Leave a comment

Jeremy Cowart’s Purpose Hotel: One Man’s Dream to Help You Help the World

jeremy cowart wearing hat long sleeves and jeans

Courtesy Celebrity Photographer Jeremy Cowart

Where was your most recent hotel stay? Did you choose it because of location, its luxurious reputation, or did you choose it because it had a greater purpose? Celebrity Photographer, Jeremy Cowart wants to help you help the world.  His life impacting pursuits became more widely known through his “Voices of Reconciliation Project” where he documented the lives of those effected by the Rwandan Genocide along with filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson.   Another of Cowart’s humanitarian projects centered on the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.  So what’s next?

For most of us inspiration for new projects comes and goes, according to Cowart, “We all have new ideas and thoughts to try but most never do. The first few projects may be awful, but you just keep going and learn along the way,” he explains.  He calls this process “stumbling forward” and maintains that stumbling forward is awkward but way more fun than standing still in fear.”   While some projects may seem larger and more ominous than others, Jeremy Cowart refuses to let fear deny him his pursuit of passion. The same passion that has been forming over the last four years resulting in his biggest dream yet—the same dream that includes the rest of us—the Purpose Hotel.

Cowart says he only recently had what he describes as the “profound realization that his passion comes from the intersection of helping others and his own creativity”, and that if he’s just creating he asks “What’s the point? And suggests that creating alone feels vain or self-serving.  “But if I can serve people and create at the same time, then I’ve found my niche.”  Cowart believes that The Purpose Hotel holds endless possibility to do both of those, serving as the intersection of all his interests which include art, travel, photography, technology, non-profits, design, marketing and more.

So what is the purpose behind Purpose Hotel?  Cowart’s vision is for the Purpose Hotel to grow into a global hotel chain in which every aspect of the hotel benefits a cause or nonprofit, bettering the lives of those in need, and he’s dreaming big. Each room will sponsor a child’s education, internet fees will fight human trafficking, each lobby will hold a Charity Water well, and from the furniture and blankets to the soap and shampoos, everything will have purpose.  Jeremy maintains that it’s an “inward versus outward” mentality.

“Every other hotel has an inward mentality,” he explains.  “They say, ‘Stay with us. We’re the best, the coolest, the cheapest, or the most luxurious.’  They’re all about themselves” but with Purpose Hotel, our message is “Stay with us because everything you touch, see, and experience is impacting people, non-profits, and causes all over the world.”  He follows that up with another important note, “Oh, and we’re also cool, relaxing, and creative, but it’s about others first.”

As if the concept of the Purpose Hotel is not challenging enough, Jeremy has chosen for the first one to be located in

Jeremy cowart taking photos kneeling by laptop

Courtesy Celebrity Photographer Jeremy Cowart

Nashville,TN where he lives with his wife raising their four children, and where he bases his photography business. He readily admits the hotel competition in Nashville will be fierce but believes his hotel’s purpose will make the difference.  “It’s overwhelming to say the least, but I just have to remember that we are so night and day different from everyone else.”

The most immediate challenge for the Purpose Hotel is getting buy-in so everyone has a shot at being involved in this dream.  Cowart kicked off a Kickstarter Campaign this week.  His main goal is to build and establish the hotel through the internet.  “Could you imagine that? The story of thousands of people building a hotel is far more interesting than a few investors.  We’re going that route (Kickstarter campaign) first, but we already have investors who are interested in getting involved. In the end, it doesn’t matter though.  We just want to see the dream become a reality.

Time will only tell if there’s a market for the Purpose Hotel but Jeremy Cowart holds out a lot of hope and belief in people and especially in millennials and the younger generation.

“It’s the future. If brands aren’t giving back in some kind of way, then young people just aren’t going to care about that brand. That’s where things are headed. We’re giving back in endless ways, so I think the market is strong.”

Cowart says while his parents are his greatest influence, his inspiration also comes from many people he admires who’ve helped shape his approach to life, service and humanitarianism.  People like Jason Russell and his work with “Invisible Children”, Scott Harrison and his “Charity: Water” and others like Don Miller, Jon Acuff, Kyle Chowning, Michael Hyatt, and Shannon Sedgwick Davis. “The list is long” he says.

The inspiration for the name of the Purpose Hotel was his own.  “It hit me in that light bulb moment four years ago, and it sums it up just right. The word “purpose” means “the reason something exists”.  The word “hospitality” means “to treat guests well.”

So the reason we exist is to treat each other well right? To love one another. I can’t think of a better name.”

Jeremy Cowart’s greatest dream is for Purpose Hotels to crop up all over the world, “helping and serving people all over the world, while educating people of all ages of needs around the world. All done in a beautiful, fun, creative, and refreshing way.”

Jeremy stops short of referring to himself as a “social entrepreneur” or an “entrepreneur.” What everyone else calls “entrepreneurism,” he calls chasing ideas, passion, and purpose and he emphasizes that it’s not only meaningful and fulfilling but also “really fun.”

Flying over the New York City skyline recently, put it all into perspective for him. “I looked at the sea of thousands and thousands of buildings, and I thought, “They all had to start somewhere, with someone. So why can’t I be one of those stories? What if that one building could truly have an impact around the world?”

*This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post. 

Check out Jeremy’s  “See University.” 

Read more about the Purpose Hotel Kickstarter Campaign

Learn more about Jeremy Cowart.

Read about Jeremy’s Voices of Reconciliation Project

 

To learn more about social entrepreneurship or social innovation check out the following resources:

Henry Buhl Library

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Read the latest World Economic Forum Report on Social Innovation


Dr. Chester Goad is a university administrator, a former K12 principal and teacher, and a former US Congressional staffer. He’s also an author and blogger, and has presented from Appalachia to Africa on topics related to education, disabilities, non-profit advocacy, parenting, access, policy, and leadership. He has a heart for people and for people who help people. In addition to the Huffington Post, Chester is a contributing writer for The Good Men Project and has been quoted in major media outlets like CNBC, Washington Post, Forbes and more. He’s also the author of Purple People Leader.

Leave a comment

Celebrate the Great Ideas: 5 Leadership Questions for Independence Day!

bald eagle flies with wings spread

Photo courtesy Malcolm McCutcheon, Anacortes, WA , July 4, 2016

There is no better day to talk about leadership than Independence Day!  Most of us who write or speak or create things, have an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong independent streak and desire to become fully independent and able to do what we love forever and full-time.  As a writer, I’ve always been drawn to the notion of freedoms—and being able to create, and do things with a level of independence.

No one was better at taking a great idea and making it extraordinary than our nation’s founders. They were true leaders who sacrificed, and dedicated their minds, souls, and lives for the very idea of this great nation. I’m thankful they were committed and determined to protect and preserve their great idea (America) with their collective wisdom resulting in our freedom, and liberty.

In honor of Independence Day and in honor of the Founders and Framers of our freedoms, here are five questions for leaders to consider:

What’s your big idea? Not all leaders are creators, or entrepreneurs, but effective leaders surround themselves chalk board reads whats your big ideawith innovators. And most leaders have big ideas about how to more efficiently and more effectively lead.  Consider your ideas, and the ideas of your team.  Are they big ideas? Could they be bigger? Are you encouraging new ideas? You should be!

What does your commitment look like in practice? Leaders are listeners, and they’re willing to change course when a good idea becomes a bad one. They’re also willing to fight for a good idea when they believe it has the potential to be great.

How determined are you to see to it that great ideas are put in motion and practice? Leaders are willing to go to the mat to ensure that good ideas (theirs or those of their team) become tangible products or practices. Nothing is more frustrating than having to watch good ideas languish, and effective leaders won’t allow that to happen.

Who’s responsible? Who’s responsible for protecting the big ideas, or the products or practices developed from those big ideas? Leaders that’s who.  If you believe in an idea, product or practice, by virtue and honor of being the leader you’re responsible for protecting and maintaining it.

Is your big idea growing or spreading?  Wise leaders find ways to improve even the greatest of ideas. And who could argue that great ideas should not be expanded or shared?

I hope you’re turning your good ideas into great ones and that ultimately your great ideas will make a difference in

the american flag and grinder house coffee sign

The  American Flag waves in the breeze outside my favorite coffee shop, GrinderHouse Coffee.

our world, just like our Founding Father’s did. Happy Independence Day!

All my best, all the time,

Chester


Who is Chester? An expert in leadership, Chester is also a leading influencer in social reputation, education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture. Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.comHe and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son.

Leave a comment

I’m Not Slacking! What Others See as Slacking Is Often Pursuit of Purpose

A large tree grows with logos of various social media platforms serving as leavesAny person who bears the title of online or digital creator, writer, blogger, entrepreneur, speaker, business owner, publicist, promoter, branding expert, social entrepreneur, or is otherwise called a creative or leader can relate.  Family or friends see you glued to your smart device or laptop half-jokingly refer to your inability to separate. Lighthearted quips, pleas to unplug, innocent but guilt-laden mentions of doing other things, or offers for alternatives to how you’re spending your time ensue.

At times it’s enough to make committed creators or entrepreneurs blow their stacks or scream, “I’m not slacking! I’m blogging, tweeting, posting, pinning, and pasting with passion in order to grow my purpose!”

But here’s something to think about: Our friends, family, and coworkers have not attended all the seminars and workshops we’ve attended.  They haven’t personally developed a website, written a blog, or joined a mastermind group.  At least in most cases, they may not even know what any of that is. While it is easy to become guilt-ridden by not meeting expectations of others (Check out my recent article on Guilt here). It’s possible to get past the guilt, and to lessen the harmful effects of those light jabs, snide comments, and glares of consternation. Here are three easy points to remember that will help us do that:

1. TEACH. Take every opportunity to teach the people around you.  Spending some extra time explaining what you’re doing and why will help curb the curiosity and confusion about why you’re working even when you’re not “working”.

2. INVOLVE. One of the best things we can do is involve our family or those we love in the pursuit of our purpose. an intersection sign reads passion priorities expectations and other stuff with guilt in the very center After all, if we truly feel like we’re living out our purpose that means those around us are included in that too. But to what extent?  And, are they enjoying what it means for them? Whether we admit it or not, those we love are along for the ride anyway. So we need to officially invite them to join us on the journey.

3. SHARE RESULTS. The proof is in the pudding. If you’re writing, churning out product, or speaking at events they’ll see it.  Let the evidence speak for itself. I admit, the results of what we do are not always visible or appreciated in the moment, but the more others see of what’s being accomplished in pursuit of our product the more supportive they’ll be.  Share the results even when they’re not that great. Everyone knows the life of a creator, entrepreneur or emerging speaker or artist is not glamorous and doesn’t always yield the results we were hoping for. Sharing our results with those who care about us is a win-win.

man in in ripped jeans works on computer in his lap while a dog looks lovingly for attentionThere’s a lot of work to be done, and it’s easy to feel alone.  Unfortunately, much of the work often has to be completed on our own, and that fact can keep others guessing as to what we’re up to.  Most often what we perceive as someone’s judgement is simply their curiosity. As an aside, we have to be careful not to neglect those who support us or our other responsibilities. In reality though remind yourself that most often, what others see as slacking is pursuit of purpose. We have to be mindful that if we want others to appreciate our passions and pursuits, we have to teach them, involve them, and share the results as often as we can in as many ways we can.


Who is Chester? An expert in leadership, Chester is also a leading influencer in social reputation, education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture. Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post The Good Men Project, and Edutopia.  He has a heart for helping people, and for helping others who help people. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.comHe and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son. He hopes to leave a legacy of living and fulfilling God’s purpose for his life, whatever that may be, and making a difference.  What’s your purpose?  Connect with Chester on your favorite social media and let him know.

Leave a comment

Do You Know Someone Making a Difference? Tell Me Now!

hands of different cultures reaching out in a circle Dear Readers, Friends & Family,
I’m just throwing it out there: I write & I want to help people who are doing great things for their community, their country, or their world. If you know someone who fits that, have them email me personally. You can also email me, but I’ll need comprehensive contact info and a summary of what they’re doing.
 
If their purpose fits my project, I just may interview them, write something for them and/or help promote their message. As you can imagine, I can only do a few of these so don’t be offended if you submit something and I don’t contact you. I’ll contact you if I think it’s a good basis for a story.
Disclaimer: I promise whatever you are doing to fulfill your purpose is important!  It just may not fit what I am looking for at this moment. If you don’t hear from me, don’t be discouraged. I’ll enter everyone into a spread sheet for later. Just because it’s not the right fit today, doesn’t mean it won’t be the right down the road.
 

Some posts may be full length articles, some may be shorter features, and still others may be included in a multi-highlight article. Now if youyoung homeless boy sleeping on the bridge, poverty, city, street know someone giving it all they’ve got to change their world, let me know. It needs to be someone who has put their plan into action, who is already witnessing results. Also, it can certainly be faith-based but it doesn’t have to be, as long as it’s an attempt at lasting or meaningful positive change.

 
There are so many unsung heroes. Let’s get them and their life purpose and passion out there for others to see! If you want to read some of what I’ve written just go to my website or Google my name and Huffington Post, or my name and The Good Men Project. It will bring me joy to help others fulfill their purpose. This is sincere, and free. No gimmicks.
Submissions should be sent to: ChesterGoad@gmail.com with “Change the World” in the subject line. I cannot silhouette of small child standing in the setting sunlight promise where the article or feature will be published. It may just be published to my own site, but remember I also write for multiple outlets and will pursue those as well.
I will be the person reading the submissions. The only thing I promise is that if you send me someone’s name and project ( sorry no political issues, no businesses, with the exception of social entrepreneurs)– I will pray for you and for them, and I’ll consider writing about what they’re doing. Now go! And Feel free to share! 

Who is Chester? An expert in leadership, Chester is also a leading influencer in social reputation, education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture. Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post The Good Men Project, and Edutopia.  He has a heart for helping people, and for helping others who help people. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.comHe and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son. He hopes to leave a legacy of living and fulfilling God’s purpose for his life, whatever that may be, and making a difference.  What’s your purpose? 

1 Comment

Quiet Please…: Filmmaker Jeffrey Scott Gould’s New Misophonia Documentary Is Plenty To Chew On

Jeffrey Scott Gould was only 7 years old when he discovered one of his first sound triggers.   He was taking a test and the kid sitting behind him kept sniffling.  Simple sniffles could keep Jeff from learning.  Since that time additional unbearable triggering sounds have been added to the list.  There’s chewing and crunching, and then there’s the sound of someone plodding along in flip-flops.  He recalls once asking his step-mom as a teen to leave the carrots out the salad at dinner. And then there’s the time he confronted his sister about her loud tortilla chip crunching.  The response was never good.  To Jeffrey’s dismay the list of sounds that cause him difficulty continues to grow.

The word “misophonia” can literally be translated as “hatred of sound.”  But how does one come to hate sound? Certainly we all have our own lists of things that annoy us, but misophonia is different.  Many living with it describe it as almost painful and worsening or expanding over time.  Jeff describes it as a condition that makes one “sensitive to certain sounds that cause a physiological reaction”.  In his case he experiences an adrenaline release, along with increased heart-rate, and a feeling of rage that needs to be released. He knows a response like that to everyday sound is not logical and laments it’s also not something he can control by “thinking his way out of it”.

a movie camera appears to be filming a young man sitting on a stool

(Filming Ph.D. Candidate, Michael Mannino, Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences FAU)

Gould was 53 when a friend told him about a 20/20 segment featuring misophonia.  He describes his experience watching that tv segment as “life changing.” After years of living with the condition he was elated to know that it was more than a quirk, and that there were other people just like him.  Once he realized his nemesis has a name, he also knew it was time to marry his two loves— filming documentaries and educating people about misophonia.

He remembers growing up with hopes of becoming an architect. That was until his mother gave him his grandfather’s old 8mm camera.  From there he took a high school film class under favorite teacher Jerry Hochberg who nurtured his interests, and talents and encouraged him on a path leading him to where he is today.

So where is he?  Jeffrey Scott Gould founded Action Media Production, has quite a film resume, and has produced an impressive list of documentaries, his favorite film genre.  Thanks to an effective crowd-funding campaign, generous donors (most of whom live with misophonia), old friends, and new ones, he’s about to premiere a new labor of love– a documentary about misophonia called, “Quiet Please…”  The film is certain to grab attention, and to change a few minds along the way.  Changing minds is a small component of the purpose of the film, but it’s important because misophonia as a condition is not without scoffers and detractors even among friends and family.  Jeff describes releasing the trailer and sharing it with the world as sort of a coming out.

His condition was then out there for everyone to consider or criticize.  Some people expressed shock. Others were supportive.  Some were actually sad. Then there were those who remained silent not knowing exactly what to think, but Jeff says he doesn’t push.  He wants the film to speak for itself.  Or rather, he wants the people who put themselves out there by sharing their stories in the film to speak for themselves.  After all he suggests, “When you try to force something, it’s not genuine, but once the timing is right, and the passion is there, there’s no going back.”

In the last year, Jeff has travelled the country interviewing people who live daily with misophonia, or those who research it. Those with misophonia have similar struggles defined with different circumstances effecting their relationships, work, or overall life enjoyment.

For Jeff, “Quiet Please…” is certainly a product of love and affection for filmmaking, but it’s also much more than

four people standing in front of a fence

(Jeffrey Scott Gould (left) filmed Paul and Ana Tabachneck (Center) in Bronx along with Production Assistant, Chris Insignares (right). The Tabachneks both appear in the film as does Paul’s music)

that.  “I wanted to make a difference in the only way I knew how—through film and storytelling. In this instance, I’m not some random interviewer asking a question and moving on.  I relate to what most people tell me about their stories, and that was the most amazing part.  People were talking, but my words were coming out of their mouths.  It’s incredible, and cathartic.”

Most documentaries don’t end up in mainstream theaters and Jeffrey’s ok with that.  He knows he has a built-in audience who will probably promote the film fueled from their own life experiences, but he’s not counting on that.  He knows getting the film completed and releasing it is only the beginning.

One of his goals is to reach those people still dealing with misophonia on their own—those who haven’t realized there are thousands more people like themselves dealing with this mysterious thing that actually now has a name.  But he also suggests that the film goes beyond misophonia and may have some relational appeal. After all, any successful relationship requires compromise, acceptance, understanding, compassion, and commitment, so the film is full of life lessons.

Jeff is quick to admit he hates the way misophonia takes over his mind and body causing him to react negatively to the people he loves and cares about.  He hates when “hate” wins.  There are rare times when the triggers are absent, and he can even forget he has it, but it’s always there. If he hasn’t slept or he’s already stressed, the slightest sound can push him over the edge.  That’s not what he wants.  That’s not what anyone with misophonia wants.  Hopefully the film will effectively convey that message to those who have never heard of it.

Jeffrey’s hoping for screening in a variety of venues like classrooms, universities, film festivals, and special events, and ultimately he would love to see the film screened on PBS.

There are two private screenings of “Quiet Please…” this summer before the full release. The first is Saturday June 18th in SoHo, New York City, with a follow-up private screening on July 20th in Asbury Park.

Watch the trailer here.

Visit the “Quiet Please…” website.

This post first appeared here on The Huffington Post. 


Who is Chester? An expert in leadership, Chester is also a leading influencer in social reputation, social entrepreneurism, education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture. Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the ,Huffington Post The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.com. He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son.  He believes that misophonia is real, and hopes to help others understand that. 

Leave a comment

“I Love You and I’m Proud of You”…Thanks Dad.

happy fathers dayI remember my first college course.  I had worked two jobs throughout high school and so I had decided to attend community college and continue working. For the first semester I’d attend a local branch campus not far from our house.  The satellite campus as we called it, was located in an old lumber yard.  The college had re-purposed the sales area into several classrooms and office spaces.  Dad had told me if I’d stay home the first semester before moving, he’d help me with books etc., and I could work and continue saving money.  I had always dreamed of going away to Memphis State (now University of Memphis), or Carson-Newman.  Both were still in Tennessee, but far enough away to make the separation from my parents and hometown to have a traditional college experience.

I had reluctantly taken my dad’s advice.  I’d worked throughout my high school years, but hadn’t saved enough for much of anything, and truthfully, I just wasn’t ready.  Although I was always creative, and in pursuit of dreams and adventure, I was incredibly immature.  So against my inner will, I put that dream on hold, and enrolled in community college.  Later I would learn that community college was the best thing I could have done for myself, but at the time, I really wasn’t happy.  So I was even more mortified at what happened next.

an old military photo of the authors dadI’d rearranged my work schedule so I could take Ms. Doris Chitwood’s algebra class.  I’d had Ms. Chitwood in high school and thought the familiarity would be nice.  Familiarity was important in this case because I stunk at math and always had.  On the first day of class, I purchased my books, entered the classroom with several familiar faces and took a seat against the wall.   I remember looking down and flipping through my book to avoid conversations.  This wasn’t what I had intended. I had intended going away somewhere. Even if I had to work three jobs, so be it, I wanted to go do something, and this wasn’t what I wanted.

I continued flipping through my books, keeping my face down in my text book blocking out much of what was going on until I heard this laugh.  Ms. Chitwood had said something funny, and others were laughing, but one of the laughs was a familiar guffaw.  I looked across the room to find my dad with his textbooks, cutting up with the people in my class. MY Class.  Not his class. What was he doing?  My face turned red.  Two shades of red, maybe purple, because there he was taking college courses with me. I was embarrassed and mad.

scott county branch campus

The old lumber yard has since been replaced.

I had heard my dad a mechanics teacher, talking about going back to school for some time, but never dreamed he’d be at my school or in my classes and especially not this one.  Dad had been hired based off his experience both in the military as a mechanic, and as a local dealership mechanic but lacked a college degree and often talked about checking that goal off his bucket list.  I suppose we both survived. I don’t remember much of that experience, maybe it was the trauma of taking a course with my dad, a non-traditional college student.

A few years later, I was married but still in school though I had moved on to Tennessee Tech University, and my dad old family photobeat me.  He had gone on to complete his four year degree in business at Tusculum College and finished well before me.

Fast forward a few more years, I was married with a baby boy and working as Projects Director for a US Congressman.  My wife a school teacher and I were sitting on the couch watching Everybody Loves Raymond and eating freshly delivered pizza when we got the call.  My brother-in-law was on the line with the news.  My dad had been flown by life-flight helicopter to UT hospital after an apparent severe heart attack had caused him to cross the median and leave the road, his car landing on the other side. I remember feeling sick and calling a few friends requesting prayer.

Dad died on Memorial Day, 2001.  Just day’s before his last words to me had been “I love you and I’m proud of you.” What are the chances of that? Throughout my years in education, politics, and advocacy, I’ve learned that there are many men whose lives have been haunted and hindered because they never heard those important words from their dad.  And so I realize those words were the best gift if he could have left me.

college degree hanging on wall

My Dad’s college degree still hangs in our home.

I remember my mom, who has since passed on as well, asked me if there was anything of my dad’s I wanted.  I walked over to the wall and took his college degree off the wall.  To this day it hangs in our home as a reminder of that first college class, that my dad beat me in our quest for a college education, and more importantly of those last words, “I’m proud of you, and I love you.” I try to remember if I ever returned the sentiment, and I wrack my brain—did I ever tell him? Did I ever let him know I was proud of him? And it worries me, and so I lay it down right here on Father’s Day 2016.  I love you dad, and I’m proud of you, and because of you, I tell my son the same thing every day. Thank you for that legacy.

 


 

Who is Chester? An expert in leadership, Chester is also a leading influencer in social reputation, education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture. Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.comHe and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son.  Thanks to the legacy his dad left, he tells his son he loves him every day. 

 

Leave a comment

Caution: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Calling Yourself a Leader

triangular yield or caution signs with question marksThere’s no shortage of people calling themselves leaders today.  Search Amazon and you’ll find thousands or millions of books on leadership-related topics.  Google the word, and there are tons of websites. Hashtag the term in your Twitter search box and you’ll find scores of profiles. There’s nothing wrong with being a leader or claiming the title.  We need more leaders.  I can’t think of a field where leadership is not appreciated.  Nor can I think of a time when effective leadership was needed more! Leaders aren’t always liked or loved, and effective leaders face challenges every day that could put their reputations or their businesses at risk. So if you want to be a leader, and you’re willing to put yourself out there, kudos to you it takes courage to do that.  Just know that the term “leader” shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Below are five questions everyone should ask before claiming the risky title of leader.

Am I a good listener?

Listening is just one of those skills that you can’t ignore. Speaking of ignoring, if you’re not truly listening, then people think you’re ignoring them.  The word “ignore” actually comes directly from the Latin term “ignorare” which literally means to dismiss or disregard.  And I’m sure if you further study the word ignore there’s a direct relationship to the word “ignorant”.  Leaders who choose not to listen are ignorant.  People around us need to know we’re listening.  Most of the time, they just want to be heard.  Leaders listen, and genuinely want to hear the people around them.

Am I teachable?

I’m a teacher by trade.  I love sharing knowledge or finding the message or meaning in something and passing it on to those around me.  It is certainly an unrealistic expectation for leaders to know everything.  When we think we know everything we stop discovering, and innovating.  Leaders worth following are always looking around for ways to improve and build on their base.  Those who are unteachable are quick to judge or criticize the ideas or thoughts of others.  They’re also typically the first to say, “That’ll never work.” Teachable people are willing and flexible, even when they’re uncomfortable because they know learning is the only way to growth, and that new experiences and sharpened abilities are the keys to success for them and their team. I’ve often said, that when we become truly unteachable, our career is about to meet its end.

Is anyone following me?

This is a tough one.  I don’t believe that leaders must have tons of followers but leading by its very definition implies there are at least some followers.  I also don’t necessarily believe that leaders have to be running a Fortune 500 business or organization either.  Some of the best leaders have a small team of very effective people.  I have however, noticed the trend of quick print CEOs. They simply print business cards with the CEO title on it before ever making a sale or a profit, without any evidence of leadership. I can’t help but ask– CEO of what? CEO implies an organization exists and that there are others in the organization.  Less people are willing to do the grunt work before claiming the mantle of President or CEO.  I’d rather their business card simply say, innovative, entrepreneur, or entry level jack of all trades. After all most are not only entrepreneurs, but they’re also responsible for their own web presence, social media, lead generation, paperwork, and more.

Some choose to call themselves, “Thought Leaders” too.  I respect that because it implies there’s some heavy creativity, and influence, but again, thought leadership also implies some authority and respect exists for your name within your field, and that in fact your thoughts have made the leap from your head to another venue, person, or organization.

nicely dressed man sitting in road with laptop thinkingThen there’s also this idea of self-leadership.  Those people who proclaim they are leaders because they lead themselves. I think that’s noble and we need more disciplined self-leadership especially as we are developing leaders.  The term implies a leader is taking responsibility for life and getting it all together expecting to go out and do great things. Perhaps it’s the pupae stage of being a leader, and you’re someone with leadership characteristics who may be worthy of leading, but you’re not a leader until you have followers.

Do others know my purpose?

One of the most significant compliments any leader can get is to be confronted with the notion that other people are listening to your message, and they find value in what you’re saying and that they respect you for advancing your ideas.  If you’re out there doing things, and you’re actively seeking to impact your community, your organization, or your field, people will notice.  It will be no secret what you’re up to.  When others know and understand what you’re about, and they see you acting intentionally to pursue your passion, then they’ll also know your purpose.  You won’t have to work to earn the respect of those you’re trying to serve, and you’ll become their go-to person.

Why am I calling myself a leader anyway?

This is one of the toughest but most important questions you can ask yourself.  Why? Why are you pursuing whatever you’re pursuing?  Only you know your motivation.  Titles and recognition are much less important than bringing value, change, and meaning to other people.  You can lead without a title. Many people do it. With few exceptions you’ll find that most of the successful people in your field are successful not because they were pursuing glorification, attention, or seeking flattery. They’re successful because they’re intention is to make a lasting impact in their sphere of influence and in their world.

Self-reflection is an important part of not only becoming a leader, but of remaining one.  Take some time and write down why it is you’re comfortable being called a leader, and try your best to refrain from referring to yourself that way, not because you’re not one, but because it’s much more powerful and sweeter to hear that from others in your world and to know that you’re trusted in that way.

 


Who is Chester? An expert in leadership, Chester is also a leading influencer in social reputation, education, non-profit advocacy, parenting issues, access, policy, and blogging culture. Chester has been quoted in major media outlets such as CNBC, Yahoo, the Washington Post, Forbes Leadership, and others. He is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post The Good Men Project, and Edutopia. You can learn more about Chester and his Amazon #1 Best Seller at www.purplepeopleleaderbook.com or www.chestergoad.com.

He and his wife live in Tennessee with their teenage son. His favorite contemporary leaders include:  Bob Goff, Seth Godin, Andy Stanley, Brene’ Brown, Christine Caine, Simon Sinek, John Maxwell, and emerging leader Paul Sohn.

Who are your favorite leaders? Share them with Chester, and tell him why they’re your faves on your favorites by connecting on social media. 

Subscribe to our mailing list!

Thanks for visiting! Submit your email info and Chester will send you an occasional newsletter, updates, or tips. Don’t worry, we promise not to spam you! He hates spam too.

* indicates required

%d bloggers like this: