Our country has a great need for leaders today. It is time to step up, speak up, and lead up. This is the best way that we can cultivate great leaders. Speakers are leaders. And Leaders are speakers.
Using the word LEAD in this article, I will show you the four elements to becoming a powerful leader.
L is for Leader
Leaders stand up for a cause. Leaders make a wrong, right. They get other people to see their vision and to follow them. Candy Lightner understood this: making a wrong a right.
Candy was a single mom and real estate professional just trying to support her family. One day after shopping she saw her ex-husband on the porch with her mom and dad. Her ex-husband approached her car and said, “Honey we lost Cari.” Candy replied, “Well let’s find her.” Her ex-husband replied, “No honey, she’s gone. She got hit by a drunk driver.”
Candy learned that her 13-year-old daughter Cari was walking to a church festival with her girlfriend. A drunk driver hit Cari so hard that she flew 125 feet – her organs weren’t even fit for donation. The driver fled the scene. He went home and told his wife “Not to look at the car” as he was wiping off the blood from the bumper. He passed out drunk and his wife then turned him in. The driver had been arrested four times prior for drunk driving and served at most only 48 hours in jail. After killing Candy’s daughter, he was sentenced to only two years in prison, and then his license was given back to him 18 months after his release. And he hit another girl shortly after. That made Candy mad.
She got together with her girlfriends and together created the organization MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Candy started speaking to PTA meetings, school assemblies, neighborhood watch parties, churches, and anywhere moms and dads gathered. It wasn’t long until she had created over 100 MADD chapters nationwide. And soon thereafter she stood in front of the President of the United States creating the Commission on Drunk Driving which led to laws that raised the drinking age to 21 in most states nationwide and lowered the legal alcohol limit. It has been said that because of those two laws and bringing heightened awareness to drunk driving that Candy has saved over 500,000 lives. That’s a leader, leading a cause and making a wrong right.
This kind of magic and transformation happens when a leader gets people to follow them. This takes us to the next element in LEAD.
E is for Elevate
Leaders are able to elevate the personal feeling of each individual listener or participant they speak to. They elevate the situation they are facing and let them see and hear it. They elevate the people they are speaking to in such a way that they feel better about themselves than before by signing up and joining their cause. Leaders who elevate their audience, make them feel empowered that they can do something.
A is for Authenticity
If you want to be a great leader, then you need to be authentic. Leaders don’t just say “I’m being authentic here.” Rather, you need to be nakedly authentic. In other words, you need to be real. Your audience needs to see your core values, honesty, integrity, and tenacity for the cause. That’s who people want to follow. Strong leaders. Be who you really are all the time.
D is for Dedication
Be dedicated to your cause no matter what it takes. That includes sleepless nights, tireless meetings, speaking engagements, travel, endless meetings, etc. That’s what Candy was doing. Day in and day out she was going to make the wrong, right, and change things. She wanted to make her daughter’s death mean something. She wasn’t going to let her daughter’s death be in vain. Candy is still around and still speaks. They even made a movie about her.
There are so many causes to get involved with. There are causes like human trafficking, animal abuse, elder abuse, bullying, men and women in transition, domestic violence, drug abuse, wild animal abuse, antiracism, etc. Do some quick searches, and you’ll find a cause that is in alignment for you. Nothing will change unless you stand up, speaker, and lead up.
If you are reading this, think about a cause you can lead or support. Because either way you need to speak to create change.
Learn How to Speak and Create Change
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