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Inspiration to Lead
on February 16, 2009
When I was about 50 pages into reading Tribes, I was finding it quite repetitive and, frankly, was wondering what all the hype was about. It seemed like Seth Godin was simply saying the same thing over and over using different words each time. About halfway through the book, I changed my perception about it and began to take a different view.
My initial perception was that Tribes was a book about leadership. If you're looking for a book that teaches you how to lead, you would likely be disappointed in Tribes. My new view is that Tribes is meant to inspire people to lead, rather than teach them to lead. There's a big difference.
Did you have a class in school where the teacher simply presented the material in the textbook, you read it, took a quiz and that was it. If you were good at rote memorization, you probably got a good grade in that class. But were you inspired to learn more about that subject? I'll confess, my only motivation in a class like that was to get a good grade and move on to something more interesting. But then there were the teachers who led the class into interesting discussions and motivated you to want to learn more. That's leadership; that's connecting with your tribe.
Most of us can learn anything if we work hard enough at it. The big question is: are we motivated to learn it? We can do almost anything; the real question is are we passionate enough- do we care enough about it- to do something about it,to be a leader for that cause?
I see Tribes as an inspirational book, not as a "how-to-lead" book. Tribes is a "pep talk" to help us find that leader within each of us. You don't have to be the president or the CEO to lead. And perhaps your area of leadership doesn't even involve your work. Perhaps your inner-leader is what motivates you to be a boy scout leader, or a Sunday school teacher. Maybe there is a cause you feel so strongly about (AIDS, breast cancer, heart disease, disadvantaged children, whatever) that you feel compelled to step into a leadership role. Many times I've heard people lament the hardships and injustices in the world, and they act as if they're powerless to do anything about them. But the truth is, no one is powerless. We all have a voice. Seth Godin's Tribes reminds us that there is a leader living inside each of us. It is up to us to live up to the calling of leadership and to realize that we can lead the change we would like to see in our own corner of the world.