Making Your Dream Worthwhile

Last week, we talked about leadership (Message #173). I said that of all the qualities good leaders possess, none is more important than the ability to make the work seem worthwhile.I’’ve been thinking about this since then, and I’’m certain it’s true. All great leaders have this quality. I mentioned Napoleon. But it’’s equally true of Martin Luther King, Gandhi, even Ralph Nader.Political leaders get enormously smart and gifted people to work like dogs for them –often without pay. The same can be said for leaders of social causes.

When ordinary citizens work tirelessly to respond to a crisis or natural disaster, they do so not for any of the normal reasons employees work, but because they feel they are engaged in a worthwhile process.

Think about religion. All those apostles you see at airports. Why do they submit themselves to that indignity? It’’s not for the money. And what about those nutty people who set themselves on fire when Halley’s Comet passed by? (Or did they drink hemlock?) Talk about devotion! Talk about leadership!

To be a great leader you have to make people believe in your projects. And if you can make people believe, they will do more than they will ever do for money or in reaction to your pressure.

Do this today:

a. Think about why you are in business (besides acquiring wealth – which is sensible, but not inspirational). What good does your product/service do? How does it help your customers? Distill it all down to a phrase, if possible. (ETR’s purpose, for example, is to help you become independent and successful.)

b. Ratchet that phrase up a notch by making it more ambitious. (ETR is the best self-help program in the world, because it provides proven advice in daily, digestible doses.)

c. Communicate that idea to your key people. Do it now, by memo, and every time you can in the future.

d. Prove your commitment to the idea by spending time and money on it.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]