“The price of greatness is responsibility.” Winston Churchill
I have always felt connected to the simple, direct manner in which this man, perhaps the greatest statesmen of the 20th century, communicated. You can experience this in the videos of his speeches and, especially, in his writing. There are many things, both positive and not so positive that can be said about Winston Churchill, but to me, one thing stands out—his discipline. His exhaustive researching and relentless pursuit of the facts. Churchill felt the weight of his role in history and felt a deep responsibility to do the absolute best he was capable of doing. Now, let me put this in the context of leadership today, not only in business, but in any role of leadership. You may not think so, but “history” will be judging your actions. It could be the people in your family. It could be the people who work for you. It could be your colleagues, neighbors, or friends. But, rest assured, your actions will be judged at some point, by someone. How do you want to be judged—as someone who felt the weight of responsibility for your actions, your words, and the way you dealt with others? Or, not so much? Now, the cynics among us might be thinking, “I won’t be around, so why should I care?” But, that’s where you would be wrong. Your “history” is written—by YOU—every day, and that history becomes your brand, your brand as an executive, a colleague, a parent, a leader of a youth sports team, or whatever it is you do. And, that brand you create will have a very direct impact on your quality of life and your life experience—whether or not you are promoted, respected, or chosen to be the one who is laid-off, or not associated with. So, in the everyday world of us regular human beings, greatness is defined as our acceptance of the responsibility to be the best we can be at what we do. As you read this, are you feeling proud of how this applies to you, or are you feeling a need to reflect and perhaps modify your behavior in some way? The choice is yours and today is as good a time as ever to begin writing the personal history you want to be yours. Which will it be—greatness, or forgettable mediocrity?
Good luck on your journey!