Inspired Leadership: Stories, Quotes, & Books to Keep You Going

Inspired Leadership: Stories, Quotes, & Books to Keep You Going

I love being inspired. I love getting teary eyed, choked up, and goose-bumpy…it’s not that hard to get me there.

Since I was feeling a bit nostalgic with the New Year, I compiled a list of my own. 2 leadership stories, 8 quotes, and 7 books that either leave me feeling like I can do anything, or that it’s time to kick my butt into gear.

I hope you feel the same…

2 Stories

Leading with Compassion and Courage: Princess Diana’s superpower was her compassion. In 1987, she visited an AIDS hospital. Remember, back then AIDS was absolutely terrifying. Scientists didn’t know how it was spread and who could catch it, we just knew there was NO CURE.

Princess Diana changed the entire world’s perception of people with AIDS when without hesitation or gloves, she shook hands with the hospital staff and their patients. It was pure love, human being to human being, latex be damned. Her compassion is what everyone noticed; her simple act of love made headlines and changed minds (read the full story here).

Leading with Levelheadedness: When we have all the time in the world to assess, analyze, predict, and research, we feel pretty good about our decision making. It’s when a crisis hits that you really earn your leadership chops.

People on US Airways Flight 1549, January 15, 2009, were quite thankful for their pilot, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. He had no time to flip through the instructor manual on "How to Land a Plane After You Hit Geese", so Capt. Sully made deductions and decisions in split seconds. Miraculously, he and 154 others walked away when he landed their plane on the Hudson River on that frigid January morning. What's captivating is how much had to happen in such little time, we’re talking extreme consequences here: life or death. He was able to make hard choices with the faith in his skills to pull it off. (Read the oh-so-impressive minute by minute here)

8 Favorite Inspirational Quotes

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” - Stephen Covey
Being leaders, we have to meet people where they are. Then, and only then, can we introduce our own point of view.

“You must touch the heart to teach the mind.” - Jack Hanna
Knowing what your people care about, why they do the work you do…that’s where their motivation lies. Connect with that and you begin the steps to the first quote.

“Leap, you’ll grow your wings on the way down.” - Les Brown
For me, two things happen here. Often, we don’t know the amount of support we’ll get until we jump into the unknown, seemingly alone. Secondly, the wings take some time to develop, they are not instant, but they grow.

“No one can whistle a symphony, it takes an entire orchestra to play it.” - H.E. Luccock Well, if that doesn’t get you to appreciate everyone’s gifts and idiosyncrasies I don’t know what will.

“Those who fear failure, haven’t tasted it yet.” - Simon Sinek
A personal favorite. If there is one quote that slays fear of failure for me, this is it.

“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.” - Rosalyn Carter
Talk about having the courage to do what’s right and not what’s easy. The former first lady challenges leaders to be courageous, trust their values, and get people there.

“When I talk to managers, I get the feeling they are important. When I talk to leaders, I get the feeling I am important.” - Alexander Den Heijer
Damn. That’s just good.

“You cannot control the winds, but you can adjust the sails.” - Jim Rohn
When we try to control things we cannot, it leads to stress, frustration, and exhaustion. When we shift to this approach, we begin to master our fate. Remember, merrily and gently down the stream.

7 Awesome Leadership Books

Mindset: Carol Dweck. Still think leaders are born not made? Read this and then we’ll talk.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: Marshall Goldsmith. Another personal favorite, just the title inspires me. Doing what we’ve done to get this far is an amazing accomplishment, but to supersede this, you must challenge your tried and true.

The Coaching Habit: Michael Bungay-Stainer. A clear and simple how to book on bringing coaching into your leadership and management practice.

Your Erroneous Zones: Wayne Dyer. This book changed my life, it spoke directly to my weaknesses, and then helped me ditch them.

Quiet Leadership: David Rock. Leaders aren’t the loudest, the biggest, or boldest, they are the ones that can rally the troops. People want to be alongside you, to go into battle with you. This book shares how.

Platinum 360: LL Cool J. Yup, you read that right. LL has some serious game on how to shape your whole life: business and health. I mean, look at the guy…he’s relevant now, 2019, and it’s not just because only ladies love him.

Blink: Malcolm Gladwell. Do you believe in trusting your gut, that you have instinct? If not, this will help you develop that primal relationship with what that feels like.

I hope you are feeling inspired, now go do something with it!