“The Leader Who Had No Title” is a story of a young man who is struggling to find meaning with his work and life as he tries to integrate into society after being in the army. Have you ever felt like that? You are not sure what your purpose is and the more you try to figure it out, you feel a bit overwhelmed and not sure of yourself and where to next? Before reading the book I certainly thought something is fundamentally wrong with me, why am I constantly feeling dissatisfied with life. I need to be doing so much more, I am destined for big things and yet, I have no idea what this “more” is. When I try to explain it to people they look at me funny and make me question my sanity and deep down I know I should be doing so much more.
Sharma says “Turbulent Times Breed Great Leaders.” Discomfort in our lives and business transforms us when the uneasiness of life comes and goes who we become and how our business grows is dependent on the choices we make during this time. This book certainly changed my life. We all know that change is inevitable like death and taxes but how change affects us is an individual choice. We need to take ownership of our lives and stop playing the victim card. In January 2009 Paul Polman took on the role of CEO of Unilever at a time when there was a sharp decline in economic activity. During an interview with McKinsey’s, there discussed the so-called used phrase then Don’t let a recession go to waste and what were his expectations for Unilever going forward during these time. He replied “obviously, you have to peel the onion and get very close to the consumer. And you see many opportunities for anybody that understands change and can actually lead that change, can turn it into a competitive advantage.”
We need to acknowledge that the journey is never easy, but we need to peel away layers to get to the soft spot. When you get to the core, great opportunities await. But sadly many of us stop along the way, the tears feel as though there are unbearable, the challenges keep on coming one after the other chipping away our self-esteem and the layers seem insurmountable and our self-preservation takes a knock and it becomes easier to give up and accept the fate that has been dealt rather than to actually go against the tide. How many times have you given up on a dream because it seems impossible or because nobody sees the vision as quite as you do? How many times have you taken the easy road and made shady decisions in business because it’s cheaper or you rationalize the consumer will never really know the difference? Turbulent times in life and business open up the doorway for transformation but how positive or negative it is, is dependent on us. Know thyself.
There is far more suspense to the Dance of the Seven Veils than there is to a towel following.” The Seven Veils of the Onion By John D. Casnig
As you peel the onion of life and business you will grow to understand yourself, consumers, market and competitors at a deeper level. Stop building superficial business relationships for they do not strengthen brand loyalty. Stop investing in empty relationships for when the dark times come you surely be left standing alone. Rather invest your time building and strengthening relationships with your target audience so that you do not spread yourself too thin. You need to realize not everyone is going to be your fan but for those who are, be engaged with them, walk the journey with them, they will make your life purpose worthwhile for they will appreciate and understand your “why”. Most importantly invest time in self-education as Robin S. Sharma says “You cannot lead others until you have first learned to leader yourself” and remember “Education is the beginning of transformation.”
A leader without a title understands their true purpose and calling. “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street-sweeper who did his job well.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. Every single one of us is destined for greatness. Every business idea has an opportunity to be successful but what matters the most is not the glamor and the grandness of the opportunity but the effort in the execution and the consistency in the delivery. Never deny yourself the opportunity to live a fulfilled life and have a successful business. To quote Shakespeare “To be or not to be, that is the question’ ~ that only you can answer. We certainly cannot change the circumstances of life but we certainly do control how we react to them. Be authentic and true to yourself.
“The Leader Who Had No Title” is more than JUST a Leadership book, it has certainly been an influence in my life and has transformed the way I approach challenges in business. If you have read the book, what was your reading experience? If you haven’t I encourage you to do so and I would love to hear your feedback. “The Leader Who Had No Title” Robin Sharma