The Cost of Leadership: Your Very Own Life

One of the greatest secrets about the creation is every created thing has been born with its potential already contain within itself. For example, the bird is born with the flight in its wings— with a matter of time and right training, the bird can fly freely and naturally. In a seed already contains a tree and with the right vision, one can see a whole forest. Human beings, too, have been already born with their potential inside themselves and leadership is a seed that is planted by the hand of our Creator in our hearts.

Working with one of the inmates at the Jail, Adrian B, we came up with a design that had a massage of “ In every pond there is a king”. Being made in God’s image and likeness, every human being is born with leadership potential. There is a process of turning from a follower into a leader as it is inherited in the game of chest and the greatest key of moving from a follower to a leader is the price we are willing to pay.

There is a story about a man who wanted to be a disciple of a well known sage in Ancient Greece. When he approached the sage and asked him to be his disciple, the sage replied, “ Meet me by the sea tomorrow at 4am in the morning”. The man was puzzled but obeyed the word of the sage and got to the beach by 4am. There stood the sage by the sea and invited the young man to come forward. When he came, the sage grabbed his head and put it under water. The young man tried to save himself and as he was about to be drown in the water, the sage brought him out of water and let him breath for couple of seconds and then put his head down under the water two more times. When the man's head came out of water for the very last time, the sage said, “ When you want to be my disciple as bad as you want to breath, then you will be one”.

To be a leader, we need to have a strong desire. Leadership is a way of life; once you decide to be a leader, it is something you can never take a time off and will come with a great personal responsibility. It is easy to be a follower, but it costs your entire life to be a leader. Every leader was once a follower so it is necessary to go through a phase of learning, self-discover and discipline.

There are three important differences between a leader and a follower:

1- Followers look for other’s approval; leaders make decisions based on moral values: Many times we come to a place where we have to choose between what is known as popular in society or what sounds moral. The need for other's approval is a lack of maturity and sign we are still battling with our own identity and originality. Leadership on the other hand is a matter of self-discovery. When we find who we are at our core, we stay committed to set of principles and moral values. Therefor, seeking other's approvals and living based on their opinion is a way of failing in life and not living our originality.

2- Followers seek popularity; Leaders live out a purpose: Even though we need to be respectful toward other's opinion, we can't reveal our uniqueness if we want to blend in with others. Every leader was once a follower. On the other hand, leaders don't look for followers but they seek out a purpose to live. A difference between a follower and a leader's mindset is one goes with the flow, the other creates it.Through their continues effort of living for a purpose greater than themselves, followers are attracted to a true leader. Most of the time leaders are not popular but they are influential in their field; they have the power to change things in social, global settings and are good examples to follow.

3- Followers go after things; leaders affect hearts of men: The focus of a true leader is the heart of people, while followers seek out things for their own security and benefit. Our mindset continuously shapes our attitudes and produces results in our lives. There is a famous saying that goes, “ Go after the people's heart before going for their hand”. Before we genuinely ask for other's help, we need to touch their hearts. We often project the same thinking toward our relationship with God; continuously seeking Him for things rather than wanting His presence in our life . After God delivered Israelites from Egypt and slavery, Moses's intention went from God's miracles to His heart and Moses's relationship with God changed dramatically after his request, “ The Moses said, “ Then show me your glorious presence”. ( Exodus 33:18) We become leaders when change our mentality from receiving into giving!

What really differentiates a follower and a leader is in one’s attitude and thinking. We need to die to the identity of a follower, in order to raise as a leader. Our identity which shapes our thinking is like our master— it rules our life and shapes our attitude. As it mentioned by Christ, “ No man can serve two masters” so is not possible to think like a follower and live like a leader and vice versa. What is the cost to be a leader? For one like Nelson Mandela, it costed 37 years of his life behind bars; for Martin Luther King, it costed his own life and for Christ, it was the brutality of the cross. The question, therefor, is not “ Can I be a leader?” But “ Am I willing to pay the price?”

Copyrighted by Parsa Peykar

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