In his classic poem “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost talks about how the road he was walking on while in the woods separated into two roads leading in different directions. He had to decide which of the two he would take. By taking the one less traveled, his life was changed.
Frost’s point was that taking the same path as everyone else might only get you average or mediocre results. To be unique, to contribute something new, you need to take a different course—your own.
People who lead are willing to do the hard work of finding out what their unique gifts and contributions are, then doing the even harder work of designing their lives around them.
Without question, it’s far easier to take the beaten path and enjoy the security of conformity. Many people hold back from acting like leaders because they don’t want to be the nail that sticks out and gets hammered in. So they give in and become one of the crowd.
When you act as a leader, you choose to exercise control over your life and help to influence and inspire those around you. Letting external situations, circumstances, and culture control you is the opposite of that.
To act as a leader, you must constantly ask yourself: Who’s in charge of my life? Who’s in charge of me?
You may not have the title of CEO at work, but you’re the CEO of your life.