Was I meant to be a leader?

What is the Meaning of Life?

People have pondered “the meaning of life” since life itself began. Even after all of these years, “why?” is still many people’s favorite question.

“Why is this happening to me?”
“Why am I stuck in this place?”
“Why does this lead to that?”

Why, why, why? Many people will come to many different conclusions regarding broad questions about life. I won’t be the one to spin down the rabbit hole of existence, but I do want to touch a bit on purpose in this life.

All of you reading this were brought here to Earth and have been allowed to define your life. You get to decide where you place your purpose.

As a leader, I often feel like my purpose is to help people achieve their goals. That’s the most straightforward way to put what I do daily. I listen, comprehend, target, strategize, restrategize; this is just one of my purposes in life.

I have chosen where I wish to place my purpose in life. I’ve always wanted to be a good father, grandfather, husband, and friend. I’ve always wanted to be a good coach, business partner, and mentor. These are the relationships I place my purpose in by steadily bringing value to the table.

Each of us has a different meaning, purpose, and a different group of people, places, and things to invest our time and energy into. From there, we find common ground at investing in a collective future.

Remember, every meaning of life is both beautiful and necessary. The strongest teams have been built on differences.

I Wasn’t Born a Leader, So How Can I Invest in Leadership?

No one is born into leadership; it’s a myth. Leadership is chosen, not given. Even if you feel like you “fell into leadership,” leadership did not choose you. YOU are making the choices. You are choosing to show up. You choose leadership in everything that you do, including where and how your leadership impact is implemented.

That’s part of why I believe anyone can be a leader; anyone can choose to show up and step up to bat when needed.

You all know I love Winston Churchill. I think he’s one of the greatest testaments to leadership of all time, but even Churchill wasn’t just a “natural-born leader.” His dedication to leadership was revealed as time progressed, and Churchill continued to show up for the ones he led in battle.

If we wake up every day and commit to living in a way that pushes the idea of growth, we are making a true leadership investment.

Understand How to Be a Better Leader by Nourishing Your Purpose

“What’s my purpose in life? Things would be easier if I just knew my purpose!”

I feel like it takes nearly a lifetime for someone to truly recognize a grand purpose in life.

That being said, I believe people are full of purpose.

However, I don’t view people as having a singular purpose. I believe every individual on this planet has an array of purposes; from enabling people to live better lives through real leadership, to being the one who drops off forgotten lunchboxes, to picking up trash during your morning walks, these tiny purposes drive you forward.

You can’t tangle your life trying to dictate this grand plan for your life. Instead, I encourage you to nourish your purposes. (Yes, all of them.)

Designating just one “purpose” to our lives can, and will, leave us feeling burned out, especially when we realize we aren’t meeting some “grand,” universal expectation.

We were put here to grow, and we were put here to utilize our purposes, our goodness, to help others grow. Part of our designation here is to sow the seeds for future growth.

We shouldn’t be living for repetition, desiring to hit the same goal over and over again. Instead, to invest in the future, we must make a positive difference that impacts today, tomorrow, and every day after that. That is how to be a leader, no matter the size of your goal or the grandness of your life.

Don’t Underestimate the Impact of Leadership.

I do have to say, there are specific opportunities in life where we get to be grand. Like I mentioned earlier, I do strive to be a good husband/father/grandfather, on top of being someone who encourages real leadership.

I make my greatest impact within the things that matter most to me. This is where I feel my life gets to be grand. It isn’t in the grandness of my actions but the consistent investment of care into those roles of my life.

It’s like with keynote speaking. I do several keynotes a year, and for every keynote speech I do, I’m looking to make a true investment of time and energy into the people who have invested their time in me.

The Chess and Checkers of Leadership

Leadership, in many ways, is like playing a game of chess and a game of checkers at the same time.

Reaching Long-Term Goals: Chess

When you’re leading a team or working with a group of people, you have to focus on the long game like you would a good game of chess. Your moves matter because everyone has a destination. Some pieces may move forward, move back, pivot, etc., but their common goals remain the same: get to the other side of the board.

Make Short-Term Leadership Investments: Checkers

At the same time, the impact of leadership is composed of everyday choices. Every day, we make quick, slight movements that overcome the obstacle and progress toward the goal. The movement, the quickness, and the attention to detail all matter, like a game of checkers.

When you’re put in a leadership position, you must understand how each puzzle takes both you and your team to the next step.

Leadership Isn’t About Having the Roadmap; It’s About Knowing How to Navigate the Road.

Leaders don’t know it all. Fields of knowledge don’t just come with the territory of leadership. Contrary to popular belief, good leaders don’t have some secret roadmap that tells them what is right, what is wrong, and the ins and outs of being a leader. Even the best of today’s leaders are everyday people like you and me, committing to making choices that will benefit more than themselves.

I believe the impact of leadership is always an investment in community. I want you to think about the impact of leadership in this light often, viewing every action as a nod to the greater good. When you start looking at your life and your actions as an investment in the world, a genuinely positive outlook is sure to follow.

How to Be a Leader By Caring For Yourself

There’s a euphemism that I feel applies to budding leadership and understanding one’s purpose, and that is: “sweep in front of your front door first.”

This has become the southern way of saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” insinuating that you must invest in your care before you can start helping others.

I think a lot of people view taking care of yourself as ONLY taking care of yourself, and that just isn’t the case. You are capable of making the most impact when you are at your best. Caring that the best version of yourself shows up every day ensures your influence is always coming from a good place.

When you are your best, you inspire the people around you to be their best, and the effect ripples, even if you don’t see the waves.

I promise you, after all of the people I have met, you will never know just how far your impact reaches.

What Really Makes Life Grand?

We do. Our actions do. We are in control of making life as grand as we can imagine.

The “little” investments we make every day can make such a big difference in the quality of our everyday lives. Our lives aren’t about how big we go or how much we accomplish; rather, your life is defined by your commitment to what you believe in, the grandness of it all born from the moments that have mattered the most.


  1. Girmay

    Keep it up it is simply best . You nailed it.

    • Addison Leadership Team

      Thank you for taking the time to read and reply! I sure appreciate you! I think I had great leaders who went before me and who showed me the way. Leadership is the school you never graduate from, but I prefer it that way!

  2. Fred Bakaluba

    I’m blessed with the message about Leadership and I’m happy to teach those I’m working with in our church.

    • Addison Leadership Team

      Fred! Thank you for your humility and your dedication. Giving ourselves to be the lighthouse for the people we care about is so critical these days. Thanks for carrying on!


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As Co-CEO of the largest independent financal services company in North America, John Addison’s skill as a leader was tested and honed daily. He retired in 2015 after taking the company and it’s people to massive heights. He’s just not done helping people get to the top. Today, he’s at the helm of Addison Leadership Group, INC working daily to mentor and educate new leaders.