Society - History
By: - at May 15, 2013

15 Astonishing Leadership Stories that Ended up Successfully

Smart leaders in our worldBecoming a leader is a science and an art which consists of continuous evolving. An effective luminary has the ability to express creativity with an awareness of the need to change shape based on current circumstances. An effective leader often originates from having to take a position of strength by freeing up creative genius and magnifying personal capabilities. A community with a great leader becomes powerful as a whole by envisioning, motivating and transforming an organization. As technology and universal business is modifying, the best leaders are the ones who can change along with the given innovations. They have the foresight required in customizing a culture and a mission. It isn't a surprise some of the most iconic leaders in history were the ones that overcame the most adversity.

15)  Napoleon Hill Possessed Strong Desire
Leader Napoleon HillThose who have read "The Laws of Success" may be aware of Napoleon Hill's experience in hitting rock bottom in his mid-40s. Hill's hardship was a self inflicted endeavor which consisted of jumping from one venture to another with little to no forethought. Many of his ventures had potential in producing results but were often abandoned to pursue others quickly. Traveling from city to city in search of a break, Napoleon chased his dreams of personal success and dug deep into his introvert self, to make sense of what being a leader required within a given society.

The irony in his hardship was what came out of it. Realizing that he had spent the better portion of his life searching higher and yon for the causes of success, he found himself more helpless than thousands of others who didn't have the knowledge that he did in how to obtain it. Through visualization and resources it wasn't long before hill grew in popularity after having written "Think and Grow Rich." A major part of his advice as a writer was that you must have a strong desire to attain a better life. If you desire something enough, the unconscious mind will make a choice in order for it to happen. Leaders must possess a strong desire to succeed, to the extent that there are no distractions. By staying on track a leader maintains momentum.

14)  Ralph Waldo Emerson Practiced Creative Thinking
Leader Ralph Waldo EmersonRalph Waldo Emerson was a preeminent philosopher and thinker of his day recognized for articulating creative intuition, self reliability, individual potential and creative intuition. In contrast to the optimism that is characterized by his philosophy, he was a man who was affected by tragedy living through the deaths of his wife, two brothers and eldest son. Emerson was unhappy with his career as a school teacher, leading him to study theology. He ended up working as a minister which soon became a source of anxiety to him as he began to question the doctrine of the church.

Emerson ended up writing his first book which reached a relatively small audience. The philosophy in his book articulated unity of nature, divinity and transcendentalism. Ralph Waldo Emerson was known for his contribution toward personal development. He provided people with ideas about living, valuing the individual over society. He was a leader for valuing courage, individuality and peace. As a man who used his fame and influence to promote his own work and abolitionism, he left a legacy of innovative thoughts. As a leader he embraced learning new skills, always acquiring them and constantly seeking new ones.

Creative thinking isn't something that can be taught. As adults grow older, creative impulses are stifled and we become more aware of what people think about us. By learning to be more analytical, we favor critical thinking instead of creative expression. As contributors to a corporate culture we are continually rewarded for our abilities toward cautious thinking. Leaders have the gift of using creativity in supporting new ideas.

13)  Theodor Seuss Geisel Found Righteousness
Theodor Seuss GeiselTheodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, had an inept desire to create pieces of writing, comics and rhymes in which he built financial success. WWI and Prohibition took a toll on Geisel socially and financially before his work. He struggled to make a living early in his life because of the difficulty in selling his writing and art. His early work revolved around drawing Prohibition cartoons and commenting on topics such as fascism. He is known for his contributions and having turned his talents against fascism and American isolationism, he became more popular. The negative experience that he'd experienced with his family during WWI, helped fuel his work in art and writing.

Theodor Seuss Geisel was a leader because he used his beliefs and righteousness to make a change in not only his personal life, but for the greater good. By using creative expression through art and personal interest, he succeeded in contributing toward a social condition marked by misfortune and calamity. Being that he was politically active in his writing, he was able to connect unrelated parts of his career into one cohesive goal. He chose to settle on children's literature, after he realized that political education may be better illustrated at a young age. By supplying political messages in his stories he was advocating minority rights, social discrimination, and environmentalism.

12)  Winston Churchill Exercised Courage
Leader Winston ChurchillWinston Churchill was the victim of humiliation in his early political life. Stuttering as a child and then suffering from isolation as a cabinet member due to opposition toward Hitler, it's a miracle that Winston had any passion for politics. Churchill wound up filling the shoes of Britain's WWII leader, commanding the British Empire into one of their greatest victories. Here was a man who dared to defy one of the most powerful and destructive leaders in history.

Churchill became a dynamic politician and eventually adopted an articulate command of the English language. He had the ability to relate to people of every station of life which made him favorable among diverse audiences. Churchill was an accomplished writer, statesman, political man and soldier. Many of his leadership traits had developed when he worked in the field. As a social reforming man he had a strong sense of his own destiny. Courage is the first virtue in addition to being the most important one in business. Without it innovation and salesmanship fails. Leadership consists of making bold decisions which requires courage and tradition defying ideas.

11)  Howard Schultz and Compassion
Howard Schultz Leader of StarbucksHoward Schultz grew up in the Bay view projects in Brooklyn. Schultz was a man who had always wanted to reach beyond the lifestyle provided by his father, who worked as a truck driver. After earning a football scholarship to Northern Michigan and graduating with a degree in communications, he went on to work for Xerox before coming across the coffee shop, Starbucks, which was small at the time. In the year 1987 he left the company to become the chief executive. Starting with as little as 60 coffee shops, Schultz expanded the company into 16,000 outlets worldwide.

Howard Schultz was not only a leader because he went from rags to riches; it was the leadership traits that he possessed during his presidency. At one time he had received a call telling him that three Starbucks employees in Washington, D.C. had been shot and killed after having recently been employed. What he chose not to do said something about character. He didn't immediately call up a public relations department or lawyer. Schultz ended up going to Washing, D.C. to speak with the victims' families to apologize and shed tears alongside them. Howard Schultz was a leader that people wanted to work for due to his compassionate heart and level of respect.

Leaders who graduate from business schools or major in politics are taught to lead with their heads and not their conscience. They are expected to be strategic instead of kind and compassionate. Empathy is social glue that holds a community together. It's time for leaders to value and embrace compassion in order to grow and expand toward something greater than what was.

10)  Jim Carrey and Spirituality
Box office hit Jim Carrey had initially lived in poverty as a child. Carrey suffered from chronic depression throughout his youth and adult which consisted of extreme highs and lows. He underwent a constant state of despair and took prescription medication some which helped him in dealing with depression. Carrey also went through psychotherapy in order to cope with his problems.

Studying iconic figures and recognizing that they experience some of the same detrimental feelings of that despair brings us is a walking example that even the most difficult hardships in life can be overcome and channeled into something much greater. Carrey now copes with his depression through spirituality. Spiritual leadership is extremely important and should be to all of us. Leaders understand the importance of meaning and feeling as if they have a purpose in both their work and lifestyle. Spirituality is an elusive term with no operational definition. If we were to analyze its experience and manifestations, we will see how important it is to leadership. By learning what truly drives individuals, leading them successfully is much easier.

Jim Carrey and Spirituality

9)  Andrew Carnegie and Empathy
Leader Andrew CarnegieCarnegie is acknowledged as a man who stood up for the working class. His career started out with knowing what it was like to have a father work hard and reap less than what he deserved. He witnessed his mother borrow money for the family before they began their lives anew in America. He loathed that his parents fell victim to financial restraint. Historians look at Andrew Carnegie as a man who had fought battles within himself due to childhood poverty. He was a man of humble beginnings who became well known for his worldly contributions. Carnegie became an icon who fought diligently for the working class people.

The empathy that Carnegie possessed toward the community was a valued currency. Possessing empathy as a leader creates a bond of trust. This provides leaders with an insight as to what others are thinking and feeling within a community. Empathy is having the capacity to put one's self into the shoes of another and recognizing their concern in your own decision making.

8)  Ursula Burns and Authenticity
Ursula Burns is the CEO of XeroxUrsula Burns is currently the CEO of Xerox, a Fortune 500 company. Here is a woman who spoke to her graduating class at Rochester institute of Technology and explained to them that at her own commencement, there wasn't anyone who had predicted she would become CEO of a $17 billion dollar industry. Burns was raised by a single mother and grew up in the projects, a primary example of overcoming adversity and authentic corporate leadership. Burns is a CEO strives to work in coordination with her company. Co-workers are quick to speak out in commenting on her ability to make time for everyone even with a busy schedule.

The strongest leaders possess authenticity and a significant amount of community awareness. Leadership has changed throughout the years and possessing realness makes Burns one of the most admired CEOs and leaders. Having overcome a difficult childhood she possesses a deep understanding and connection with others which is essential in leading a product name.

7)  Liz Burns Fights Calamity
Liz Burns adult workshopLiz Burns spent her childhood watching her parents struggle with a longstanding drug addiction. She recalls loving them dearly as a child should and admiring their intelligence, yet, constantly witnessed their inability to guide her due to their drug dependency. Burns is now a well known inspirational speaker having graduated from Harvard University, now the founder and director of 'Manifest Living' which provides workshops to adults. This workshop which is for the purpose of empowering individuals in creating extraordinary lives for themselves, regardless of their given circumstances.

Every leader often goes through passages and transformative personal experiences. Some of these passages can be upsetting and downright damaging. As an organization leader, negotiating these passages and channeling them toward success delivers impact. This can help an organization in recruiting and developing new leaders. Burns did exactly that by using her own adversity to build a stronger life for others.

6)  Sarah Jessica Parker Practices Equality
Sarah Jessica ParkerSarah Jessica Parker, known for her star role on "Sex and the City," spent her childhood dependent on welfare in order to survive. As an actress who is honest about her personal struggle, she's taken the time to speak up for the victims of social prejudices. This is a common aversion that tends to affect families who rely on welfare. Parker has made public statements directing her attention toward those make assumptions about people who depend on the state to live comfortably. The actress points out that welfare is for all varieties of people, even those who work hard and have an education. Her words boil down to the actuality that life can be unmanageable toward any caliber.

Sarah Jessica Parker possesses a leadership equality essential in dividing amongst the community evenly. Practicing an open mind is a trait every great leader carries. Equality is the act of collaborating with the community without making passing judgments or acting on preconceived notions. Our greatest societal mentors are not easily influenced by premonition; they are leaders who give all sources of information a chance to speak out.

5)  Ralph Lauren Defies the Odds
Ralph LaurenRalph Lauren wasn't always one of the most prominent in fashion, but a college dropout who ended up working at a clothing store before his major break. Over time Lauren worked as a salesman before investing and building Polo Company. Even in the fiscal year Ralph Lauren brought in approximately $5 billion in revenue. As a Jewish child born in the Bronx he was often teased at school which pushed him to change his name by the age of 16.

It is unfortunate that we live in a culture that places a huge premium on a college degree. Teachers and parents cannot imagine any other possibility for their children. Employers use degrees as a mean to screen job candidates without screening morals or character traits. As a leader, it's important to recognize the significance in universal potential and not only structured curriculum. Leaders are always aware of the possibilities that exist outside of society's rules.

4)  Diligence in Li Ka-Shing
Billionaire and leader Li Ka-ShingLi Ka-Shing created and led his own company into a leading real estate investment company found on the exchange list in the year 1972. Due to his father's death at a young age, Li was forced to leave school before the age of 15. He found a job in a plastics trading company in which he would labor for a total of 16 hours every day. With the knowledge and the work ethic that Li Ka-Shing obtained in the factory he molded himself into one of the wealthiest self-made billionaires throughout all of Asia. He is now worth a total of $30 billion and famous for donating billions of dollars toward his charity organization.

Today's business environment is highly competitive. In order to keep up and stay ahead candidates must possess a strong work ethic. It is accurate to say that success cannot be cheated and working diligently is the only way to obtain results. Li posses self discipline and did so at an early age in order to make a living for his family. The desire to thrive led to a work ritual in large undertakings. Character traits such as perseverance prevail in spite of all obstacles.

3)  Optimism in John Rockefeller
Leader John RockefellerRockefeller was one of six siblings living in a poor family with a job working as an assistant bookkeeper at a small produce firm. He worked day in and day out for a low wage of 50 cents a day until he had founded Standard Oil Company, making him one of history's greatest philanthropists and one of the world's wealthiest people. John Rockefeller was the first man in history and third-richest person in human history with a net worth of billions. There are various characteristics that propelled Rockefeller toward his legend based on his influence.

The people that worked and surrounded John Rockefeller had an innate desire to follow John because of his inspiration toward their happiness. He made his peers believe they were capable of doing whatever they set their mind to, as long as they persevered. Through optimism and great energy Rockefeller created a sense of teamwork, all deriving from a passion that drove the workers behind his own success.

2)  Oprah Winfrey and the Gift of Communication
Leader Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey's early life was filled with emotional turmoil. Oprah Winfrey reported that she was sexually molested at an early age and held the job as a housemaid. At the age of 17 she got her first break when she won Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant before she began working as a journalist. Oprah vowed to herself at a young age that her life would turn around by the time she was an adult, and she did exactly so by becoming a leader and one of the most revolutionary icons and philanthropists.

The leadership qualities in Oprah are apparent in the way that she communicates and empathizes with all walks of life. She has the inept ability to look at an issue from different angles and hold varying perspectives in order to better understand and sympathize. Oprah has a gift when it comes to communicating and a relaxed persona which makes her audience feel as if they are part of an intimate and personal conversation. Self-reflective and openly admitting to many of her shortcomings, she finds the best in others and leads by example.

1)  Chris Gardener Took Risks
Leader Chris GardenerChris Gardener was raised by a loving mother and dealt with an abusive father who loomed throughout his childhood. Chris's mother instilled in him that self belief was the motivating factor behind every achievement. By the age of 8, his mother was convicted of attempting to kill his stepfather by burning their house down. She spent the next four years in prison and at once her disappearance was unexplained toward Gardener and his siblings until they discovered the reason behind her imprisonment a year later. He bounced around from home to home although he still managed to graduate from high school in 1972.

After the birth of his son he abandoned the security of having a sales job to work in a broker trainee program. Chris took the risk of leaving without a salary or prospects. During the process of knocking on doors and seeking trainee jobs without a college degree, his wife abandoned him and his son. With the refusal to veer his dream he continued to interview at various firms until he was accepted into a training program at Dean Wittier. Chris caught the attention of a visitor who claimed that he had hired Gardener due to his desire to be wealthy, not based on his credentials. Gardener ended up founding Gardner Rich & Co. with the help of backing from his peers. This soon prospered into a wealthy niche servicing public pension funds.

Great leadership qualitiesSome of the most innovative organizations are the ones that attract the most creative people, the organizations that encourage the community to take their own creative risk. Using this method of innovation allows people to use resources playfully and integrate them with new ideas. It doesn't only give leaders the time to pursue given projects; it provides them with the opportunity to celebrate them. There are risks to these given methods and successful companies are willing to take them. By practicing enthusiasm at all times persistence can be developed. There are many who refer to themselves as leaders but great leaders are in a category of their own. There is a common thread that can be distinguished in great leaders. Traits can be measured but their own success comes down to one idea, the impact of their accomplishments. It isn't their characteristic which makes them noteworthy it is the way that their lead has impacted the feeling in others.

Anyone can become a great leader although most people choose not to. The majority of humanity accepts defeat because it is easy. Success requires will and quitting is a temptation too many are confronted with. Successful leaders such as these do not quit until the job is done. Time isn't spent complaining about obstacles that stem from the challenge because creative solutions are comprised. It isn't how they climb the wall to reach the other side, it only matters that they get to the other side. Time is often spent evaluating creative solutions by determining what the most efficient strategy is. Ultimately, it comes down to resolving and conquering the challenge in order to obtain success. All great accomplishments that have been achieved were brought on by an indomitable persistence. Inspirational ideas lead to advancements because self limitations and humanistic reasoning is abandoned. By discovering passion, exploring desire and overcoming obstacles the rewards are immeasurable.





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