What You Need vs. What You Want

September 22, 2023

"A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be." —Rosalynn Carter

Leadership, at its core, is about guiding a group of individuals toward a common destination. Many leaders can meet their followers' desires and goals, helping them reach the places they already want to go. But what sets a great leader apart is their ability to envision and lead others toward uncharted territories, even when those paths are unfamiliar or challenging. This quote reminds me of the fable of the Golden Goose: Once upon a time, in a quaint village, there lived a poor farmer named Jack. One day, while tilling his fields, he found a goose with feathers of pure gold. To his astonishment, every time he plucked a feather from the goose, it turned into solid gold. Word of Jack's magical goose spread quickly through the village. Soon, his neighbors and friends approached him, expressing their desire to share in his newfound wealth. Jack, being a kind and generous soul, agreed to share the wealth but with one condition—they had to work alongside him on the farm. At first, the villagers were enthusiastic about their potential riches and willingly joined Jack in tending the golden goose. However, as time passed, they grew impatient. They wanted instant wealth without the toil and sweat that farming demanded. They began to complain and question the value of their efforts. Despite their reluctance, Jack persisted in his work, leading by example and encouraging the villagers to continue. He saw the potential for prosperity in their collective efforts, even if they couldn't see it themselves. One day, as the villagers tended to the fields, they discovered something remarkable. The hard work and cooperation they had invested in farming had transformed the entire village. The land had become fertile, crops flourished, and everyone enjoyed abundance beyond their wildest dreams. The golden goose had led them to a place they hadn't initially wanted to go—the path of hard work and persistence—but it was where they ought to be for lasting prosperity. So, what are some lessons that we can learn from this quote? Visionary Leadership: Great leaders possess the vision to see opportunities beyond the known and comfortable. Challenge Comfort Zones: Leadership often involves pushing individuals and teams beyond their comfort zones to facilitate growth and development. Inspiration and Conviction: A great leader inspires and convinces others to follow them on journeys they might not have chosen on their own. Recognizing Potential: Great leaders recognize the untapped potential in their teams and guide them toward realizing it.

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