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"LEADERS DON'T JUST GO TO THE NEXT LEVEL - THEY GROW TO THE NEXT LEVEL!"

Todd Bishop

FREAKS OF NATURE LEADERSHIP

There are millions of leaders across the globe. Some are highly successful, but most are just every day, ordinary people. But then there is a category of leaders all on its own - freaks of nature. They are the mysterious, legendary leaders who find a way to excel no matter what the conditions are. They are rare, hard to find, and uncommon. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet are freaks of nature in business. Grant Cardone is a freak of nature in real estate. Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg are freaks of nature in social media expansion & influence. David Crank, Ed Young, and Craig Groeschel are freaks of nature in church leadership. Meg Whitman was a freak of nature at eBay taking them from 5 billion to 8 billion dollars in annual sales. All of these individuals are the unicorn, the abnormal, in their industry. They were, or still, are the best of the best, or as I call them freaks of nature.


What makes a leader the very best? Everyone wants to excel, but not everyone does. The question must be answered. What makes a leader the best? You see different leaders have different qualities or styles, and yet they still were freaks of nature. I have had the privilege to spend time with some great leaders and I have also had the rare opportunity to spend time with some freaks of nature in leadership.

YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THE TEAM IS EMPOWERED TO TAKE RISK, EXPECTED TO TAKE RISK AND, AT ALL COSTS, EXPECTED NOT TO BE SATISFIED WITH WHAT WE'VE DONE SO FAR. - ARNE SORENSON, MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL

After years of examining hundreds of freaks of nature in leadership I have narrowed down their shared qualities to three. Yes, that's right, just three. Some of the other qualities were specific to an individual, but the three crossed over into each freak of nature.


First, these freaks of nature had an unwavering mission. It does not matter what individual you look at they had a mission, an objective that they kept aiming for. In 1985, Steve Jobs was thrown out of the company he started. Jobs went on to found another company. Apple acquired that company in 1997 and Steve Jobs became the CEO. He led that company to move from a struggling tech company to a global giant in tech. Why? Steve Jobs personal mission was, "To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind." He had an unwavering mission. That mission started in his parent's garage in Los Altos.


I am not sure where the unwavering mission comes from, but I believe it has been hardwired on the inside of every person. God has put something there for you to accomplish. The ones that become freaks of nature in leadership accomplish it even when things get difficult.

I ALWAYS THINK WE’RE 30 DAYS FROM GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. THAT’S NEVER CHANGED. IT’S NOT A FEAR OF FAILURE. IT’S REALLY A FEAR OF FEELING COMPLACENT, AND I DON’T EVER WANT THAT TO SETTLE IN. - JEN-HSUN HUANG, NVIDIA

Second, these freaks of nature had an unquenchable motivation. Oh, this is a big one. The strength of every leader is their motivation - it is unquenchable. What wakes you up in the morning? What keeps you awake at night? Motivation is the fuel to your mission. You can't run from it. You can't ignore it. You can't suppress it. This motivation is always there.


For my wife, Mary, and I, it is "to change the culture of Long Island." As pastors, we spend our time thinking of how we can move people closer to God. "How do we get their attention?" In the first three years of the church we started it was difficult. In fact, we thought we would have to quit, but there was this internal motivation. We could not escape it or run from it. It was there, unquenchable. The freak of nature leaders can't run from their calling. To be honest, if you can run from it, it may not have been the right motivation in the first place.


Finally, these freaks of nature had an unexplainable drive. This is all about hard work. Listen to some of this data I read recently from the 2019 Rich Habits Study (Tom Corley):

  • 44% of the wealthy worked 11 hours more each week than the non-rich.

  • 86% of the wealthy who had full time jobs, worked 50 hours or more each week, whereas 57% of the non-rich who had full-time jobs worked less than 50 hours each week.

  • 88% of the wealthy took fewer sick days than the non-rich. 65% of the wealthy were working so many hours, in part, because they had 3 sources of income to manage.

  • 45% had 4 sources of income. Only 6% of the non-rich had more than one source of income.

According to the Census Bureau, the average wealthy household (defined by the IRS as the top 20% of income earners in the U.S.) worked five times as many hours as the average poor household. Freaks of nature just seem to work harder than the rest.


There is this unexplainable drive that these successful people have. Mark Cuban did not vacation for the first seven years of his new company way back when. Venus and Serena Williams started at 7 years old hitting tennis balls at 6:00am. Tim Cook starts emailing his employees at 4:30am. Jeffrey Immelt, GE CEO, spent 24 years working 100 hours per week. Elon Musk also puts in 80 to 100 hours per week. These are freaks of nature. They are working while everyone else just smashes the snooze button on their alarm clock.


Everyone wants what everyone else has, but nobody wants to do what they have done to get what they have gotten. How true is that? Every freak of nature has an obsession with what they are doing - it is unwavering, unquenchable, and unexplainable - which is probably why these greats have become unstoppable leaders.


So, the question has to be, do you want to be a freak of nature in your industry? Then, no matter what field you are in, you will have to do what no one else is doing. If average is your goal, then just do the average. But if you want to be a freak of nature, then do what no one is doing where no one is doing it.


Michael Jordan would take hundreds of shots per day in the summer, off-season. His coach, Phil Jackson, believes it was Jordan's hard work ethic that made him the G.O.A.T. The same would be said of 49ers great Jerry Rice. Rice after every catch would run to the end zone. Other receivers would jog back to the quarterback, but not rice. His goal was the end zone on every catch. He still holds 36 NFL records even after his retirement in 2006. A freak of nature.


Here's my advice: Let your leadership freak flag fly. Get out there are do what no one else is doing so you can make the difference no one else is making!


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