This morning I got up to brush my teeth and my two year old daughter followed me into the bathroom. She really tries to do everything I do. I got my toothbrush and started brushing. Without even telling her a word she said “I wanna brush daddy”.
I smiled at her, put on her Dora toothpaste and she began to brush her teeth. She walked over to her mother and said “I’m brushing my teeth!” with a giant smile on her face.
It hit me as she returned to the bathroom that if I had not brushed my teeth- my daughter would have never been motivated to do it on her own. I lead by example, so she followed.
Its the same thing with friends or co-workers. If the President of the company stays late, even the janitor will be inspired to stay late. If the President cuts out early and is quick to leave random things to be done by others, so will the janitor.
My wife and I used to coach soccer. Every year we had a great team. But our first year, I made it a point to do the warm-ups with the kids. Every drill, every lap, every push-up, every crunch every shot- I did first. I never asked them to do something I myself could not do.
A lot of other coaches would sit on the sidelines with their fat belly hanging over their sweats demanding perfection they themselves could not deliver. It showed when game time arrived.
When I share a move in jiu-jitsu, I only show moves I know I can do. If I show a move that does not work for me I tell the student “Some people do this move all the time. For me it has never worked. It may work for you so I want you to see it, and try it.”
When I shoot hoops with my son we do drills together. He sees me get winded and scrape my knee trying to dunk. Now he has no illusions about what hard work means, or gets you.
You can’t just talk about leading, be in the front of the pack!
In chess its the same thing. I don’t tell people to do stuff from positions I’m not familiar with or simply not good at. Don’t be afraid to say what you don’t know. It’s actually a hallmark of leadership- not a weakness. If my son asks me something I don’t know we look it up online together. I feel like when we learn together, we get closer.
I tell people to live healthy, but man, I love sugar. I always try to eat good. Yet sometimes I slip up, and go heavy on the cookies. Slipping is human. But more than anything, work to be the most consistent person you can be when it comes to strengthening your mind, your body and your spirit. If you don’t lead from the front, nobody else will.
If the troops do not see the General brush his teeth, they may all end up with rotten mouths.