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Leadership — it’s in his eyes

Football season is just around the corner and practice has begun. The sons of Pagosa will shortly be showing their skills and leadership abilities and Pagosa’s fans will be there to cheer them on.

What does it take to be a good leader? Some say a leader is born; others say a leader is made.

Someone said about our 14-year-old grandson, “He is a born leader. You can see it in his eyes!” That pricked my interest and I questioned,”“What is in his eyes that makes our grandson a leader?

But being real I know it comes from some place deep down in a person and the eyes are the window of the soul. Of course, all grandmothers want to think that their grandchildren can reach the moon, but reality and life tells me that it takes a lot more than hopeful thinking to be a leader.

Our grandson loves the game of football and loves practice and is made for the sport of football; he’s big, strong and runs fast. On the field he is a fighter and doesn’t mind the hard hits. He loves his coaches, he protects the little guys. I heard one of the fathers say to his small son, “Stay behind him, you’ll be protected.” This is all part of making a good player, but being a great leader, it takes a certain grit.

So I write this column to all the young leaders who love the game of whatever you have chosen to do. You have an awesome responsibility. There are three things you must master: Yourself, your actions, and your relationships.

1. You must master yourself. You will not do this without first recognizing the One who made you. Only He knows what He has put in you and what He wants out of your Life. Give Him His rightful place.

2. Being passionately committed is foremost. You will only draw the same passion and commitment from others that you possess. A leader will raise his followers to be only what he is.

3. Speak well of yourself to yourself. Don’t ask others who you are. Know who you are. A true leader will stand alone and must have tremendous personal resolve.

4. Distractions will come. See them for what they are. They come your way to defeat your purpose. Refuse them by keeping your eyes on the goal ahead of you.

5. You will go through the fire of testing. You must know yourself in the fire if you know yourself at all. You will not find yourself in success but in the trial.

6. Anyone who has not failed will not know themselves. Failure is part of the plan. Every great leader has failed at some time. Do not be afraid of failure. A leader must be willing to look foolish and take risks.

7. Be careful not to judge those who follow you. It will be your followers who will move you forward.

8. Be constant towards everyone, whether in public or private. Be honest and open to others.

9. Great leaders will be criticized for moving ahead yet will be praised when they succeed. Do not be discouraged. Jealousy comes; it is a part of human nature. Do not measure yourself with anyone else. You are your greatest competitor.

10. The greatest leaders are the greatest servants. You must be willing to serve the needs of the weakest player and do things you do not want to do.

If it is in your eyes and you are a leader, you will take the hits, and you must fail in order to prove yourself to yourself. The people will boo you and turn around and cheer you in the next breath. You will lay your life down for the ungrateful. There will be some who will follow you because they need you to succeed and you will show them how by your actions.

You might ask, “What does this have to do with art?”

Everything! A leader is a leader; whether on the football field or creating ideas, some will lead and others will follow. Those in front will catch the wind and pull others along; they will set the trends and get the hits. It’s just life!

Final brushstroke: When you’re on the field and knocked senseless and are booed and your Grandma screams “Don’t hurt him, leave him alone,” keep your cool. You are a leader.

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Artist’s quote

“The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous.” — Margaret Fontey, author.