Imagine someone who wants to be a great leader. In the normal course of events, such a man or woman would start off by, let’s say, studying leadership, perhaps in school, in books, or as an apprentice. Eventually, he or she would collect all the things that great leaders hav, degrees, credentials, diplomas, great track records, and great biographies. Then, at that point, we say, “Well, Mr. or Ms. X is a great leader!” Later, we send our children to the same schools so that they can become great leaders too.
Except, most of the children who go to those schools never do become great leaders. And we explain that failure on the basis of genes, environment, intelligence, opportunity, and the like. It never occurs to us that our template for becoming a great leader, or, more accurately, for becoming a great anything, is backwards. Never do we consider that what makes a great leader is NOT the school, books, or education, but simply BEING a great leader.
Now, I know that statement looks absurd at first, but it’s a very interesting possibility. If you discipline yourself to look for what’s present, for what is occurring in the moment, then you can ask yourself, “When someone is being a great leader, what is present?” What’s present (and all that is present, really) is being a great leader. What produces greatness, at the moment when greatness shows up, is being great, period. All the credentials follow from that, not the reverse.