“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Many people grow up with the concept that in order to be successful at something, one must have a natural knack for whatever it is they’re attempting to do. With phrases like, ‘He’s a born leader’, or ‘She’s a natural’, can we blame anyone for thinking that they aren’t capable of doing things they aren’t already good at?

man-791049_960_720It’s important to know that you don’t have to be born into a specific skill set in order to successfully utilize that ability. In my case, I didn’t need to be a ‘born leader’ to be a great leader, and neither do you.

Growing up, I didn’t have a leadership bone in my body. Anytime a chance of confrontation came my way, you could bet that I was doing whatever it took to stay away from it, at almost any cost. Flash forward to now: Ashbusters Chimney Service is one of the premier chimney service companies in the United States and I have thirty years as a chimney sweep and business owner under my belt to back it.

You might be wondering how an ‘unnatural’ leader like myself managed all of that, and the answer is simple: I learned it.

Only after learning the importance of reading leadership and self-development books was I able to become a leader. Books such as ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins, and the ever popular ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie, taught me many important lessons of leadership that I still practice today, and the words ‘still practice’ are key there.

The truth is, reading is only a starting point in your journey to becoming a leader. You can’t just read a book and then put it down when you’ve finished it, you need to make a conscious effort to implement the lessons you’ve learned from the book. Being a leader means continually growing and educating yourself in order to successfully guide your team through all kinds of weather, and requires a constant effort to learn.

By educating yourself, and applying all that you’ve learned into your life regularly, you can break the stigma of ‘natural born leaders’ and promote the idea of leaders who are MADE.