A few hundred of my best friends and I had a chance to hear Billie Jean King speak at an event for WIN for KC. Billie Jean King is an icon for many reasons–but not all of the past; after listening to her speak, she continues to be a voice for progress. Recently, she was given the Congressional Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a citizen of the United States.
Billie Jean was speaking of growth….how we progress as a gender, as a people…and encouraged us to stay on course. To her, that means: stay focused on what matters, speak up and make a difference, don’t get distracted by the irrelevant but tempting, and stay true to yourself. That advice works for all of us–as individuals, as professionals and as leaders–of our families, our companies and our communities.
Another striking piece of advice was to focus on inner success. Why inner success? I can only give you my thoughts. Inner success means being the best we can be every day, expecting more of yourself than you do of those around you. The only person we can truly change is ourselves and by doing so, we become a more worthy role model for others. Regardless if we are leaders by position or influence, we have will have more to offer someone else. John Maxwell says the hardest leader to lead is yourself. Therefore, by concentrating on being your best you, embracing continual learning, being a good listener, and strengthening yourself, you have an opportunity to be a positive influence on others, wherever you go. A leader that others choose to follow.