Are You a Leader of Destiny or a Leader of History?

Leaders of destiny are future focused. They look through the front windshield as they drive forward on the journey to making their dreams come true. Leaders of destiny ask questions such as,

“Where are we going?
When are we going to get there?
What are we doing?
Why are we doing it?
Are we getting results?
What are we going to do when we get there?”

Do you find yourself asking these types of questions on a regular basis? If so, this article alleviates your concern that you are “crazy” just because you despise mediocrity and the status quo.

Leaders of history are past focused. They make these types of statements:

“Where have we been?
Why change, we have always done it this way.
What we are doing is working. I’m so busy,
I don’t have time think about or plan for the future.
Remember how it used to be?”

Do you find yourself making some of these same statements on a regular basis? If so, you need to transition from a leader of the past to a leader of destiny.

Leaders of destiny spend more time thinking about the future and less time thinking about the past. The one thing we can do about the past is learn from it, but the lessons are valuable only if they are applied to the future.

Leaders of destiny forecast trends, envision scenarios, initiate positive changes, and help create the desired future. Great leaders only tolerate the present, but live in the future. After Walt Disney’s death and then the completion of Disney World, someone said, “Isn’t it too bad Walt Disney didn’t live to see this!” Mike Vance, creative director of Disney Studios replied, “He did see it—that’s why it’s here.”

Vance understood how Disney envisioned the future. It was Walt Disney himself who said, “The future is not the result of choices among alternative paths offered in the present—it is a place that is created first in the mind and will; created next in activity.”

What has driven you to this place of success at this point and time in your life? Destiny or History?

I spent most of my adult life being a leader of history. Why? Let me explain: I grew up very poor. My step-father worked in construction. There were years when he went without any work and money for months at a time. We lived in an average-sized home way out in the country. However, I lived only a few miles from some of the most influential and financially prosperous communities in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Because of our location, I went to school with the “rich kids” who lived in the biggest homes, drove the nicest cars, and wore designer clothes from expensive stores. Eventually most of the “rich kids” became my friend, and I would go over to their big and beautiful homes to play and study.

My best friend’s dad was a well-known doctor in our city. Every time I visited, I was amazed at the size of his home. The refrigerator was always full of food and the cupboards full of snacks. And he had so many toys! I remember saying to myself, “I don’t want to be like my parents when I grow up! I want to be rich like this doctor.” Consequently, I have been driven to succeed most of my life.

Doesn’t this sound like the making of a great success story? Well, not so fast. I was actually being “driven” by my past and not allowing destiny to give me “drive.” I have now realized that I was driven by the fear of ever being a failure or poor again. Fear was pushing me, not destiny leading me with confidence into the future.

Leaders of history are driven by the past. The fear of failure and poverty “push” them to achieve levels of success. When a leader is being pushed by fear, he or she could be tempted to do unethical things to succeed. Leaders of history tend to live unfulfilled lives of regret. When a leader is driven by the past, this can become a very unhealthy situation.

Leaders of destiny get their drive from the “pull” of the future—fulfilling their life purpose and destiny. Their life purpose is fueled by dream energy. Leaders of destiny have evolved.

They have experienced the transformational shift in their minds from wanting success to having a passion for significance by leaving a legacy. Leaders of destiny enjoy a life of fulfillment as they journey forward into their future.

When a leader is driven by destiny, that leader is emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy.

Your personal or organizational history will become a snapshot of your future unless you embrace change in your present.

The next sea change is upon us. We must recognize this change as an
opportunity to take our offerings to the next level…

—Bill Gates, Co-founder and chairman, Microsoft

The Curse of Sameness

Leaders of history are content where they are and contentment breeds containment. Sameness is the ball and chain that keeps a leader locked up in limitations. Staying the same can become a curse.

The Native American Indians understood this quite well. If they did not like someone, they would curse the person by saying, “May you stay in the same place.” When they said this, they were obviously thinking about more than geography.

They were wishing a stagnant personal journey, a family that would not grow, a future that was less than prosperous. They were wishing that the person would remain in the same condition, without moving, without growing, and without changing. Remaining stagnate produces mediocrity, regret, and an unfulfilled life.

Leaders of destiny continually strive to stay ahead of the game.

Leaders in the 21st century must evolve or die.

We cannot assume that just because something works today, will continue to work tomorrow.

While the concepts of growth and change have been studied for years, in actuality both are occurring at a much faster rate than ever.

The Leaders of Destiny book and our companion Destiny Arrow consulting program empowers you to stay ahead of the game, to maximize your leadership effectiveness, and evolve from a leader of history to a leader of destiny.

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