The picture above is one that I'm sure you are all familiar with. Four of our great leaders carved into the side of Mt. Rushmore by Gutzon Borglum.
What is unique, if you look a little closer, is that in the photograph on the left, the monument is incomplete. It was taken Saturday May 8th, 1937 by my grandfather. He was on a 6,000 mile road trip with his buddies and this was one of their stops.
The photograph on the right was taken by me Saturday May 8th, 2010 during a recreation of that exact same road trip.
I was thinking about Presidents Day today and it led me down the path of leadership and what constitutes a leader. Then I got to thinking about whether or not you are just born into it. You hit the birth lottery and that's it. You're going to be the next George Washington! But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don't believe that nor do I believe anyone that has ever been a successful leader believes that either. The reality is leaders are created.
"Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price that all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile." ~ Vince Lombardi ~
The picture kind of got me thinking down this path of creating. I think it's a great metaphor as you see that there was nothing on that mountain before Mr. Borglum conceived of his creation. Just like when Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln were born, there was nothing there, not even the idea of becoming president. They all worked hard, made good decisions (and some bad), overcame failures, persevered and created the life, the legacy, that they wanted.
I think all too often, we as humans, have a tendency to look at someone else's success and minimize it by attributing it to some factor that is out of ours or their control. Even if we know that it isn't, it's sometimes easy to think that for just a minute because it justifies it. But if we truly want to attain the success we desire, we need to recognize that it is 100% within our control. We can create whatever we want!
"Whatever you can visualize with your mind, you can attain with your body, your heart and your soul!" ~ Walter Payton ~
My grandfather created that road trip. Mr. Borglum created Mt. Rushmore. Those presidents created their legacy. Now YOU go create yours!