I am in the process of re-reading the book Leaders of Destiny by Dr. Keith Johnson. Dr. Keith’s material is a key part of my coaching program, particularly in both helping organizations move to the next level, as well as helping individuals build their self-confidence so that they are actively pursuing their dreams (after all, he is America’s #1 Confidence Coach!).  In this book, he starts off talking about the difference between leaders of history and leaders of destiny:

“Leaders of history are past-focused. They make these types of statements: “Where have we been?….What we are doing is working. I’m so busy. I don’t have time to think about or plan for the future.”  Do you find yourself making some of these statements on a regular basis?” 

“Leaders of destiny spend more time thinking about the future and less time thinking about the past. The one thing we can do about the past is learn from it, but the lessons are valuable only if they are applied to the future.”

This distinction is so vital for a leader to make – are you past-focused or future-focused? There is a well known saying that anything that isn’t growing, is dying. If your life has not changed to the positive in the past year, six months, three months, then you need to consider whether you are in a state of stagnation. If your business has not grown, if you can look at your statistics and your people and there is little increase or improvement from twelve months ago, or even six months ago, by the time you calculation in the rate of inflation, you will see that you are in fact losing ground.  It won’t be long before “I’m too busy” becomes “Where is everybody?”

It was with a heavy heart that I read of the passing of Nelson Mandela. Regardless of whether you agreed with him or not, he was a leader of destiny. He spent much of his life looking to a future that did not exist, believing that it would eventually. Even in prison, he did not give up on this vision, and his drive and determination to see apartheid end resulted in one of the most transformational events in history. Nelson Mandela recognized the power of destiny and the entire world benefited from it.

Are you a leader of destiny? Ultimately, the choice is up to you.

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