Nothing by far has taught me more about leadership than training others to become Professional Guides of Alaska. There are some who will go on to become licensed guides but so few will ever grasp what it truly means to become a Professional Guide. It is an issue of learning to lead.
It is not the simple learning that allows one to ride out with clients and packhorses all in a line, heading into the wilderness for a period of time. It is not the learning of regulations and laws or becoming familiar with the land and animals that roam freely on it. It isn’t the woodcrafts or the horsemanship that are especially difficult.
It is the issue of learning to lead.
The reason this becomes the line so few cross is that it requires more from each of us. More than strength or studying and retaining information it requires things that are for so many are almost mystical and indistinct. It requires a deep knowing and understanding of one’s true self. It requires one accepting what is not strong, what is not good, right or wise. It is an understanding of these weaknesses and making a commitment to your self to improve on these things. It requires also, facing them, bringing them out into the light, sharing them with others and working hard to use them as stepping-stones for and towards a better you.
This is called maturity.
Maturity is by definition, having or showing the mental and emotional qualities of an adult; complete in natural growth or development.
But how do we do this immeasurable thing? Age and time alone mean nothing in the accounting of maturity.
A few years ago a new connection I made through LinkedIn referred to a poem I had not yet ever heard of, so I found it and read it so that I would understand what this person was speaking about. It was amazing … and incredibly insightful.
IF written by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
learning to lead
Begin any type of leadership course or instruction, any research or class you may take and they will all at some point in the starting segment that leadership ultimately starts with and begins from within each of us.
Recently I was asked what I believed which one characteristic was the most valuable and that I believe every leader should posses.
learning to lead
Each characteristic that we (us students of leadership) hold so high in importance to become a good and strong leader are all kind of funny pieces… as if they are but a small piece, individually, of a large puzzle that which is us. Avid listener, attentive listener… but without vision or the words to share it ~ what kind of leader are you? Thus with most if not all of the familiar characteristics, without another- or a various combination of others, what use are they alone? So a leader needs to have all of them? or just some?
All equally important pieces of what creates a good leader, but really, not enough if taken only one or two at a time.
I had no clue how to choose only one.. but ya know what? I have. I would think that Active and continuous Learning would be the absolute most important characteristic. We (as I have proven!! lol) can LEARN or improve upon anything we set our minds to!