So many people write and talk about the inspirational nature of leadership. Although such thoughts have merit, I have long wondered if we overemphasize the inspirational aspects of being a leader to the detriment of underemphasizing the “perspirational” aspects of being a leader. 

That is, we like to talk about the glory, the soaring rhetoric, the passion that one person can infuse into situations. We like to idealize—and maybe idolize—people who do those things. 

Yet being a leader demands a higher standard of behavior and an attention to detail that can be isolating. It’s often unglamorous. When you’re leading the charge, you’re often at the tip of the spear—sometimes making the most impact, but also frequently encountering the most resistance. 

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Quite simply, being a leader day in and day out is hard.

It’s much easier to go with the flow. It’s much easier to walk past what should be corrected, to accept work that isn’t good enough. 

All of us have had those moments. All of us, in some moment or another, have avoided taking responsibility. 

In those moments, we weren’t leaders. 

Being a leader inherently requires you to abandon such behaviors. It requires a sense of courage to be the lone soul who’s objecting to the current way of doing things and suggesting a different path. 

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