Traits of a Leader

True Leaders Come in Pink Tennis Shoes and Jeans

Christina Parker asked:

True leaders are mentors with a servant’s heart. These are not just pretty words to fill out space. If you are NOT a true servant with a true passion for helping people you will not be a true leader in the real sense of the word. It is that simple. You may be doing well and have a list of people listening to your advices, but that alone does not make you a leader. People are not numbers you can just add on your email list or connection networks. They are people with dreams and goals like you. As a true leader, it should be your goal to lead people to where they want to be.

Being a leader, is not something you have to be born with. You can develop the qualities of a leader by being a good follower. True leaders, however, are not average people, they must be above average. I mean by this, that if you are an everyday average person, you are most likely a follower, not a leader. Once you become a leader, your thoughts, actions, and achievements will be above average, because you will be reacting differently than the average person. So what does a leader look like?

Terry and Erin are two 11 year old girls that have started a not for profit organization called “Friends Helping Friends.” The organization raises awareness and money to fight childhood cancer. They are a true depiction of leadership in its purest form. I understand that we typically do not think of leadership in jeans and pink tennis shoes, but maybe that is part of the problem. We often expect to see leadership in a certain “format” and we miss all of the magical leaders that have the potential of changing the world. We walk right by the ones that would most likely soar above any of the others because we have a narrow predetermined vision of what it “should” be.

The girls have decided to take the reality of their life, learn from it and focus on others so that they can make a difference for the generation that will walk after them. Before they were a decade old, they had already set their legacy in motion. Three of the four children that are involved with the program have terminal cancer. Their dream of life and what they and their families thought that it could be have been shattered by the hard and cruel facts of reality. They could choose to get lost in that reality and lose their dreams, and yet they are finding the empowerment in the journey. That is right! They have chosen to NOT be a VICTIM but have made a decision to embrace empowerment. The journey is the part of life where we must consciously choose to capture the lessons from the darkest of our experiences and focus outward on other people. This is the trait of a real leader. This is where the reward happens. Not just a reward for you and the individual that you focus on but also with all of the people that they interact with. It is a true ripple effect.

These girls have inspired a foundation called “Friends Helping Friends” ( They are dedicated to raising awareness of childhood cancer, raising research dollars for it and identifying children in their county that are experiencing it so that they can teach them how to lead in jeans and pink tennis shoes too! In the last two years they have raised countless spirits, pulled a community together, inspired numerous other businesses to get involved and have raised over $75,000. Beyond that, they are inspiring a movement of people. They have a level of influence that most leaders only dream of. When they enter a room, it is like a magnet. People stop and are automatically mesmerized. Not because of their lack of hair or the hand tremors from the variety of medicine cocktails that they have to take daily. Not by far! They have a special twinkle in their eye and energy in their step. They chose to see the light in the darkest of closets and the good in the shadiest of people. They truly have a different perspective on life and appreciate and value all that come across their path. Like I said, a true depiction of leadership in its purest form.

Excuse me. I must go now. I need to go and find a cute pair of pink tennis shoes and play webkins with the girls. If I am observant enough, I might learn a thing or two about leadership!

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