Last week I met a friend, Jason Barger, a young dynamic author and speaker for coffee at Stauffs (great place to meet!). He has written two books, “Step Back From The Baggage Claim” and ReMember. I would encourage you to go to the highlighted titles and check them out at Amazon, both are good short reads, with great stories that are sure to inspire you!
One thing we both shared is a love of reading and we discussed how impactful reading has been on our careers. I asked Jason to share with me the process he used in writing each book. I have always been interested in the writing process and how authors craft these stories. This was the melody line for me. Jason has read voraciously for years, learning, growing and mastering his craft and writing consistently to gain the clarity he needed to be the author he is today. As he said, there were days, weeks and years when he was writing for an audience of ONE. Writing is a real labor of love! It took practice, effort, 4 and 5 day reading and writing retreats in the Hocking Hills and never giving in to that little voice in his head that was telling him to do anything but write!
I have been reading and studying great leaders for over 30 years and one of the common denominators I find is their love of reading. I’m not talking about just any leader, I mean really great leaders that have built great companies, led armies, built foundations and cured diseases. They invariably point to a book that inspired them, a lesson that stuck with them or being able to see themselves in the crucibles these leaders faced in their careers. You’ve heard it before… Leaders are Readers!
My brother Jim is a Region President for Huntington and is retiring next year after serving Huntington for 30+ years. He has had a wonderful career and is a respected leader in our community. One thing is for sure; my library is filled with books that he has passed on to clients as well as many friends and me. He loves history, biographies of the men and women who made our country great and those innovative stories of entrepreneurs who went against the grain and built great businesses. I think he would tell you that the breadth and depth of his reading has served him well in life and work. Leaders Are Readers!
Part of the Built To Lead Process is challenging our clients to read and you can bet we get push back from clients who tell us they don’t have the time to read. I recently saw a picture of Les Wexner (CEO of L Brands) sitting at his desk and there were three stacks of books on his desk. Here is a guy who has his hand in so many projects it would make your head spin. I would be willing to bet that Les Wexner makes time for reading and is a voracious reader. One thing is for sure; he has donated thousands of dollars sponsoring some of our current great authors to speak in Columbus. He clearly recognizes the impact of their work, their writing and is willing to give this gift to our community. Leaders Are Readers!
I can’t see it any other way, I have been a reader my whole adult career and it did not come easy in those early years. It took discipline, effort, time and motivating myself to sit down and read with focus. I was very lucky early on to have met mentors who would not have it any other way; they challenged me to the point that I did not want to disappoint them in their efforts. They modeled to me what I knew I needed to do, be a Life Long Learner! I thank Dr. Tom Meyer, My Football coach and life long friend Mickey Hannon, my wife who bought me books for birthdays, Christmas and encouraged me every step of the way. No, it did not come easy, I had to make time but how could it be any other way, Leaders Are Readers!