9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog

Where automotive meets digital marketing.


It’s Not What We Do, It’s Who We Inspire

Leaders often focus on how best to lead.

Their thoughts and energies put into saying the perfect thing, creating the perfect business plan or making the best decision.

This is not what being a leader is about. A leader inspires others to lead.


MisfitCon – Leaders Inspiring Leaders

Last week I had the opportunity to attend MisfitCon for the third time in three years. This is my annual going to the well for inspiration and energy. In the past, it taught me how to build relationships in the digital age and how to fill a room (not a list).

I learned this year that leaders are not those who lead but those who inspire others to lead. If we inspire “micro-leaders,” the world will change.

As misfit ringleader AJ Leon noted, in 100 years there will be no statues built for us. In 500 years, no one will know we ever existed.

“I'm not thinking about legacy work,” he said. “I'm thinking about this exact moment. If we truly want to leave a legacy, it will not be the things we build but those we inspire to push the world in the direction we want to see it move.”

Focus more on helping others lead rather than trying to figure out how to be the perfect leader.

Encourage Leaders to be Weird

In inspiring other leaders, the most important thing we can do is encourage them to stay weird.

Often it is assumed that leaders are cut from a similar cloth and have similar goals in mind. We are afraid of being different and give up our uniqueness when it is our time to lead.

As was evident in this week's event, true leaders are those who are different. Those who try leading in a completely new way.

When we stay weird and lead in a new way, we blaze the trail for others to follow suit. We enable others to lead in their own, unique way.

At MisfitCon, we heard from an amazingly diverse group of people who all lead in their own way:

  • Adam Brault, who leads a software company completely focused on people
  • Gary Greff, who is saving his rural North Dakota community by building the largest sculptures in the world
  • Breifne Earley, who is becoming the 10th person ever to cycle around the world, not because he's super buff, but because he is dedicated to finishing a goal
  • And many more Misfits

The Journey is About the People

It's often said that the journey is more important than the destination. In business, we worry about the product and forget to care about the people along the way.

We should.

The people around us are the most important compass to help us arrive at our destination.

Surrounding yourself with leaders, inspiration, weirdness, and visionaries opens your mind to new possibilities. We may not always have those collaborators in our business or community, but we can connect with them online, read about them in books or seek out events like MisfitCon to meet them in person.

Most importantly, if we do not see leaders around us, pushing us to do more, we can do something about it. We can empower others to become those leaders.

If we are the average of our five closest friends, let's make our friends, colleagues, and neighbors leaders. Let's help everyone be weird and create what they want to see in the world.

Most importantly, let's all work on building the world we want to live in.