The exemplar

“That’s all a man can hope for during his lifetime—to set an example—and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history.” William McKinley

William McKinley was the 25th President of the United States. He was assassinated in September 1901, six months into his second term. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry, and maintained the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of inflationary proposals. Rapid economic growth marked McKinley’s presidency. He promoted a tariff to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition. This was a man that got things done. He was well known for doing so.

When we talk about who the examples are in our lives, what qualities come to mind? I think they will be different for each of us. Think of the various examples you have had in your life. Whether they were people, things or places. When we strive to become better we tend to find examples in our lives. Many times these examples come right when we need them because we subconsciously look for them.

Often, leaders are not great leaders because they were able to figure it all out on their own. If you were to ask any great leader who they looked up to or who they could depend on, they would most certainly tell you many stories of people they looked up to. I think that goes for most successful people. Those that have achieved great things, big or small; can tell you that they could not have done it without the help of certain people in their life.

A great leader often becomes that person who gives great advice or helps the person seek for growth opportunities. That same leader is also the one that is not afraid to tell someone like it is.

Being an example is really a difficult pursuit. We all make mistakes in our lives only to hope we don’t do them again. Most great leaders hope they can use those experiences to touch others and build something great.

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