There is so much to explore in our world and many people try to find something deep and meaningful in their life. Leadership expert and author Alan Willett explains what exceptional leaders have to do with finding this meaning and passion in life and what you can learn from them.
“Would you like to go running with me,” I said to my then 11-year-old son. It was a cold, blustery day with snow lightly falling. I wanted the company. “How far?” he asked. When I answered that I just wanted to run a short loop of about a kilometer, he looked disappointed. Then he completely surprised me, “How about we run to town?” When I explained that was over 5 kilometers away, he grinned ear to ear, “Yes, I know.”
And off we went on an adventure. We had a joyful time, with my son sometimes skipping or sprinting ahead and often laughing. During the run, we brainstormed several other adventures he would do with me.
On a similar, broader note, when they announced the “Mars One Project,” they asked for applicants to take a trip to Mars from which they are never expected to return. Very quickly, over 40,000 people applied. As you may know, Shackleton’s adventure to hike across Antarctica failed. Instead, his boats hit disaster.
He led his entire group to eventual safety after living for over 400 days in the harshest environment on the planet. What you may not know is that years later, Shackleton led another adventure to Antarctica. Many of the same men volunteered to go back.
People seek something much deeper and more meaningful than just working or existing. There is an urgency in most people to find meaning, passion, and purpose in what they do.
Exceptional leadership is not just about leading
It is about tapping into the passion buried deep inside people to do something more than exist, to earn more than a paycheck. Exceptional leaders articulate a mission that is intended to be outrageous in value and effort.
These missions will challenge every person to their limits. When joining exceptional leaders on extraordinary missions, there is only one guarantee: the journey will change you, and your life will be enriched by it. My son is now in his late teens. I am teaching him to drive. When I gave him some choices, he created his own choice. He picked driving 12 hours of scenic (in other words, challenging) roads to visit a friend.
I was delighted by his delight in tackling the difficult. We enjoyed the adventure.