Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Back in 2003 I did something that inspired me.
I created my “Leaders Compass“.
You see, it was one of the few classes that I actually was interested in (my college days had one focus – sports – school didn’t matter at the time).
This was the one of the classes I actually showed up on time for and did my homework.
Lee Ellis, the current Athletic Director, was my professor. And the leadership principles we talked about made me want to learn more…
More about great leaders and what it really takes to be a leader.
In this class one of the assignments was to create our own “Leaders Compass“.
It’s a simple document you create that helps you mold your thoughts into who you really are as a leader.
The premise is to write down who you are, what you believe and what you value.
I sent a copy of my Leaders Compass to my sister Heidi a few years ago. I realized I had somehow lost it so I was glad she still had it and emailed it back to me.
Below is the exact copy of the Leaders Compass I wrote in 2003:
How to Become a Great Leader
Who I am, What I believe, What I value by Lewis Howes
• I am a self-governing individual who values a higher sense of right in order to make decisions in life.
• I am an individual who values honest, passionate, and unconditional friendship, always wanting to improve the friendships I have, and gain trust and respect from the people I do not know
• I understand that I am created from a more powerful source than man, and therefore I strive towards exemplifying a spiritual basis and awareness with every waking moment.
• I am constantly growing, learning, discovering, and becoming more developed as an individual daily.
• Every day I succeed. There is no failure. My seeming failures are actually moments in time that help to expand my thought, enabling me to become more aware of my surroundings, which leads me to success.
• I am constantly changing; adapting to the demands of everyday life. Each moment my body is different than the moment before, so is my thought. This is true because it is always a different moment in time; therefore everything has already changed from the previous moment.
• I am a loving, warm hearted, giving, selfless, hard working, passionate, competitive, unique individual, and at the same time a part of the one spiritual connection throughout all thinking and thought.
• I do not hide the fact that I have many faults, and in no way shape or form am I perfect. I have definitely lived a life of greed, selfishness, hatred, anger, disrespect, betrayal, lust, and dishonesty. These things I am not proud of, but at the same time I appreciate, embrace, and value them as much as anything else. For without these mistakes and faults, I would not be able to understand how amazing the life of a higher standard or value is. For I would be in the middle, never feeling anything, no pain, and no love, just a mediocre feeling of nothingness. I would much rather be aware and have experienced what hurts my friends, the society, and myself over never knowing, and being mediocre.
• I believe that every individual has an endless amount of potential. All they need is someone or something to help direct their path towards finding their greatness.
• I value God, Family, Friends, Teachers, Coaches, Education, Honesty, Unconditional Love, Respect, Accountability, Hard Work, Dreaming in the seeming unattainable and attaining it, the inspiration I receive from successful Dreamers, and the small moments in life that create warmth in our hearts.
My Leadership Goals
• Be Willing To Grow
• Work Harder and Smarter than anyone else
• Always be Grateful
• Always be Selfless
• Never be Satisfied
• Love Everyone and Everything
• Live right Now
• Give my Best at all Times
• Think on Spirit, not on Matter
• Believe in God, not in Man
• Always look inward and upward, not outward
• Believe in the power of an idea
• Trust and know that all is well
• Never give up on in
• Live the Dream
“Always strive to lengthen your stride. If you stride so that you are comfortable, you will never improve. You must stretch yourself. The secret to accomplishing much is to reach beyond your grasp! If your reach exceeds your grasp, you will enter a daily fight of self-discipline and self-denial. Start every day with the intention, determination and commitment to do what others are unwilling to do.”
There are three truths in life, “the truth we think, the truth we want, and the truth that is.” We will always be able to believe that the truth we think and want exists, but this will never occur without unceasing persistence, proper direction, a genuine love for self- others- and life, honesty, moral courage, and a passion for what you are doing. When this transpires, the first two truths will no longer exist, because what you think and want will be what is.
“Not all progress is change, not all change is progress, but you can’t have progress without change.” –Stuart Jenkins
Follow your heart; be passionate about what you do and why you do it. If you can’t be passionate by leading yourself, you will never be able to lead others. And you are only a leader if you have someone following you.
Think on principles, and use leadership to better mankind. Be in service for others. Stay focused, and reaffirm your meaning and purpose daily to reaffirm this vision.
Always stand for something. If you aren’t standing for something good, you will probably give into something bad.
Becoming a Leader
It’s fun for me to read what I wrote over eight years ago.
I thought maybe my ideas would have changed by now, but almost everything I wrote is still true today.
I also love how I put “Live the Dream” as one of my goals seeing as I still say “I’m Living the Dream” almost every day
How to Lead In Business and Life
After reading Cameron Herold’s book on how to double your revenues and profits in three years or less as a company, I realized that creating my Leaders Compass was a similar exercise to the one in his book which is the “Painted Picture” (go download his first chapter for free here which shows you how to craft your own Painted Picture).
If you want to be a leader in business, then that is an exercise you will want to implement yourself.
Some of us want to increase our business, some want to be a good parent, and others start a movement.
It isn’t easy to become a leader, but we all have to ability to lead, no matter what or who we want to lead.
There is a way to lead in any instance, but first you need to know who you are, what you believe and what you value before you can lead others on any path.
How to Create Your Leaders Compass
Take a blank piece of paper or Google doc and fill in the blanks to this:
- Who You Are – This can be bullet points of all the things you believe you are as a person.
- What You Believe – Again more bullets with what you believe in in life, business, relationships, etc.
- What You Value- List more of the things you value.
Then write up a list of your leadership goals (this can be a set of bullets- see my example above).
After that, insert 5-10 of your favorite messages, quotes, or thoughts from others that represent you and how you want to lead.
Once you complet your personal Leaders Compass you should print it out and turn to it from time to time, or better yet post it on your blog or your site for everyone to see (I find by publicly announcing something, you stay true to it more often).
Once you create your own Leaders Compass you will start to visualize more clearly the things you want now and where you want to be in the future.
In my opinion, it was one of the best things I did during college as it gave me a clearer idea of how I wanted to live my life and lead accordingly.
At least $80,000 for four years worth of tuition didn’t go to complete waste. Right?
I’d love to read your personal Leaders Compass.
Feel free to take my challenge and create your own- then post a link to it in the comments section below. If you’d like to double your profits and revenues in business then also take on Cameron Herold’s “Painted Picture” exercise as this will lead your path into achieving that specific goal.