We cannot pour from an empty cup. This adage is never more true when it comes to leadership. It is only when you can lead yourself that you can lead others as well. Today’s guest, American educator Stedman Graham, calls this ‘Identity Leadership’, and he joins host, Steve Farber, to share with us what this is all about. No other than the expert on this field, lecturing and training corporations and organizations all around the world, Stedman helps us understand the importance of knowing how to define yourself, your identity, and going on a quest for self-improvement and self-actualization. This way, you will be able to create your own system for success and lead others the right way. Tune into this episode to learn more about Identity Leadership and how self-love could also benefit others around you.
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Identity Leadership: How Do You Define Yourself? With Stedman Graham
This show is brought to you by the Extreme Leadership Institute. How you may wonder did I manage that? How did I get an organization with such a fine reputation to be a sponsor of this show? It’s quite simple. I am the CEO and Founder of that company, so I knew a guy. You can check us out at ExtremeLeadership.com and see what we do. We’re all about operationalizing love in business. Toward that end, I’m very excited about my guest. You may have noticed that podcast hosts often start with saying something like, “I’m very excited about my guest,” like I said. What else are they going to say? If you’re not excited about your guest, why are you having your guest on?
I know it’s a little bit redundant to say that I’m excited about my guest, but I am because my friend, Stedman Graham is joining us. Stedman and I have gotten to know each other over the last several years on a project that we’ve been working on together. I want to read you at least pieces of his bio so you get a sense of who this guy is. You’ve likely heard his name. I know it makes him squirm a little bit when I refer to him as a celebrity guy. For being purely factual about it, it’s true. He’s very well-known around the world. There’s a lot behind that story.
Let me give you some idea. Stedman has written twelve books, including two New York Times bestsellers and one Wall Street Journal bestseller. He’s a businessman. He’s an educator. He’s a speaker. He lectures and conducts training programs for corporations, for educational organizations all around the world on the topic of Identity Leadership, which is based on the philosophy that one cannot lead anyone else until you lead yourself first. He’s taught this and shared this message, not only around the US but all around the world, Netherlands, Germany, China, Canada, the UK, Bermuda, South Africa. If you thought of it, he’s likely been there.
He has a nine-step process, which is based on the principle that it doesn’t matter how the world defines you. It only matters how you define yourself. He has been a distinguished visiting professor at colleges and universities all around the country. He’s a former adjunct professor at the Northwestern Kellogg School of Business, where he taught the course, The Dynamics of Leadership. He’s got all kinds of corporate clients, including Gulf Stream, Microsoft, Deloitte, Wells Fargo, General Dynamics, all across the board.
He’s originally from Whitesboro, New Jersey. He’s been dedicated to youth. He’s been dedicated to the community. He has been dedicated to education for a long time. One of his New York Times bestsellers is called Teens Can Make It Happen. It’s become a program that’s used in lots of middle schools and high schools around the US and around the world. With that dedication to community development, he’s the Founder of the Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro, where he hails from, and The Concerned Citizens of Lake Waccamaw North Carolina. He’s also the Cofounder of the Community Alliance for Youth Success, CAYS for short, which is where Stedman and I met.
I’m on the Steering Committee of that organization that Stedman co-founded with our friend, Bobbi DePorter, which is all about helping people to understand that the success of our youth is something that we’re responsible for as community members. We’re all about helping kids to discover their purpose and through that process become more successful in their lives. Stedman was in the Army. He was a professional basketball player in the European league. He’s got a BA in Social Work. He’s got a Master’s degree in Education. He has three honorary Doctorates. He has served on several boards and received a whole bunch of awards and that rhymes. That’s a good place. I’m glad that you’re here. I’m honored and thrilled that we’re going to have a great conversation.
Steve, it’s a pleasure knowing you. You’ve been on the Steering Committee steering us to success with CAYS over the last several years. We appreciate you and everybody has so much respect for you and what you’re doing. I’m happy about your book. You sent me some pictures of your book and my book right next to each other in the bookstore, which is fantastic. I appreciate what you do. I especially appreciate the fact that you understand the value of love and how important that is in every part of your life, but how important it is in business is an understatement. It’s everything because business is about relationships. It’s about how you make other people feel. People give you business. You don’t get businesses because you build a company. You get business because people like you. They care for you. Thank you for all that you contribute to CAYS and your work and to your clients and people all around the world that you traveled to and speak to.
Now that we’re done with the mutual admiration society, I appreciate that very much. I want to dive right into the core of your work, this idea of Identity Leadership. There are a couple of parallel thoughts here. You can’t lead anybody until you lead yourself first and you shouldn’t let the world define you. You need to define yourself. It’s not about what the world says you are or who the world says you are. Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to be so passionate about this idea?
I’ve been passionate most of my life because I was looking for freedom for myself or equality. I didn’t know what that looked like. I didn’t know how to find that. I was on search for it because I grew up in the ‘60s. I grew up where I always felt like I couldn’t make it because of the color of my skin. I bought into that program. I was a part of the caste system. I’m defined by race. I have two mentally retarded brothers I grew up with. I had to take care of special needs brothers. I had low self-esteem. I had my lack of confidence in myself about that family situation. I live in this town called Whitesboro, which you introduced, which I appreciate very much because it’s dear to my heart.
They always used to say nothing ever good comes out of Whitesboro. We had a lot of good that came out of Whitesboro. You’re in an all-black town surrounded by white county, founded by George H. White, who was a former congressman or Reconstruction and also a family member. A town like that, and you’re surrounded by white county and all you hear is nothing ever good comes out of Whitesboro, you look in to try to prove yourself. All my life, I was trying to prove myself that I was as good as anybody else. Luckily, I had basketball as a way to do that. Basketball helped me define my existence based on something that I could do well. That was my way out. It was the foundation to raise my self-esteem and becoming more confident. I utilized that to getting an education, which helped me a lot. Later on in life, I discovered knowledge, information and education. I said, “This is it. If you get this, if you understand how to take information and education and make it relevant to your development so you can empower yourself, that’s about as close to freedom and equality as you can get.”
Let me interject a question here. I’m imagining you’re growing up in this community, and the community’s self-image is that nothing good comes out of here?
That was the program. That was the messaging.
If nothing good comes out of here, what that means is no one good comes out of here. Yet in that, you discovered something that you love doing. It sounds almost like a trail of breadcrumbs, “I love basketball. I’m good at that. I am good at something. Is there something else maybe that I can be good at?” That’s when you discovered education, that’s the way I’m hearing it.
I was in an all-black town because they always made us work harder. They told us you had to be twice as good because you had to deal with all of this negative stuff. They groomed us to be good at everything we did. When we went up to the white school, we had to compete. All of us competed very well because we were prepared. Success is when preparation meets opportunity. All they did was prepare us. I had at least that as the foundation for drive, willpower, determination, “You’re not going to tell me what I can do.” I had a lot of anger that came with that and a lot of rage that came with that, which can be self-destructive. For me, it’s a process of learning how to unleash the rage, unpeel the onion, get down to the core of who you are, finding out how to redefine your own existence. That’s where Identity Leadership comes in and the books come in and all of that. I’m living this. This is real. This is not a fake life. I’m writing about it. I’m trying to teach other people the process of how to do it.
It’s not an academic theory that you developed.
You talk to the real core right here, the real deal.
Knowing you and anybody who knows you or anybody who’s met you for even more than 30 seconds would have a hard time taking your demeanor, your personality and reconciling that with anything accustomed to rage. Did that look different? Did it show up differently in your life earlier on when you were first dealing with that?
I’m a nice guy. I know how to act. I’m not hitting people over the head. I’m not hurting anybody, anything like that. I had so much internal rage, the intensity and not knowing how to channel that, not knowing how to use that as a way to empower yourself. It was more self-destructive within. The foundation of your existence is negative, which means that every time you get comfortable, that storyboard is going over. It’s in your head going around and around. You’re looking at the glass half-empty as opposed to half-full. It’s your perspective.
How can you create anything successful if the foundation of your existence is negative and your perspective is negative? It’s impossible. The Law of Attraction based on your teachings, you know this, whatever you put out, you get back. I’m putting out negative energy, mentally and internally. I’m cool, but the energy is wrong. Until I was able to understand how to transform the energy consistently, my life will never change. When I learned how to do that, transformed my life means transforming the way you feel and think about yourself. How long does that take, Steve Farber? It takes a long time.
Granted that it’s a lifelong journey, we never get perfect at it or maybe some people do. Most of us don’t get perfect at it. For you, when you had that a-ha, that realization, was it a gradual journey or was there a moment where the light bulb went off and you said to yourself, “This energy that I’m creating internally is going to keep me from being successful?”
The light bulb goes off slow in the beginning.
It’s a dimmer switch.
When you begin to start to build something for once in your life, when you begin to turn the brain on and start thinking, start processing, start reading, and you understand the value of information and knowledge be transformed by the renewal of your mind. When you start to realize it’s about your thinking, you have to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. If you want to improve quickly, you do it every day. You read every day. You learn every day. You have to know who you are so you can source information, which is why the identity leadership is identity leadership.
Identity is the foundation for learning, developing, building, creating and designing your own future. Without it, you’re doing the same thing over and over every day, every single day, you’re not going anywhere. You can’t. It’s impossible. You have an educational system that is designed to teach you how to memorize and take tests, repeat the information back to label as a grade. Two weeks later, you forget the information. You’re not a thinker, a learner or a developer. As long as you’re not, you’re pretty much stuck, which is why we are in survival mode. We’re struggling all the time and 6 billion or 7 billion people in the world are pretty much followers.
Are you saying that the followers by definition are people that haven’t put the attention on learning about themselves and knowing who they are as individuals first?
No question about it. If you get that, if you say, “Steve, work on yourself. Wendy, work on yourself. Bobby work on yourself. Sparky, work on yourself.” What would be the “how to” for that? How do you work on yourself, Steve? What does that look like? I’m not asking you to answer that question. I’m saying that is the question for all of us. How do you do that? Where are you going with yourself? How are you going to get there? Can you frame it? Can you structure? Can you see it? Do you believe it? Can you create it? Can you design it? What does it look like?
Isn’t the fundamental question underlying that whole series of questions, “Who are you? Who am I?” That’s a very simple, fundamental question about my sense of place in the world, purpose. There are lots of ways that we say it. A lot of us go through life without ever asking that.
You’ve got to keep asking that question, “Who are you last week?” “I changed.” “Who are you now?” “I wrote a book. I finished a book. I’m changing my whole paradigm.” “Who are you going to be tomorrow?” “I’m changing that too.” “Who are you with the virus? Who are you then?” “I have to change. We have to use technology as a way to deliver content.” “Who are you now?” “I’m a technology expert. I’m becoming that.” “Who are you going to be in a month? Who are you going to be next year?” That’s a question you have to ask all of the time so you become relevant. Are you relevant to the times that you’re living in? I would say that most of us are not relevant because we can’t keep up with the technological revolution that’s happening in our world. It’s moving too fast. It’s faster than our own understanding. Our understanding has to start with what you talked about, which is self-development, self-improvement, self-actualization and self-mastery to keep up. School is not good enough. Don’t come and show me your degree and where you went to school. You have to redefine yourself. It’s worth about $0.50 now.
I’m not going to show you my degree. What should I show you?
Show me who you are. Show me what you’re passionate about. Show me your skills. Show me your expertise. Show me what you are an authority in. Show me how you make money. Show me your ideas. Show me where are you going to be in a year? Show me your vision. Show me your plan. Show me something that’s actionable. Show me something that’s relevant to scalability. Show me something that has a message that’s relevant to social media. Show me how to use social media. Show me your distribution network. Show me your team. What does your team look like? Show me your product. Show me your services. Show me how you’re going to sustain yourself. Show me your annuities. Show me your business model. Show me your friends.
That’s a lot to work on, all beautifully said and accurate.
You’re supposed to have a degree. You’re supposed to learn how to read. You’re supposed to learn how to count. You’re supposed to understand common sense. What we’re talking about, the extra stuff, that separates you from the 99%. We’re talking about the 1%, who can now distance anybody else because they understand all the things I talked about. They work at them. Do you know how long that takes, Dr. Farber? Forever. You’ve got to keep learning that. You’ve got to at least be on the right path.
If you’re not on the right path and you don’t have the right process, which is why I teach this work because you don’t have the right process. You don’t come with the right process. It’s not taught to you. You don’t have a process for self-actualizing your potential based on who you are. You have none unless you are lucky enough to have parents who can teach you that. For the most part, you’re in a failed program. Your program is a failed program. It’s not going to get you success. It’s not going to get you social-economic development because you’ve got to own that. That’s thinking all the time, developing, creating, designing, building and tweaking.One cannot lead anyone else until you first lead yourself. Click To Tweet
Where are you going to get that from? Who’s going to give you that information? You’ve been through this, Steve. Meetings after meetings to figure out, “How am I going to do this? How do I get this done? Who knows social media? What’s television going to be five years from now? What’s it going to look like? How do I build this so I’m not antiquated? What books should I be reading?” I’m looking behind you. The only reason you’re doing these podcasts is because of those books back there. One book leads to another book, leads to another book. The question is how many books do you have? How many books have you read?
That’s something that’s within everybody’s control.
Stop right there, what you’re saying to me is that the process of success is the same for everybody. It’s what you just said.
That’s what I’m hearing you say.
That’s what I learned. That’s what I got. That’s the first thing I got. It’s not about color. I don’t have to worry about race anymore, not about my family circumstances, not about where I came from. It’s understanding that the process of success is the same for everybody. Get to work, start reading some books, start understanding how to take information and make it relevant to your heart and soul, transfer it to your mind so you become a thinking human being. Then transfer that to the now global marketplace to create and design your own future every day. Otherwise, Steve, you’re going to fall behind. You can’t keep up.
I love the way you say that it doesn’t matter how the world defines you. It only matters how you define yourself. I know because you and I have spoken together on a couple of different venues and all of that. I’ve heard you give many presentations over the years. There’s this one line that I’ve heard you say several times, which is important for people to understand in their own context as well. I’m going to paraphrase you if I could be so presumptuous. You say something like, “I know what you were thinking when you were driving over here this morning. You were thinking, ‘I’m going to see Oprah’s man.’ You follow it up with,” I’ve heard you say it a couple of different ways, but complete that sentence for us.
It isn’t how the world defines me. It’s how I define myself that only matters. People do that. First of all, what does it take to be Oprah’s man? That’s not an easy thing to do. That’s like, “You’re measuring up and you’re trying to be yourself in the world that she lives in.” I’m fortunate to be able to be part of that world, her personal life. If I didn’t have my own work, if I didn’t have my own purpose, if I didn’t have my own identity and you’re trying to be in that world and trying to find validation in that world and the women’s marketplace and the women’s empowerment as well, you better look the other way. You’re not going to make it.
When I talk about being able to define myself, I live there. I also say, “Don’t ever let anybody else define you because whoever defines you will always define you as less than them.” That eliminates the labels. You don’t have to worry about the labels. I understand the labels. I understand the racial labels, community labels, the brother labels, family labels, the relationship labels. I understand that. The world is going to try to put you in the box and marginalize your existence. We’ve got a caste system out here. People who were at the lower level get pushed down to the caste system and that’s where they stay.
If you don’t define yourself, if you don’t understand how to create your own system for success, you may get stuck in an oppressive system that defines your existence, that affects your social-economic development and marginalizes you and your family for the rest of your life. You can’t get above that system that says, “You’re not good enough.” You can’t get above that system that says, “You’re a woman. You live in a man’s world.” You can’t get above that system that says, “Your mother and father said, ‘Son, you’re nothing. You’re never going to be anything.’” You’ve got to get above all of those systems that are in place that you’re constantly hearing, that puts you in a place where you’re not competitive in the marketplace now.
I’ve been able to create my own system for success. It’s a beautiful thing. That’s what I teach. I teach that. It’s a nice step success process because I want you to create your own system that you can co-create with the existing system and the world now, which is a beautiful system. It’s the American free enterprise system, the global marketplace. Technology added onto that. If you take all of that and apply all of those resources to your development, you begin to empower yourself. You develop a process of continuous improvement every day. You can be anybody you want to be. That process for success is the same for everybody. That opportunity is the same for everybody.
Thinking about kids now, that time in the life of a young person when they’re in middle school, high school. Much of their identity is wrapped up in how they compare themselves to their peers and they allow their self-worth to be tied in with other people’s perceptions of them. What I’m hearing you say is that’s the time that maybe the first time that we’ve experienced it. In some ways, it carries through our entire lives for a lot of people. It’s the person I’ve always thought about as somebody who sees a movie, but doesn’t know how they feel about it until they read the reviews, “What are other people saying before I determine that for myself?” Let’s talk about the youth among us. You and I both have a passion for youth and you do a lot of work with kids. What’s the best piece of advice to give somebody who’s right in the throes of that? Where they feel like their identity is being tossed around by the winds that are blowing among their peers and in their school and their social fabric and all that?
The best advice I could give them, young people, is learn to love yourself, learn to love your passions, learn to love your talents, learn to love your skills and learn to be able to know how to apply information and education to what you love. That’s about the simplest way I know how to explain something in a very short fashion that works. If you focus on that and then changing your mindset from negative to positive, which is the same as from hate to love and having some control over that allows you to have a chance. You have no chance if you are negative, if you are looking at yourself with the glass half-empty as opposed to half-full, if you have no respect for yourself, if you hate yourself, if you’re down on yourself, if you’re beating yourself up, you have no chance, you’re not going to make it. If you continue to do that, you’re going to hurt yourself someway. You’re going to be depressed. You’re going to use alcohol and drugs as a way to overcome that so you can make yourself feel good, that’s temporary.
You’re not going to build anything. You’re not going to build the talent, the skills, your abilities and your passions. You’re not going to be able to self-actualize anything that’s relevant to your development. You’re not going to build from the inside out. There’s no way you can do that. That’s my advice to everybody. You teach that, the power of love and the power of understanding how to utilize that in a very practical sense. We’re talking about practicality that’s relevant to the 21st century that’s going to help you empower yourself based on what’s possible for you as a human being.
How do you break that down? What does that look like in the 24 hours that you have every single day, which is what makes us all equal? Everybody has 24 hours. That’s another paradigm shift. “I’ve got 24 hours. What am I doing with it?” The Nine-Step Success Process takes you toward the vision, takes you towards setting goals, planning, work, developing the value system, teaching you how to build relationships around you. If you don’t work, taking you out of the equation and you don’t work, nothing works, which is why leadership is everything. Take the leader out or if you have bad leadership, you get some bad leadership in your family. Get a father that comes home drunk all the time, get a mom that doesn’t care about her kids, get somebody who doesn’t read to you, who never goes to your game, who never supports you. Get somebody who you’re moving from one place to the other, from one school to the other, from one house to the other, bad leadership in all levels. Get a mayor, get a governor, get a president, who doesn’t lead well, see what happens to the world and to the country.
Let’s say I’m that kid in that family that you described, is it as simple as flipping a switch for me? If the way you grew up, if all I’m hearing and the only evidence that I’m seeing when I’m young is that, “People don’t care about me. Nobody loves me. I’ve got all these challenges.” If that’s the message that I’m getting, and then I hear you or somebody like you with that message. It starts with, “You have to love yourself and create the life for yourself.” Is it a function of hearing that message at the right time? I know for some people the light can switch on in that moment. Some kids we’ve seen it happen. For others, it’s a longer process. It’s like, “Maybe I want to believe that, but I don’t. How do I get from where I am now to believing that I’m worth loving myself?”
That’s a $64 question. That’s a very important question. You have to be able to be in a position sometimes to be around people who can give you that. Sometimes it’s through sports that you get into, or music or extracurricular activities that you discover that. It’s a discovery process, not everybody’s going to get it. It is very few people do get it, which is why you have 6.9 billion people who are followers. The very small percentage of people, it’s a luxury to get this. You have a whole system that’s set up and designed to marginalize your existence. It’s ingrained in the culture. It’s tough. There’s nothing easy about this message. You work on yourself. I’d rather go to the pizza place. I’d rather hang out with my kids and my friends. I’d rather do this and do that. I’m not interested in studying. What does it take for somebody to pick up a book and read it and then understand what you read? How tough is that?
It’s getting tougher. Now you can preview with the iPhone for people’s attention. Even adults, they’re staring on their iPhone. I can see the hours adults are spending on that iPhone. In some cases, it’s got to be 19 hours, 18 hours, 16 hours a day sometimes. It’s crazy. I may be exaggerating that a little bit, but for some folks they’re on it all of the time. They’re either calling somebody or they are texting somebody or they’re getting texts back or whatever. If you happen to be a busy person that gets 200 emails a day, your whole life is on that iPhone talking about what, doing what, certainly not working on yourself for the most part, because you don’t even have the process. You don’t even have the program right. It’s not even helping you develop yourself. It’s external work. You’re slaving into the information.We have to use technology as a way to deliver content. Click To Tweet
There’s another element to this that I know you deeply believe in because of the work that you do. If we go back to that kid who’s in the wrong environment, what WE need to do is do whatever we can to provide a different environment. This idea that behind the Community Alliance for Youth Success, the job of a community to create our youth’s success in the future. It has to do with the relationships that we provide to our kids. Maybe not necessarily our own kids, but the kids in our community to be mentors, to be guides, to be coaches, to be resources, to be cheerleaders, to remind kids that they are worth loving. Even when they’re seeing everything to the contrary, somebody has to be there to give them a different example. If anybody feels passionate about kids, ask yourself, “Am I extending myself in a way to be a resource to kids that need it?” That’s not just true for kids. I wrote a book called Greater Than Yourself. The simple premise of that book is that the greatest leaders become the greatest leaders by making others greater than themselves, by putting themselves out there to raise other people up. We have to be able to set a different example for people who have never seen it any other way. Hopefully, more of those lights will go on.
There’s one thing that’s very important to understand. It’s all about the content. It’s all about the curriculum. Whatever program you had or curriculum that you had that allows you to be who you are, that can be a great curriculum. It could be a world-class curriculum, world-class information or it could be dumbed down curriculum. Whatever program you’ve gotten throughout the years, maybe it’s from your parents or information that’s been repetitive over a number of years that you’ve picked up. It’s all about the information. When I discovered that for my own life, I said, “I have the wrong information. I’m not reading the right information. This information is dumbed down. This information is not relevant to my development. All I do now is look for the right information.”
I understand the difference between bad information and good information. Your ability to be able to discern that and build your own program around the right information allows you to continue that process for success, then you start to improve and get better. That’s not taught. Who teaches you that? Where do you get that process from? It’s tough. You’ve got to spend a lot of years looking for the right information, but first you’ve got to be able to source the information around who you are, your identity.
You have to have the realization, the consciousness that you can create your own curriculum. That essentially your life’s journey is a curriculum that you are writing. I’ve never thought about that before. When I think of the word curriculum, I go right to the literal interpretation of it. It’s a beautiful metaphor. If you think about a curriculum in a program that you sign up for. You have the subject matter. You have the agenda. You have the books that you’re going to read. You have the assignments that you’re going to do, the papers that you’re going to write, the tests that you can have. That’s all part of the curriculum.
What I’m hearing you say is that my life is a curriculum and then I design it. I’m going to decide where I’m going to put my attention. I’m going to decide what I need to learn. I’m going to decide what my own tests are. I’m going to set my own goals and measure myself on my progress towards those goals to have that level of empowerment that says, “I am writing my own curriculum.” It doesn’t mean that there are certainly going to be times where it seems like people are trying to get in the way of my doing that. It’s all up to me to create what I want to create.
It’s called code. You’re writing your own code. You’re creating your own template. You’re building your own grid. You’re customizing that around your world. You can begin to create a system for sustainability based on improving that code, that program, that system, and you learn how to apply that to a global marketplace using technology as a way to disseminate the content, the code and the program. You’re improving that program all the time. Every time they come out with a new iPhone, it’s costing you money. They’re adding more on the grid, putting more on the template as a menu item, charging more money. This is the program. If you see yourself as this creating your own program, having your own menu item, creating your own design, and then developing a process of improving that so that you become more valuable. You’re selling yourself more to the public based on your ability to adapt to where the marketplace is going, you’re going to become relevant.
Is it safe to say that everybody is already creating their own program? It’s already happening. Whether you like it or not, you’re doing it. The question, is it the program that’s going to serve you or not?
Does it serve you? Is it your voice? Can you speak to it? Can you message it? Can you put a message out relevant to that? What are you delivering? Is it a weak product or a weak program? Is it a failed program? Is it consistent? Is it scalable? Is it the model? What are you creating? The opportunity is to learn how to design a correct and successful program so that you can go out and sell millions and millions of these to the public based on having it right. I’m looking to try to build and hopefully you’re doing the same thing, how to build a successful program around who we are. How long does that take? We all should be doing that. If you start off with the wrong information, if you start off with the wrong content, if you don’t know that, then you end up saying, “I’ve got this degree. I graduated from Harvard, Yale, Princeton. I’m out here and I can’t find a job.”
You have the wrong program. You need something that’s relevant to the 21st century. Let me ask you something. What skills do you have? What skills are you creating? Are you relevant to the 21st century? The virus is here. We’re locked down. The question is, what is your program now to become relevant to where the marketplace is going? Are you going to be prepared when this virus is over? I’m working every day to try to prepare myself, so when the virus is over and we’re allowed to go into the global marketplace, I’m not behind. You’re doing the same thing as much as possible. If you don’t have that program, if you don’t have some way to use technology as a way to communicate to the world, not only now but a few years from now, or for the rest of your life. If you’re not using technology as a way to communicate, you’re outdated. You’re not going to be relevant.
That’s an additional menu item that we’ve got to add to the existing program of who we are. It’s one thing. You’ve got 50 other things to think about. If you want distribution in the marketplace, you’ve got to learn social media. If you want to become a brand, you’ve got to be consistent in your messaging. If you want to be able to raise your social-economic development, you’ve got to have a strong website. If you want an annuity based on your content, you better have some courses you’re developing and building. If you want to control your destiny, you better get into self-publishing. If you want to create a paradigm shift, you’ve got to put all of that together to create a system for operating and becoming relevant to the 21st century. You’ve got to build a team around that. That’s called leadership. You’ve got to lead the team. You can’t expect somebody else to know that. What you can do is you can lead other people to it. You can share with other people the ideas, the opportunity, because of what you’re doing. You can’t be responsible for their learning, but you can be responsible for their direction. That’s what followers are looking for. They’re looking for leaders. Leaders are not looking for followers. They’re looking for other leaders. They can’t do one thing with a follower. They’re looking for other information, other people who are influencers, who they can learn from.
We covered a lot of ground here. Thank you. As we bring this in for a landing, I have a couple of questions for you. Because of the circles that you’ve run in, you’ve met a lot people. Did you ever meet Tina Turner by any chance?
Yes. I’ve sat next to her. Her and Oprah are close friends, so you understand how that works.
Her famous line from one of her songs, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” you get to put a personal spin on that one from the source of that line. That’s the question I’d like to offer you based on everything that we talked about here, what’s love got to do with it? You used the word a couple of times. What’s your take on that?
It’s all about love. The transformation is all love. You want to transform? It’s all love. How you organize that in your life? How do you make that practical? How you begin to focus on your passion with it, your purpose with it? How you begin to organize and imagine what you can do with it? How you begin to micromanage it? How do you macro manage it? Macro is a big picture. How do you utilize in the global marketplace and then how do you micromanage it in your life every day? How does this show up? It’s a process. A big word also is organization. How do you organize love? How do you manifest that?
You first have to organize it to manifest it. You want to organize what it looks like and what it doesn’t look like and have some discernment between the two so you know what you’re focused on. You can expand whatever you’re doing, whatever you focus on expands. Imagine if love is the center and core of your existence, and you build everything from that and you can take all the information and make it relevant to the core of who you are every day. You’re going to have distance 6.9 billion people who are doing nothing. They’re not going anywhere. You wake up in the morning, wash your face and brush your teeth, get something to eat, get the kids schoolwork, all of that, come in the afternoon, spend time with the family and watch TV, go to bed. Maybe they dreamed this Monday. You’re not going anywhere. They repeat that same process over and over. They’re focused on negativity, “I can’t do this.” You have no competition in the world when you transform your thinking around love and your feelings. It’s the greatest gift. It’s the closest thing to freedom that I know.Leaders are not looking for followers. They're looking for other leaders. Click To Tweet
What’s the best way for people to learn about what you’re doing, stay in touch with you, learn about the process, learn about Identity Leadership? Where should we send them?
We’re rebuilding StedmanGraham.com and that’s the place to go. That’s the go-to place.
Thank you. Thank you all for tuning into another episode of the Love Is Just Damn Good Business podcast. Until next time, don’t forget to do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.
I love you, Steve. Take care.
About Stedman Graham
For more than 30 years, I have been writing books, teaching in colleges, working in communities, leading non-profits and speaking at workshops throughout the world. In all that time, I have come to know one thing: leadership is everything. The needs of the 21st century cannot be met by followers.
The world is changing at warp speed, and people must be able to stand on a solid platform of self-awareness, equipped with the tools required for self-leadership that allow them to adapt to the ever-changing technologies, ideologies and circumstances of their lives. Before you lead others, you must first be able to lead yourself.
Participants in the Identity Leadership program improve their performance, increase their lifelong learning capacity and change their mind-set from that of a follower to that of a leader. The program produces results: people become self-motivated leaders in their lives, inspired by their dreams and their values. Further, they inspire themselves to succeed, no longer dependent on outside forces for motivation or discipline. People who understand Identity Leadership develop the capacity to reassure and motivate themselves. They are self-reliant. They learn to self-execute valuable, thoughtful actions, often creating innovative ideas that revolutionize their personal and professional effectiveness. The world needs leaders who understand the importance of self-awareness, self-discipline and self-leadership. We need people who know themselves to lead organizations from the idea of commerce for commerce’s sake to the new paradigm of success based on integrity and with self-actualized individuals at the helm.