When my youngest child was born, I asked my three older children for a favor. I asked them to refrain from telling the baby in the family that she couldn’t fly. “Let us see what she can do if she truly believes anything is possible.”
Research Favors Nature
In this Inc. article written by Logan Chierotti he estimates that 30-60% of leadership is heritable.
An author from The Guardian quotes extensive research that while leadership is a skill, being born with certain natural traits, can make a great leader.
From HBR, Graham Jones states you need a Super Performing Intelligence (SPI) in today’s fast paced leadership environment.
Don’t Let Nature Stand in Your Way!
- Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
- Oprah Winfrey was publicly fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore for getting “too emotionally invested in her stories.”
- Steven Spielberg was rejected multiple times by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.
- Soichiro Honda’s unique vision got him ostracized by the Japanese business community.
- Vera Wang was passed over for the editor-in-chief position at Vogue.
- Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.”
- When Sidney Poitier first auditioned for the American Negro Theatre, the director told him to stop wasting his time and go get a job as a dishwasher.
- As a child, Albert Einstein struggled and had some difficulty communicating and learning in a traditional manner.
- In one of Fred Astaire’s first screen tests, an executive wrote: “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.”
What Does this Mean for Leaders?
Nothing is more important in leadership than believing in your own potential and then in seeing the possibility in others. If you research the subject of nature versus nurture, and you see it as a welcome challenge versus an obstacle, you should follow the path you are on because you are already leading whether you know it or not.
Alignment between dreams, values, and inspired ideas is where great leaders are born. Regardless of what the world says is possible due to age or heredity, what matters is intention and alignment with that intention. It may be a longer road, depending on your nature, but it is possible. From that place of continual growth, true leaders make the impossible, possible for themselves and for others.
There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky, And you ask “What if I fall?” Oh but my darling, What if you fly? – Erin Hanson
While she never sprouted wings in the literal sense, my baby did marry a man from New Zealand and I recently traveled there to welcome another beautiful grandchild into the world. There is nothing like holding a new baby to spark questions of nature versus nurture and the importance of having big dreams. Whether you are born with it, or you create what is necessary through applying yourself, you don’t need a title to lead, but you do need to believe that can. You know better than anyone how to nurture your nature.