worked more on reaction than on being pulled. I’m not even sure I personally met leaders that could be an example for me. The first time I went to China (for internship, and I remember how much I did not prepare seriously myself, my mind was more in the clouds than down to earth), I met a French businessman that I did appreciate because he was kind of cool, opened and having always a smile on the face (an honest smile). This changed me durably. I discovered the Power of Smile for an adult. I don’t remember so much people who consciously pulled me. Well, years later I met new comers in China and I often remembered these first times for me in this huge country and I simply and modestly tried to give back the openness, the ear and some availability.
I think I took examples from times to times to some people. Certainly not enough. Now I do consciously take example on chosen people through books or blog. Trying to develop what I’ve not developed yet.
Regarding your comment to Kate: “It’s also interesting that the people you list are teachers”. Well, I’m not so much surprised. Based on what I know from MBTI personality test. Some personalities are kind of made for being inspirational, they are ENFJ personality type. These people are naturally teachers, mentors, trainers, coaches. Maybe somebody can give more insight about this issue? And one trait of their character is : they like to see and as possible to make people improving, evolving.
Your comment is filled with personality and passion. Thank you for sharing.
Your desire to pass along to others what you have received from lifters is inspiring. You inspire me.
I wonder if there is a link to a free online Myers Briggs assessment???
Something as simple as smiling can lift others. Very cool. I read on a blog today the term Chief Attitude Officer. I liked the term because it helps people assume a measure of responsibility for the general environment around them.
Thanks again for returning to LF and for sharing your experiences and perspective on this useful topic.
It is interesting how many people mention school teachers as their inspiration, and not just here.
It is interesting that society as a whole and the establishment doesn’t have much respect for school teachers. (I am a bit of a cynic – you can measure how much respect society has for someone by how much that person gets paid)
School teachers – not university teachers – have an enormous effect on people and people will often remember their school teachers long after they have forgotten every word that their university professors ever said, and yet teachers get paid less than university teachers, get less respect than university professors and have less resources than university professors.
After parents, school teachers have a greater impact on people than anyone else. Society should remember that if they want children to become useful, honourable and law abiding citizens.
I apologize – end of rant.
‘Tis true. One of the reasons I teach.
Societal rewards are inaccurate, at best.
Thanks for your rant. I had several teachers who lifted me. Mrs. Goodwin my first grade teacher was strict but when encouragement was needed she freely passed it out.
Good one..RANT ON,
Great Post Dan. For me, from my early years, loved ones were my great lifters. My parents who belive I can do what every I set my mind to. They belived so I did to. Today added to that list are my husband, by boys (who are now both bigger than I am) and some close and supportive friends and mentors who give me a lift when I need it.
I am one of the VERY lucky ones. But I have also seen leaders who have gotten thier lift in other ways. Leaders who rose up in spite of what people said – or specifically because people thought they could not. Others that have been lifted up by circumstances where someone had to do it and they stepped forward to get the job done. They were not inspired by another person – simply by the needs of the day. Their job is harder without a supportive team to lift them, but they still rose to the occasion.
Thanks for bringing your thoughts to this discussion. You remind me that we are important to our loved ones. We have influence.
I have to agree that some people have faced and overcome a headwind. They have tenacity, passion, and direction.
I keep looking for and enjoying your comments.
Great post and equally thought provoking comments.
While my list of who inspired my life is long and rich, I want to add another dimension to the discussion. I would say I am also “inspired” by poor leaders.
I learn mightily by example and if the example is bad – it oftens challenges me to do better and not repeat the mistakes observed.
Thanks for the post.
Great post and equally great comments.
Just want to add that I have also learned and been inspired by poor leaders. While many people get frustrated and quickly disenchanted with the poor leaders in their life – I learn and take in all the missed opportunities to make me a better leader.
Thanks for the thought provoking post.
Congratulations on learning and growing through your experiences with poor leaders.
If we aren’t careful we may let poor leaders motivate us toward self-defeating attitudes and behaviors.
Best to you,
I’ve had so many people challenge me and help me over the years that I’ve given up counting. I’m not sure I can even list them all. But I will mention the Marines.
I joined the Marines at 17. I learned a lot. Excellence is the only standard worth setting. You stand on the shoulders of giants. You can always do more and better than you think at first. They say that there are no ex-Marines. It’s true in my case what I learned in the Corps still infuses my life, attitudes and work. When you see me write things like, “If you’re a leader you have two jobs. Accomplish the mission and care for the people.” it’s the Marine Corps talking.
Pastor Dan, I think this is one of the top posts ever. Thanks for reminded us that our accomplishments were due to the contribution of others.
Thanks Tom! I bet you lift others! Dan
It’s wonderful to remember and recognize the contributions as done by few of our mentors in shaping our lives. You have chosen a right title for an appreciable post forcing all LF readers to publicly acknowledge the people who must have helped in changing our professional and/or personal lives.
In my case it was my science teacher, Ms. Veena Pathak, who praised openly for the best answer paper scoring full marks in a class of IX. It encouraged me to concentrate in studies and remain in top 10 thereafter. Then came a young boss, Ajay Srinivas, at my second job who taught the daily habits of becoming a responsible professional. A sense of accountability and the team work helped me to change my image totally. The third person whom I consider as my mentor, Prof. Y. K. Bhusan, helped me to become a good administrator with a human touch.
These are the 3 best contributors at 3 stages of my life and I can’t really forget them. Leaders really lift others by demonstrating their best strengths with their regular habits and only a very few would pick up these things in a right spirit.
You encouraged me to write on this topic and I’m glad you did.
I love your story. You lift me by sharing it.
Once again teachers play a prominent role in lifting others.
You have my regards,
Dr. Asher is a featured contributor to Leadership Freak. I’ve posted his bio and contact info at: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/dr-asher
Great topic for a post, Dan. When I think back on the question, and people who have lifted me, there were two people in my hometown whose homes/businesses I would drop in on as a teenager. The issues I faced were really dragging my self esteem down (rightly or wrongly, they were), and these people always seemed to have time to chat, even fitting me in to whatever domestic tasks they were doing. It’s odd because now as an adult I wouldn’t THINK of just dropping in on someone, even in emotional crisis, and I can’t imagine my own teenager taking off to “hang out” at an adult’s house. Conversely, I wonder how my teenager copes without having someone like that to talk to (maybe I have made her life issue free [joke!].
The qualities/behaviors these people had — the ability to intuitively know when a fellow human needed (badly) to connect, and to somehow multitask, without making it seem like an interruption.
To answer your third question, I have a friend who was horribly attacked in a daylight attack at her home several months ago. The recovery process (physically and emotionally) has been, and will continue to be, difficult. She has “Facebook chatted” me several times, but she was always the initiator. This is a super-small thing, but I initiated contact with her today — when you are suffering you shouldn’t have to always be the one asking for help!
Not super-small at all.
One of the most powerful things we can do in daily life is reach out to others with care. Those who reach out show life their abundance – and life continues to give them such.
Another great comment. I love reading these stories.
Like Tracy, I’m reminded that lifting others isn’t hard. A little confidence and initiative and we can make a difference.
Recently a co-worker stopped into my office for a personal chat. I hadn’t thought of it till reading your comment but now in a small way I was a lifter.
I’m having too much fun,
Paula is a featured blogger on Leadership Freak. I’ve posted her bio and contact information at: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/paula-kiger
Those who lifted me? Certainly the list is long, but a few are most notable. If you’re going to ask Dan, I’m afraid I must honor a few.
I was 10 when I began playing special music at church and honestly the biggest winds beneath my wings were the elderly members who consistently came up after services who hugged and encouraged me. To this day, I cannot remember anyone who has thanked me more. There is something about gratitude and thanks that builds up the soul. A lesson they taught me that I try not to forget.
There was Elaine who owned a 2nd hand clothing store near my house. I couldn’t afford many clothes, much less appropriate wear for speeches, recitals and competitions. Elaine herself, though, had never ever heard me play. But she took to me, loved me and believed in me. Told all her friends I was the best pianist she knew. She noted my coloring and size and began holding back dresses for me as they came into her store, clothes that might help me. She’d call, I’d come in and then she’d have me try everything, note my preferences, my finances and then often insist on the best going home with me for whatever I could afford. Thanks to that woman, I was well clothed and she honestly sent me off to college with a proper wardrobe. She was wonderful, encouraging and nurturing. I learned generosity and compassion from her. She died unexpectedly about 4 months later, and it became obvious I was not the only grateful person her heart had blessed. It was standing room only at her funeral.
There was my principal who was also my teacher for 4 years at our county school. Her husband was a psychologist working on the cutting edge of right/left brain education at the time and she was actively implementing their work together into her GT program. She was a short but a fiery strong leader in our community. I believe she may have been the first in our region to use computers in the classroom – funded out of her own pocket. She believed in helping every child reach a potential even they didn’t know was possible. Her work ethic, warm professionalism and never believing in impossible were greatly impressed upon me.
Lastly, there was my grandfather, an entrepreneur who made a way for himself and his family, after losing his parents at a young age and serving a full military career. He had been quite a leader in the community, but he was also a serious man. I was the only blood relation who spoke for him at his funeral and my husband on behalf of Grandpa’s military service, as only a soldier can. But of all the people I could mention, perhaps Grandpa’s contribution to my philosophy of life and strength in the face of adversity was most significant. And one of the greatest lessons he taught me was the profound power of example, even (especially) when you aren’t aware. You are welcome to read about him in the sentiment I wrote for his funeral service here: http://tinyurl.com/24cpy5l.
And there are so many more. At first glance, my life may not have been one much desired by most, but God sent angels to give me hugs and keep wisdom, encouragement and love in my ears. And that makes me more privileged than most.
Thanks Dan for offering the space of honor here.
IT is a soul searching post. Remembering someone for positive casue shows honor and respect for him. My father lifted my life. I remember when I was 4-5 years old, my father used to give me tricky mathematical sum while running provisional store. I used to solve and enjoy. That moments taught me never to surrender. I was passionate to stood number one in the class and I was. My grandfather used to feed beggers and others who were hungry. My father and grandfather were honest, straightforward and always favored truth and value. I strongly believe,enjoy and practice honesty, truth, value and that pay me. Five years back, when a family staying in mumbai called her relative to help to find job asked them to vacate room after few days. They were helpless. The newly wed family with six month baby was given temporary residence. It was “Diwali” festival when people in Indian enjoy firecrackers. I sent my wife to give sweet to newly ousted family. And my wife told me that they are weeping without food. I immediately arranged accomodation with the help of my relatives and paid from my pocket. On the same day, I helped them to shift in new home and helped them for about six month with everything. I helped her to find job and since then they are staying in the same house and enjoying thier family life. Her daughter goes to school. On the day, I did not celebrate my Diwali but I do not have regret. Similarly, I helped many people migrating from village to find small business in nearby market with my exiting connection and relations. At present I am deeply connected to society, and enjoy helping people. That gives me a power, strength and source of inspiration. I bow to my father and grandfather who inculcated in me such a simple and great value that always encourages to move ahead with great cause.
You show us how positive powerful influence passes from along a chain from one to another.
I’m honored and thankful you took the time to share your personal story.
Your life reflects favor on your father and grandfather.
Ajay is a featured contributor on Leadership Freak. You can read his bio at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/ajay-gupta
John C. Maxwell has been of great help through his leadership books to me personally.
Friends like Gbolahan, Ruth have also lefted me up in believing in my self and my leadership ability.
Overtime, I’ve come to the realization that Leadership is Infuence.
Bless you for sharing this!