I started playing the guitar when I was about 12. I fell in love with it and played nearly every day. In those days, Ted Nugent, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and the Beatles were among the day’s rock musicians. One of my favorites was the Beatles. I loved playing the songs and found it pretty easy, so I thought I was pretty good. I knew I was going to be a rock star.
An older friend of mine who I always admired created a “paradigm” shift about my perceptions of music one day. At that time, I had no idea what a paradigm was. One day we got into a lengthy discussion/debate about music. I thought I made a convincing argument.
He started me listening to Buddy Guy, Larry Coryell, George Benson, Jim Hall, Chet Atkins, Glen Campbell, and a host of other guitarists that I had never heard of before. I heard chord progressions, riffs, and sounds coming from a guitar I hadn’t even imagined. I couldn’t even figure out how to move my fingers to play such sounds. The new information rattled my cage for sure.
All I know is after those few days, my whole world opened up to listening to and finding value in all kinds of music. I also found my friend to be even more interesting than I ever thought. Every time we got together, I started to listen first to see what I could learn.
Leadership and Playing a Guitar
In all the hype today about leadership, I found myself thinking, OK, Floyd, you’ve been a student and a teacher and practitioner on this subject for decades. What’s new around the topic of leadership? What are the paradigm shifts? Are there any? I guess it all depends on what you listen to.
Oprah Style of Leadership- You get a class, and you get a class!
Part of what’s new is that thousands of people are offering information on the subject of leadership. There are books, podcasts, online and live classes you can attend to teach you how to lead. Numerous materials on the subject can be found by your old or new favorite host. There are thousands of old and new ideas and practical solutions offered; what an exciting time to have instant access to more information at your fingertips than you can digest in a lifetime.
Separating Fact from Fiction
Because of so much available information, I work to narrow down the volume of who influences me. Some seem to have hollow words or not near enough depth on the subject. A good sound bite without the substance to back it up is relatively common today. Sometimes I have to read deeper or check out the credentials to know more about where this information is coming from.
What is not new is that there is still no shortcut to becoming an effective leader or developing an enduring organization. Sorry, there isn’t any silver-bullet to learn how to become an influential person. Never let anyone tell you there is. It takes a lot of hard work, self-analysis, and honesty. Yes, you have to be a useful person to become an effective leader. And that doesn’t mean you’ll ever be perfect. You will make a ton of mistakes and have scars and flaws, just like everyone else.
The Principles of Life and Business are Life Chords on a Guitar
When you learn to play chords, then playing a song becomes easier. You can actually hear the music as it’s played and visualize what chords are used and how it’s strummed. You can then play any kind of music as long as you can hear it. With practice, you can start to create your own music.
When you learn the principles of living a dynamic life or building a company, it’s like learning the guitar’s chords. The principles are tried and true and will never let you down once you master them. You have to practice because you just can’t become a master of them until you do. You will fail occasionally. There will be people who say it can’t be done.
You can learn the principles of leadership and model them to find what works for you. As I tell my grandkids, just be you and don’t try to be someone else. Embrace and love yourself.
Principles are like gravity, you can try to defy, change or ignore them, but they are always there doing what they do. Learn them and allow them to be a guiding resource in your life and business journey to reach your fullest potential.
Today, I listened to all kinds of music. My taste is wide and deep. Oh, I can play some on my “64 Fender Jazzmaster,” but my listening skills are much better. I still debate with people I don’t agree with to learn. I enjoy listening to a lot of people because I know I can learn something from them that I didn’t know before. I never want to be that person who thinks the Beatles are the only music there is.