Leadership

How to Become a Leader by Creating Your Leaders Compass

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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).

Leadership.

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

Leaders Compass

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.

My 5 Core Values:

1. Love Myself, Everyone and Everything.

2. Be in Service to Support Others and the World.

3. Always give my best and Strive for Greatness in Everything I do.

4. Live in Abundance

5. Create a Win/Win with Everything.

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:

  1. Who You Are – This can be bullet points of all the things you believe you are as a person.
  2. What You Believe – Again more bullets with what you believe in in life, business, relationships, etc.
  3. 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.

Thats it!

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.

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30 comments
Richard Old
Richard Old

mate - this is awesome stuff and a very generous share - very inspiring - cheers

Kaylee Hosaluk
Kaylee Hosaluk

Your "Leaders Compass" was extremely inspiring to read! Hard to believe it came from a sports oriented college student :o

SitetoGreatness
SitetoGreatness

This is a sound strategy and builds off many great theories in leadership that exist. You seem to be a wise man. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us.

MichaelFishman
MichaelFishman

Lewis, that is just spectacular. In creating your self-assessment, you had amazing access to your deepest emotions and highest aspirations, and a naturally well-developed muscle for non-judgement. And yes, you remain all those things today. Super-honored to be your friend!

NathLussier
NathLussier

This is awesome Lewis, I think it's like peeking into someone's mind and how they work. I love it. :) I've done Cameron's Double Double "Painted Picture" and it changed how I see myself and my business. I highly recommend it.

iwearyourshirt
iwearyourshirt

I'm absolutely terrible at doing this like this, but it may help to start. Very inspiring post as always Lewis!

Travisnow
Travisnow

@LewisHowes well stated. In my experience, one thing leaders do is inspire other to lead. Kudos to you for inspiring action in your readers.

As I read your post and challenge, I feel a bit guilty. I wrote a "personal mission statement" back in 2000. It is in a journal which is in a box...somewhere. One of the ideas included there was "if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time." Business objectives aside, one opportunity before me is raising boys... Having a target, and aiming them toward it, so when they (as arrows) "launch" into the world they will (hopefully) be headed in the right direction.

Who do you credit as "aiming" you in your formidable years?

-Travis

PS: I need to find that journal! :-)

5Minaday
5Minaday

Very inspiring post! I think that challenge fits right in with the theme of my site (5 minutes a day).

Thanks for sharing!

Craig

MARLdblE
MARLdblE

Hey Lewis,

I think this is one of the most compelling, personal and inspiring posts I've ever read on your site. A lot of what you shared here resonated with me. I too have a "leaders compass," but I call it a personal mission statement. Based the content of mine, however, I can see that they are similar documents.

When I read: " 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."

I wanted to stand up and clap. I actually cheered a little on the inside. So much of who I am is built around those very things.

Really cool read. :)

Valerie7277
Valerie7277

Loved this part: "Follow your heart; be passionate about what you do and why you do it. If you can't be passionate about leading yourself, you will never be able to lead others."

I just printed this out for my Inspiration Board in my office - thank you for the inspiration today! :)

DavidSpinks
DavidSpinks

Love it. Especially this piece:

“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.”

Interesting idea to lay all this stuff out. I think we all understand these things about ourselves deep down, but to write it out, like many other things, helps you wrap your brain around it.

Thanks for the inspiration. Going to share this around.

AlexShalman
AlexShalman

Magic. Over the few years that I've known you, you have been totally living this document. You're a great friend, an awesome leader, and one thing is for sure; you're living the dream. :)

CarrieWilkerson
CarrieWilkerson

great thoughts...always interesting to take a peek back into our younger selves and say 'hey, I wrote that!' and cheers for awesome sisters that take care of our brothers ;)

seanmalarkey
seanmalarkey

Good post Lewis. You should rename this the $80,000 compass!

philgerb
philgerb

Awesome challenge Lewis! Definitely something to work on this week. Thanks for the framework of something so simple yet so powerful. Back soon with my compass!

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@NathLussier Thanks Nathalie. although in your case it sounds like your business has grown 10x in the last year.. let alone doubled :)

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@Travisnow Thanks Travis. Would love to see your personal mission statement if you find that journal also!

The people who "aimed" me in the recent years would be my mentor Stuart Jenkins, my parents and siblings.... my track coach Ann Pierson and a few other industry friends of mine.

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@MARLdblE thanks so much :) Glad we have these mutual thoughts... your compass would look pretty similar to mine then huh? :)

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@Valerie7277 Thanks Valerie... I appreciate you printing if off as well... but would love to see you write your own Leaders Compass and print that one off also :)

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@DavidSpinks Thanks David... I know you are a great leader with the projects you are always involved in. I'd love to see your Leaders Compass as well if you create it. Let me know when you do :)

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