If you do want to be a leader, you have to train. You have to work hard at it. It’s not just something that you can just try to do without work.
Have you ever run a marathon? It’s not something that you can just go out and try. You have to put in a lot of time and effort to train for marathons. Becoming a leader is the same thing. You have to train hard. There is a difference between reading leadership books and training. Reading books is education, not training. Let me ask you this: Do you want your kids to go through sex education or sex training? In order to truly understand and be able to do something, you have to train for it. Most companies have ‘training programs’, but they are really just education programs. Until you actually go out and practice building relationships and inspiring people, you’re not really training to be a leader.
One of my favorite stories is about Picasso. He was pretty famous later in his life. People knew who Picasso was before he died. He didn’t just die and then become famous. Picasso had a drinking problem and he spent a lot of time in bars. Usually before he left he’d doodle something and give it to the bartender for his fee because the bartender knew the drawing would be wroth more than the bill. He was leaving one of these bars and a lady stopped him and said, “Oh, Picasso, Picasso, I’m such a huge fan of your work! Can you please draw me something?” She handed him a pad and a pen, so he spent thirty seconds drawing something.
He ripped the drawing out, handed the pad and pen back, held the paper out to her, and said, “That’ll be one million dollars.”
She said, “Picasso, that took you thirty seconds.”
He replied, “No, ma’am, it took me thirty years to learn to do that in thirty seconds.” That’s the way that leadership works. It takes a lot of work for you to get to the point where you can actually lead someone. You can’t just go out one day and lead. You have to train for it.
While you’re training to become a good leader, you need to understand that it’s a process, not a project. We are all creative in the strictest definition of the word. We create for a living. We create solutions to problems. Our projects have a start and an end. Leadership doesn’t work that way. There is no end; the end is a mirage. You’re only going to get better the further along you go in the journey. Don’t get frustrated; just understand that leadership is a process without an end.