Become a Beacon in Leadership

“Hey,” I called out to my mentor as he walked a few paces ahead in the hallway, “you wanna hear the latest?”

He didn’t even stop. He always stops.

Except this time…

He glanced down while he continued his pace and replied, “Nope.”

My mentor walked away. He didn’t even slow down. I stood speechless, gaping at the corner he just rounded.

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It’s tough being mentored.

If you want to be made into a leader, commit yourself to a mentor who has the backbone to:

  1. Tell you the brutal truth.
  2. Not afraid to turn the heat up on you.
  3. Is interested in forging you into something more than you are.

Notice the common thread in all three above?

Think, crucible. Think, fire. Think, hammer. And you…are the raw, cold, hard steel…that’s going to be pounded on and shoved into a hot furnace.

Being forged into a leader is one of the toughest processes I know.

That is, if you care to be molded.

If not…cool…just don’t pretend to be a leader if all you want is a pay increase for a managerial spot. The two are NOT one.

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My mentor was, and still is, a tremendous leader. I have several mentors. I hope I’m a fraction of what they had hoped to create.

He’s commanded SWAT teams, police departments, sheriff’s offices, and has been at the point end of the needle with Internal Affairs. I think I picked a good mentor to learn from.

And…all the men and women that I know that are absolutely impeccable leaders, do NOT gossip! Period!

So…when he left me in the hallway as he walked off to do something or another, all I could do was hang my head…totally rejected, totally ashamed of myself, and totally caught…gossiping.

The very thing I hated, that which I did.

There are some valuable things I’ve learned over the years about leadership. Three in particular that stand out after constant study of what makes leaders who they are…

  1. They do not gossip.
  2. They treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  3. They always seem to be upbeat. Why? Probably because they don’t give themselves to the negativity that gossip breeds.

When the chips are down and you have no answers for work, or life, or you can’t make sense of anything…they always seem to be a beacon in the night, a lighthouse in the storm.

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Here’s an interesting definition:

A Lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses, and to serve as a navigational aid…Lighthouses mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs, and safe entries to harbors…A beacon is an intentionally conspicuous device designed to attract attention…

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Let’s see if we can put all this together.

A leader provides light, hope, and inspiration.

Leaders operate when it’s dark out: not just when there’s clear skies and warm weather…please think about that.

Bad attitude, grumpiness, crabbiness, and…gossip, are all unbecoming of true leadership.

Please understand a very profound truth about titles, rank, or position. It only brings out the very thing that you already are—Good or Bad.

Power has a way of squeezing out the real you.

You can no longer hide gossip, cynicism, or disdain for others.

On the other hand, you will shine brightly if you treat others with dignity, respect, and do not gossip.

You do not need a title to lead anyone. Begin leading yourself.

Now—right now, start living that way. Where you’re at. Whatever level in life you find yourself in.

Look, if you walk into work, or family situation, with a genuine smile on your face, and say, “Hello,” to everyone you see, you WILL have just set the pace for that room.

This is called being the light. A beacon. A lighthouse that other ships can navigate life by.

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We wrestle with life. We have NO idea how to fix it. We can get ourselves into such ridiculous messes at times that it’s totally mind boggling.

Rank, titles, and positions are things doled out to us by someone else, which can easily be taken away. Yes, that includes being self-employed.

However, being a leader is something you can do right now, where you are. No one can take that away from you.

Provide hope with a friendly smile, and a warm greeting. You know what will happen?

People will come to you. They will be drawn to you. Like a moth to the flames.

I was blown away when this first began to work in my own life. A boss walked into my office and closed the door. That’s usually not a good sign.

What was I to do?

Simple, I did what I always do, no matter what my title said about who I was supposed to be—I smiled and said, “Hi.”

He sat down and began to pour his heart out to me. He needed some hope and light.

I didn’t tell him anything he didn’t already know. He trusted me with his heart that day, and many times after…just like many others.

They know that their trust won’t be delivered to the chopping block of gossip.

You will be amazed how you will be transformed by doing these simple things above. You will be equally amazed at who is out there that seems all put together, who will come to you looking for a confidant because you are a lighthouse, a beacon in the storm.

Life’s an ugly business. It has a vicious way with us at times. We need lighthouses to help us navigate a life that has taken some dark, stormy turns.

Deal with everyone with dignity and respect—with a smile—and NEVER gossip.

Be the light.

We need you.


Photo by William Bout on Unsplash

Posted by Christian Martin Jr.