Leadership that Actually Inspires Change

Cody McLain


Here's a false statement that I've often heard from other entrepreneurs — especially young ones, like myself; "Being a leader means that you're the one who runs things. It means...

Here’s a false statement that I’ve often heard from other entrepreneurs — especially young ones, like myself;

Being a leader means that you’re the one who runs things. It means that you created something great in the past and now you have supreme authority. Now, everyone has to follow you!

That is a myth.

You can be a leader without having the money, without having anyone’s approval — heck, without even being given the authority.

In order to be a proper leader, you have to lead yourself. You have to develop a leader’s mindset.

Make Others More Successful than You

After building and selling many companies over the years, here’s what I absolutely know about leadership. The most important thing is caring about other people’s success more than your own. You have to surround yourself with people who are capable of becoming, and indeed do become ultimately better than you. You take people to the promised land, and then you go back for the others.

When the people around you achieve more than you, your life will also be enriched, because you can now tap into their knowledge.

Excellent leadership begins today, so right now in this moment, figure out how you can help the people around you have a successful day.

Always Agree with your Teams’ Suggestions

And if they have a truly terrible idea, say “yes, and…” then elaborate on what is good about their idea, before you add your own suggestion as to what can be done to make it even better.

When people have ideas about what could make things better, you have to respect those ideas as though they were your own. The reason why this is the best type of constructive criticism is that your team will become comfortable with thinking outside of the box. They will know and trust that there’s no idea too good, or too bad for you, their leader.

There’s Always Something To Be Grateful For

I was fortunate enough to catch James Altucher’s podcast where he interviewed LinkedIn, Multimillion-Dollar Webinar Expert, and former athlete, Lewis Howes. Howes said something that I had, until that moment, never thought of before. He said that his outgoing voicemail says, “Before you leave a message, please tell me one thing that you’re grateful for.”

That’s powerful.

Every day has its ups and downs, but a leader’s goal should be to ensure that their team can call them every day with something to be grateful for.

Thrive when there is Uncertainty

I’ll be honest and say, there are certain pains in life that I really don’t want to feel. As a CEO, I might feel pain if the “numbers” go down. I used to actually feel some pain when people questioned my authority simply based on my net-worth. I don’t feel that pain anymore, but I used to.

As you can imagine, there are many things that we do in order to mask pain. We wear trendy clothes because they prevent people from making fun of our looks. We avoid going to certain places so that we don’t run into people who’ve caused us pain and might do it again. Some CEOs might hide numbers because they don’t want their investors to fire them.

All of these masks cripple you. They make you fear pain and change. When you unmask yourself, while you might feel less secure (less protected), a revolutionary thing also happens… You become free to see yourself, not as others would, but as you really are.

A great leader is always prepared for change — it’s life’s greatest constant. This leader also realizes that pain is truly just an opportunity to live in a world that’s more interconnected and abundant in ideas.

Understanding that Good Health is More Than Diet and Exercise

A leader who is always feeling ill and getting sick is not a good leader. A leader who constantly spends time with people that do not help them improve is not a good leader. A leader who doesn’t practice gratitude especially for all the good things in their life can never lead their team into an abundant future, this leader won’t know how to recognize an opportunity.

You can’t cheat your way to health. You can crash diet for weight loss, but there’s no such thing as microwave health. All you can do, to live a healthy abundant life is to practice and pay attention to progress.

I started bullet journaling because I wanted to track my habits and consciously practice gratitude as well as coming up with 10 unique ideas, every day.

When your focus is on progress, then that progress compounds every single day until you finally end up with a mass of abundance. That’s when people will know that they’re in the midst of a true leader.

Being Passionate About Whatever You’re Doing

Warren Buffet says that he would do the work that he does for free. He skips to work because he loves what he does so much! Everyone would probably love their businesses more if they gave them $50 billion, though, right?

But here’s something interesting…

I read that even in the ’50s, when he was still broke and average, with his business based in his living room, Warren Buffet still loved what he did. He was passionate about finding companies that nobody else knew about and were extremely undervalued. He then bought those companies.

Being focused on money and money alone is the reason why a lot of today’s entrepreneurs lose. You shouldn’t do things for money and money alone. Money is actually a side-effect of a little thing called persistence. And the only way that you can really persist is when you’re passionate about something.

Do this:

Find out what you’re passionate about and then persist. And then enjoy the side-effects; money is a good one.

Knowing How To Lead Yourself

Here’s the thing. Leadership doesn’t start externally. Before leading anyone else, you need to learn to lead yourself.

I started out as a solopreneur and thankfully realized right in the nick of time that before leading anyone, I needed to lead myself. I constantly have to read. I have to improve my week by at least one percent a week. I have to get better at the things that I am passionate about and I have to gain a better understanding of the more painful experiences that I have had, in order to avoid repeating them. No regrets, though.

Today is a new day.

Leadership in today’s economic climate doesn’t mean that you are an overlord over hundreds, if not thousands of employees. Things are changing and that’s a great thing. The key is to inspire others to do the same as you, not by telling them, but by living this daily practice of getting better and better.

For leaders to inspire change in others, that change must completely be voluntary.