The moment we come into this world, we have a purpose. Many strive to find their purpose while not understanding it’s not about job position, money, success and fame. Our purpose is so much more than that. Most of us want to make a difference in this world. We want to know at the end of day, we matter. So, how do we make a difference? How will we be remembered? These questions define the concept of positive leadership.

Everyone searches for a purpose and the purpose is so simple. To achieve our purpose, all we have to do is lead by example each day based on our personal values and interactions. Great leaders exhibit integrity, honesty, empathy and warmth. When one sets a positive example, others will naturally take notice and follow. Whether they tell you or not, they are watching. As you lead, the team around you follows while becoming stronger over time. That team might be your co-workers, family or friends who are intricately woven into your life. Be careful of negative leadership because that same team may follow you down the wrong path.

Leadership is not about the grade level of your job description title. It’s the example you set in all aspects of your life. When you raise your hand, take the job and show up for work, it’s about giving 100% and then some. Good is never really good enough when we should strive to be better each day. Leadership means that you are counted on and are willing to carry the burden that sometimes exists. Some shy away from responsibility because it takes effort and hard work to be a great leader. But most of us want a sense of direction that will allow us to “Lead the Way, All the Way!”

Your presence matters! The people on your left and right are directly affected by the result of your actions. Their success depends on your piece of the puzzle and your one piece makes everything come together. As a co-worker, manager, business owner, parent and friend, you have a job to do and standard to uphold. That means you are going to get knocked down as you make a difference in peoples’ lives through your leadership efforts. Learn from the hardships and get back in the fight. The people on your team will appreciate your ability to do what’s right and are counting on you to make a difference.

The burden of leadership requires hard choices to be made based on difficult situations with little information. And, sometimes the right decisions will not always work out in our personal favor. It’s not about our own agenda but about what is right for our company, customers and employees. With that, good leaders are expected to make tough decisions. Important to success is making decisions based on the situation. Hence, a cookie cutter approach to leading is not the best action. If you’re not willing to make a leadership decision, you might need to follow or get out of the way.

A great leader must act even though the majority may not agree. But remember, tough leadership decisions do not always have happy endings. While some will praise your decision, others will find fault with your logic. You may not be patted on the back for doing the right thing. However, at the end of the day, you have to live with yourself and the choices you’ve made as you find your purpose in life.

Remember to smile through the good times and bad in work and personal situations. Without humor, we take life too seriously and sometimes forget our purpose. As Bill Cosby says, “Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” Even through the worst of times, try to smile and acknowledge the good. Lead others through humor, laughter and a warm smile.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can fix everything from a leadership perspective. Know that you can’t always fix someone else’s problems. What you can do as a leader is to let others know you support them, believe in them and are there to help them be 100% successful. Some will lead and some will follow. Take these opportunities to strengthen your character and instill confidence while giving honest, transparent opinions. As Dr. Seuss says, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

As a business owner, manager, co-worker, teacher or parent, leadership can be tough. Being tired, overworked and having tons to do can seem overwhelming. Be kind to yourself so you can be a better person and leader. Exercise, eat healthy, take periodic vacations and enjoy your family, friends and work. Take a step at a time and drive on to do what must be done. Get up every morning with a commitment to be better each day. Set the example, share and shoulder responsibilities with your team. Always do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. That is what leadership is all about. Lead the Way, All the Way!

-Dina Schultz