My previous mashup episodes have been exploding. Because of this, I wanted to bring you an episode on leadership.
No matter who you are, or what you do, you will be in a leadership position at some point. Whether you are the CEO of a company, or a stay at home parent: there are people who rely on you to stand up and take charge.
This can be a very confusing situation, as sometimes you may find yourself feeling like you can’t ask for help. You also may feel like you’re losing progress and need to keep moving forward.
This collection of interviews, I felt, will give you some of the tools you need to really progress in your life.
If you take these lessons, and integrate them into your life a little at a time, you will see results.
I don’t expect you to memorize it all and I don’t expect you to make a sudden change. Integrate these lessons little by little and review them.
Now get to it, and learn how to be a successful leader, on Episode 650.
Lewis Howes: This is episode number 650, Leadership Lessons From The Masters.
Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.
John Maxwell said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
I’m super pumped! This is episode 650, guys! Six hundred and fifty episodes! We continue to grow, we continue to expand our minds to learn, to discover how we can tap into that uniqueness inside of us. And today I’m bringing you another powerful episode with some of the biggest leaders that we’ve had on.
People like Alison Levine, Simon Sinek, Nancy Duarté, and Cesar Millan, and this is powerful stuff, guys! They shared some deep lessons on leadership; on leading yourself; on leading teams; on leading the world and humanity; and I wanted to bring them all together so that you could have access, all in one place, about some powerful leadership lessons.
And if you haven’t caught the first episodes we did on Spirituality, Relationships, Wellness and Business, these episodes are taking off, as we’ve been taking some of the best insights from the last 650 episodes and putting them into specific topics from these different leaders to give you powerful insights.
So, you can go check out those as well, at lewishowes.com/650. We’ll have all the other episodes linked up in this series, because so many of you have been requesting for them and getting extreme value.
Before we dive into this powerful episode on leadership, I want to give a shout out to the Fan of the Week! This one is from Celia, who says, “When I started listening to The School of Greatness earlier this year, I was going through the hardest time in my life. There was family issues, career decisions to be made, fitness goals to be met and the winter blues.
“Lewis is really providing a School of Greatness; every time I listen, I have a happier day, I begin to see things differently and I am learning so much from the fantastic guests brought on the show every single day. So, thank you, Lewis, for giving us your wisdom and love.”
You are welcome, my friend, and you are the Fan of the Week! If you guys haven’t left a review yet, we’ve got over 3,000 plus five star reviews of this podcast. We continue to grow and reach more people, and that’s my mission for this show, is to bring the most powerful and insightful ideas and people on, to help you grow, to help you learn the tools, to become happier, healthier, wealthier, more successful, wiser individuals.
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Leadership is the key. Leadership is everything. If you don’t know how to lead your life, you will achieve your goals and dreams. If you don’t know how to lead others and empower other leaders, you will never make a bigger impact on the world. That’s what we’ve got in this episode, all about Leadership With The Masters.
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Alison Levine: I think that you’ve got to give yourselves, and your team, room to fail. As long as you come back from it better, the next time around, failure’s a pretty incredible learning experience. So, encourage people to fail. Don’t just reward success, reward people who are getting out there, taking risks and really pushing their limits, whether they succeed or not.
Lewis Howes: I mean, that’s great in theory, but what about if you’re running a business and you have an employee that’s just failing over and over again and that’s just costing you thousands of dollars? Do you continue to reward them for their creativity? Or at some point do you get to the point where you have to cut them off, or really lay the hammer down so they’re getting results for your company?
Alison Levine: I think that’s a great question, and it depends on the position that person is in, and how much risk tolerance you have at the time. So, for example, if it’s somebody in R&D that’s trying to invent something, I mean, they may fail time after time after time, until they get it right, but the progress and the product, or the service, or whatever it ends up to be through that success, may end up bringing in a heck of a lot of revenue down the road.
But if you just have someone that’s failing because they’re a crappy performer, and because they have a lousy attitude, then you should absolutely cut that person loose, because a bad attitude, I mean, that type of thing can be toxic in a work environment.
And that’s different than someone who’s taking risks and pushing themselves, and who’s willing to stumble and get beat up along the way in order to help advance the company and it’s mission and it’s goals. But if you have someone that’s failing just because they’re not trying and they have a crappy attitude, I say, get rid of them.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, I like that idea. Now, you’ve got another piece of advice, which is also contradictory. You say, “When you’re making progress on something, turn around and change direction.” So, what’s that advice all about?
Alison Levine: So, that’s an interesting one, and it’s one of the most psychologically challenging aspects of climbing a big mountain. So, we’ll just use Everest, for example, but this would be a process that you would use on almost any Himalayan peak.
So, when you go to climb Mt Everest, you don’t just climb from basecamp to camp one to camp two to camp three and on up the mountain. You’re going to spend about ten days hiking, just to get yourself to basecamp.
Once you get to basecamp, you have to spend a few days and nights there to get used to the altitude, because it’s over 17,000 feet.
Lewis Howes: Wait, ten days just to get to the basecamp, to the bottom of the mountain?
Alison Levine: Just to get to the bottom of the mountain. Exactly, exactly. I mean, ten days, you’re exhausted, you’re at an elevation of over 17,000ft, so you’re really feeling the altitude, and you’re just at basecamp.
Lewis Howes: Are you telling me you can’t take a horse up there, or a car?
Alison Levine: No. But I’ll tell you an interesting little fact about it. On the north side of Mt Everest, when you climb from the Tibet side, you can actually drive all the way to basecamp. But on the south side, you have to hike in, and that’s the route I took, is the route from the south side, from the Nepal side. So, you’re at basecamp for a few days and then you pack up your stuff, and you climb up to camp one.
And you get to camp one, and you spend the night up at camp one, and then after you spend the night at camp one, you pack up your stuff and you come back down to basecamp again. And then you spend a few nights at basecamp again. Then the next day you climb to camp one again and spend the night.
And then you climb up to camp two and you spend the night at camp two. And after you spend the night at camp two, which is even higher up on the mountain, after a night there, you pack up and you come all the way back down to basecamp again. And then you spend more time at basecamp again, then you climb up to camp one again and spend the night, climb up to camp two again, spend the night.
The next day you’ll spend about nine or ten hours fighting your way up to camp three, which is at about 24,000ft. So you spend the night at 24,000ft, and the next day you come all the way back down to basecamp. So, as you’re moving up the mountain, you have to keep switching direction and coming back to basecamp, because you have to let your body get used to the altitude very slowly.
It’s this process called acclimatisation. And if someone were to magically drop you off on the summit of Mt Everest, if you could be dropped up there by helicopter or something like that, you’d be dead in a matter of minutes, from the altitude. So you have to move up the mountain very slowly, just so your head doesn’t pop off when you get to the very top.
But the catch is that, any time you’re above 18,000ft, which is going to be any camp above that basecamp, any time you’re above 18,000ft, your body is starting to deteriorate, and you muscles are getting weaker. So, it’s this crazy catch-22.
It is so frustrating, because you want to spend time up higher to get used to the altitude, but you have to keep coming back down low so you can eat, sleep, hydrate and regain some strength. So, yes, it’s very physically challenging to be climbing up and back down and up higher, and back down again, but, psychologically, oh, incredibly frustrating as well.
Because, I mean, you know you want to be going up the mountain, because you want to get to the summit, but you’re spending so much time climbing in the backward direction down. So, it’s really easy to just think, “Oh, my gosh! I’m losing ground! I’m not making progress! This is not the direction I want to be going! This is moving away from my goal! How can I get to my goal when I’m moving in the wrong direction?”
And, for whatever reason, we always tend to think that progress has to happen in one particular direction. But that’s not the case. Sometimes you are going to have to go backwards for a bit in order to make progress. And my point in the book is, that you you should not let this backwards direction discourage you or make you feel like it’s a setback.
You look at going in a different direction from what you anticipated, when you go in that different direction, just look at it as an opportunity to regroup, regain some strength, so that when you do turn around and change direction again, you’re even stronger the next time around.
Use that time as an opportunity to strengthen your skills so you can be stronger, and don’t look at it as a setback, and don’t look at it as losing ground. Just look at it as part of the process of getting to where you want to be.
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Simon Sinek: Ultimately, the entire organisation is weaker, because of it, right? So, when we trust each other, we’re more likely to work together to protect ourselves from outside dangers, or seize opportunities.
Lewis Howes: And does this vulnerability create trust?
Simon Sinek: Correct, because when we willingly demonstrate vulnerability, what we’re demonstrating is trust. So, let’s just stick with the falling asleep analogy; that I would fall asleep, demonstrates to you, my tribe member, by colleague, that I’m putting myself in a position of great peril, vulnerability; I cannot defend myself, I will be asleep; because I know that you will look after me, right?
And the same goes for leadership. I was walking down Pennsylvania avenue with a guy from Palestine – true story – and we stopped in front of the White House. We’re standing there looking at the White House and he says to me, “The President of the United States lives there,” and I’m, like, “It’s the White House.”
He’s like, “No, no, no. The President of the United States lives right there.” What he was saying is, in democracy we trust our leaders, and, more importantly, our leaders trust us. Yes, we all know there’s tons of security around the White House, but it’s not visible, there’s no razor wire, there’s no guys walking around with sub-machine guns, there’s no signs that say if you come here after 6pm shoot to kill orders…
You could, actually, climb the fence, I mean, it’s not a very daunting fence. In other words, the leader of our country lets us come right up to his house, where he actually lives. It’s not a fake, he actually lives there. And they let us come up to the house.
If you go to a dictatorship, the people aren’t allowed within miles of the “leader’s” house, the dictator’s house. There is razor wire, there are tanks, there are guys with machine guns, and so there is no expression of vulnerability, right?
So, yes, it is absolutely essential for leaders to demonstrate vulnerability, because that vulnerability must be mutual. Not only if you fall asleep will I promise to protect you, but if I fall asleep, I trust that you will protect me. And so, this goes not only physically, but also emotionally. The leader who acts like they have all the answers – by the way, they don’t – leaves no opportunity for others to help, and so people don’t.
And it’s not because people are difficult, or don’t want to help, it’s because they’ve been given no opportunity to, because, apparently, the guy knows it all. And this is one of the biggest lessons I learned in my own life, which is, when I struggled most in my life is when I thought I had to have all the answers, because I was “in charge”, and if I didn’t, I had to pretend that I did. I had to demonstrate confidence, even if I didn’t have any.
The reality is the total opposite. It’s when you admit that you don’t know something, that other people will come to your aid. Not because you’re vulnerable and not because they want to intimidate you, but because you said you didn’t know it, and they do, and they can be like, “I know that. I can totally do that for you.” Like, “You can?”
If you pretend that you know it, it’s not that people don’t want to help, it’s that they just didn’t think you needed it. And so, the opportunity to express vulnerability is paramount to the building of trust. It doesn’t happen overnight. Like any relationship, I mean, think about boy meets girl, girl meets boy.
First you go out for a drink, and everybody sort of shows off and puts their best face on, and then it’s, as you get to know the person, the walls come down a little bit, the fears come out, the insecurities come out and the things you don’t like start to come out and in time, you start to build the relationship.
The relationship between leader and follower, and follower and leader, is exactly the same thing. It is a relationship and it takes time to nurture and look after. And it’s born out of love. Love, and I mean, I’m not being cheesy. I mean, there’s an amazing piece of footage.
So, there’s a soldier who was just recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour, which, as we know, is the highest medal in our land. He was embedded with a company of marines, and something very bad happened, the marines were overrun, and he was carrying out the wounded, to get them out of the danger.
And one of the medivac helicopters that came in to take away the wounded, sheer coincidence, one of the medics had a GoPro camera on his helmet. So there’s this footage of this soldier carrying a marine on his shoulder, lays him on the floor of the helicopter, bends down and kisses him on the forehead. And then walks away and goes back to rescue more. And it’s all caught on… You can go watch it on YouTube, right?
Now, if that’s not love, I don’t know what is, right? He bends down and kisses him on the forehead, as if to say, “I got ya, we got ya.” You know? It’s like what a parent does to their child. They kiss them to say, “It’s alright, it’s alright.” When somebody’s in the hospital, when somebody’s in pain, we touch them, we put our hand on their head, we put our hand on their leg, and we rub them and we say, “Don’t worry, you’ll be okay.”
That sense of touch, that is the greatest expression of love that there ever was. And this opportunity, this demonstration of vulnerability, this is a soldier in combat, and most people don’t realise this, but in the military, crying is just fine. It’s just fine. And the marines will call it ‘the intangibles’. But every now and then you will find a marine who will admit that the feeling they have is love.
It’s brotherly love, it’s sisterly love, it’s love for each other and it’s love for corps, it’s love for brothers and sisters and my family. I mean, that’s what it is. It’s love. It is the feeling. And I think that you have to build love, you have to earn love, you have to work towards love for the most successful, profitable – and by profitable, I don’t necessarily mean money – the greatest opportunity for success.
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Lewis Howes: Hey guys! I want to take a quick break from this episode to tell you about one of the best sources I’ve found for running your online business. And that’s why I want to thank our sponsor, weebly.com/greatness. Now, I’m always talking about having a great looking website, and that’s one thing, but a great looking website that turns into a successful online business, well, that’s beautiful, and that’s what weebly.com/greatness does.
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Now, let’s get back to this leadership conversation.
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Nancy Duarté: Storytelling is an amazing leadership tool. So, if you look at the structure of a story, it’s always about this protagonist who goes through something really difficult and is changed in the process. And, as leaders, well, that’s what we do every day, right?
We can see a more ideal future, and we are to drive – we call them travellers – we are to drive our travellers there, and it’s hard. And we’re asking them to go through hardships on behalf of the company or the organisation. And so, using speeches, stories, ceremonies and symbols is a way to create longing inside your travellers to help them want to go there with you.
And that’s the biggest barrier. Most of the time your travellers will resist, they’ll look at the sacrifice and say, “This is not worth the reward that they’re offering,” and they’ll opt out of your journey and you don’t want that.
You want the right people with you along the way, because leaders don’t get there by themselves. They don’t get there by themselves. You get there because of the people that come with you and that’s why it’s really important to use these tools and have them in your toolkit.
Lewis Howes: Who, do you think, is the most inspiring leader who is able to use all the tools necessary to bring his or her travellers on the journey?
Nancy Duarté: You know, I think it’s so funny, because there’s kind of the classic, you’ve got Dr King on the cause side, and Steve Jobs on the corporate side. I think they both used all of those, speeches, stories, ceremonies and symbols, every day along the way when they communicated.
It’s funny, because when we first were writing the book, we called the people the troops, instead of the travellers. And it’s because, “Well, they’re enlisted,” and it sounded very leader/follower. It sounded too much like, just, a troop has to do what they were enlisted to do. Enrolment is very different, because the people are self-selecting then, which is very different than being told that they have to.
So, I think, if you have a journey, if you look at Frodo, his friends, Sam, those guys chose to come along, they enrolled, they weren’t enlisted. And I think, if you’re a good leader, people will want to go where you feel they need to go. They’ll know, because you convey it in a way that’s so beautiful that it’ll create longing in them to see your future realised.
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Lewis Howes: Did you always see yourself as a natural leader, or is that a skill that you’ve developed.
Cesar Millan: I think my mom will say yes, I think my mom will say I was always breaking the rules about boundaries and limitations, and she’ll always say, “You have to master the rules, before you break the rules.” And so you have to become a great follower before you’ll become a leader. So, you hear those things when you’re little, and you say, “Okay.”
But you don’t understand why you’re breaking it, and so then you realise that you’re breaking it because you were born to lead, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s just, you were born to lead. That’s the beauty of America.
America immediately hones into that, and that kid has that skill. But we don’t have that in my mother country, we don’t have places where they can redirect that energy. So, often, what happens is, they suppress that ability.
Lewis Howes: Really? The talents and the gifts that you have?
Cesar Millan: That’s right, yeah. You have to follow, you have to follow, follow, follow, and so then it’s, “No!” you know? They’re constantly telling you what you’re doing wrong versus what you’re doing right. We are the only species that follows unstable pack leaders. Animals, it’s impossible for them to follow instability. Impossible. They don’t follow instability, because instability leads them nowhere.
Lewis Howes: So, they’ll do their own thing, or they’ll…
Cesar Millan: Or they’ll take over the relationship. So, in my case, you can clearly see how the dog is in control of their lives. Outside, we were talking to a gentleman that you introduced me, and he said, “My dog loves for me to drag him.” That’s his perception. Why would a dog like to be dragged? And then he came out with, “Oh, he’s doing sit-ups, that’s what…”
Lewis Howes: He’s strengthening his core!
Cesar Millan: It was all very intellectual, you know what I mean? It made no sense in the animal world, but in his mind it made a lot of sense.
Lewis Howes: What if somebody feels like, you know, “I feel like I’m certain, I’m confident, I’m leading, and I’m poised and graceful, but it’s still feels like I’m dragging in some sense.”?
Cesar Millan: My friend, animals don’t lie. So, you can think that you are, it doesn’t mean you are. If you come from ego, selfishness and envy, you’re not going to be very clear about how you feel. So, a lot of times people come from ego, saying, “I am confident,” but it’s ego talking for you, versus just being clear about it.
So, that’s why a dog is a perfect teacher of how you truly feel. They don’t know how to lie, only humans lie. They have no idea how to lie. They’re the most honest friend you will ever have.
Lewis Howes: So, how do we train confidence in human beings? Or, erase the ego?
Cesar Millan: Well, before you train, awareness needs to rise. Without awareness it is no possibilities, right? And then, through that awareness, the human takes responsibility. Then, once the human takes responsibility, then you enter into surrender. That’s when you can teach.
You can’t teach the mind that thinks it knows everything.
Lewis Howes: That’s a fact.
Cesar Millan: Yeah, you can’t, so, fight, flight, avoidance, surrender. You can only teach the mind that surrenders. The mind that fights, flights and avoids, you can’t. You can’t.
Lewis Howes: Wow. So, once they surrender, they’re aware.
Cesar Millan: Once you surrender, what happens is, you open up. That means you’re willing to follow.
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Lewis Howes: There you have it, my friends! Powerful Lessons From The Leadership Masters! If you enjoyed this, make sure to share it with your friends, lewishowes.com/650. We’ve got incredible people on this episode, if you want to learn more about them, go back to that link. You can learn about Alison and Simon and all the other individuals, and check out their full episodes. We will link them back on this podcast as well.
Again, if you haven’t left a review yet, we’ve got over 3,000 plus five star reviews. Go leave a review, let me know what you think, to be shouted out as the Fan of the Week.
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And also, yelp.com/podcast. That’s right, I use Yelp pretty much every single day to find the top rated restaurants, shops, salons, doctors, yoga classes, all that stuff that I like to do, I am using yelp.com/podcast all the time.
I use it a lot when I’m travelling as well, because I don’t know the area of a new city that well and I want to get healthy options, I want to get the best options, and I want to find the reviews from people that I can trust, who are leaving reviews on Yelp.
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I hope you enjoyed this one, as John Maxwell said it best, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
We are here to continue to develop ourselves as leaders of our own worlds, as leaders of our relationships, of our families, of our workspace, of our businesses, and leaders of humanity. I’m so proud of you for all the work that you do every single day, to become a better human being and to support those around you.
I’m inspired by you, for putting in the work, doing the hard things, because it’s not easy to do the work when a lot of people just want to be lazy and have things done for them. You are taking great strides in your life.
And always remember, every time you listen to one of these episodes, and apply these and execute the lessons, you’re going to see great results. I love you. Thank you, very much.
And you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!