Home > Articles > Business & Management > Personal Development

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Leaders Give What Is Needed, Not What Is Expected

Often, leaders do not recognize their potential for leadership, especially when they are young, Remen said. They may have a portfolio of passions that don't neatly fit together. "Their experience is an experience of difference—that they don't belong, that somehow or other they're a square peg in a round hole or they don't fit in, and this can be very painful and lonely. Occasionally, a medical student will tell me that they don't fit in, that they feel so out of place in today's medicine that they are considering dropping out. I encourage them to stop trying to fit in because the medicine that they will fit into has not happened yet. It is part of the future. They will never find the medicine that fits for them, they will have to build it. And when they build it for themselves they will build it for all the rest of us, too.

"Many of the world's great leaders were considered neither great, nor even leaders in their day. Passion is what enables leaders to hold to their integrity despite social pressures," said Remen. "Real leaders were born to do what they are doing. They may have not known that when they were young, but there is an inner guidance system that makes them perfect for their time and the unmet needs of their culture.

"Leaders are people who don't compromise their values to gain approval, who live up to their own inner sense of things. And for this reason, leadership is often different than success. Success is culturally defined. When you give the culture what it expects, the culture will reward that. But, a leader is someone who gives the culture what it needs, not what it expects," Remen contended. "A real leader heals the wounds of their culture," she said.

"Many of the world's leaders, in their own time, were not respected, were not seen as successful people, and in retrospect, they served us all." Builders like Remen, Gates, and Bono have been relentless at sticking with what has mattered to them in their lives, and they've always found it particularly appetizing if the issue they're pursuing had something to do with messing with conventional wisdom about how things have been done for millennia.

That kind of conviction magnetizes support in amazing ways. The world's second richest person, Warren Buffett, handed over his fortune to the world's richest couple to get something done that he had hoped his late wife would do had she survived: make a difference with their billions and make a statement doing it. For Buffett, being an investor "is so much fun that I'll never retire," but he also insists that his legacy serve social causes rather than make his kids crazy. He is convinced that Melinda and Bill Gates will get the job done. Is it any surprise that Bill Gates and Bono have grown in their effectiveness as social activists when their personal portfolios of passions include Melinda Gates and Ali Stewart? These women are steadfast philanthropists rather than self-absorbed royalty and, in critically important ways, have shown their spouses the path. For many Builders, their portfolio of passions launched them like juggernauts on historic missions that are a far cry from their beginnings—missions to get things done in parts of the world where things haven't gotten better for generations. For Builders, there is not just one thing to do with their life. Every passion counts.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account