This weekend, along with an estimated half million other people from various backgrounds, I will make another trip to Indianapolis, Indiana. Why? Because I am drawn there to see the 100th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500.
Sometime along this year’s trek to “go racing” I will think about all those times my father took me to the local dirt track to watch the races. Each Saturday night my father would raise me up onto his shoulders as the race neared the end. Why? Our seats weren’t very close to the track, so he improved my vantage point and I could see the finish.
During those days, my dad boosted me up onto his shoulders to improve my vantage point. Later, throughout my career and my life, I have been boosted up onto the shoulders of many leaders. My vantage point was immensely improved each of those times as well.
We all have ridden on the shoulders of great leaders that came before us. Sure, we worked hard. Sure, we had to do something with our skills and talents and overcome challenges. And sometimes, it probably felt like we were doing this all alone. But somebody boosted us up. I am not talking about the government; I am talking about real people. You might be thinking of that person right now—somebody who influenced you. Maybe it was a teacher, a boss or a parent. Somebody that was important in your life and important to your leadership boosted you up.
What did we Get?
What did they give you while you were riding high up on their shoulders? Probably a lot of things: knowledge, lessons and experience. Maybe they gave you just enough to get through your next leadership or parenting challenge. Maybe they just gave you a chance. We have all seen or experienced something like that.
But I bet those leaders gave you much more than just a chance. Do you know what they gave you? Have you figured it out? What was it for you?
The people who boosted me up gave me those platitudes, a leadership style and a real challenge to improve my own vantage point. That's what they gave me.
We ride on the shoulders of those people that came before us: leaders, teachers, parents and professionals. But for many of us, those shoulder rides at the dirt track races ended long ago. Now, others are riding on our shoulders! How’s their vantage point? Are we improving it? What are you giving those who are riding on your shoulders?
Someone—maybe even many people—are riding on your shoulders right now. What an enormous responsibility you have.
Our leadership is not measured by how many likes or followers we have, but instead, by how many leaders we create.