Huffington Post: On Leadership ~ Just Borrow My Ladder

John Hope Bryant

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Fear is the ultimate prosperity killer. This was the basic premise of my bestselling business book, LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead In A Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass).

I went on to say there were two things in the world, "love and fear… and what you don't love, you feared." I concluded by suggestng that "most of our so-called leaders today were actually leading by fear."

What I didn't consider when I wrote this in the book was the possibility that the internal threats of fear, far outweighed the external threats of fear (bosses, government, private sector, societal leaders, etc). What we fear most, is actually ourselves.

Getting over our own sometimes paralyzing fear and insecurities, is key to finding success and long-term stability in our lives. I remember as a child, all my friends just wanted to get rich, but I wanted to become wealthy. At an early age, I knew the difference, but that didn't just 'happen' to me either. It was intentional. My mother told me she loved me every day of my young life, and over time I began to believe it. Today I may have problems and challenges, but basic self esteem is not one of them. I believe in myself, and this along with a vision for myself has proven to be my ultimate strategic advantage in life.

I believed in myself because my mother told me so, and I believed in what I could do and who I could become because my father showed me so. My dad has owned a business for more than 50 years now, and my earliest memory of him was meeting a payroll out of the front door of our home in South Central Los Angeles.

My dad wore a suit two to three times a week growing up. A banker showed up in my inner-city classroom and taught us financial literacy, or what I now call 'the global language of money.' He wore a suit too. And so, of course when I was ten years old, I wanted to wear a suit.

All of this was intentional in my life, so I have a great deal of compassion today for those who did not have the benefit of a loving and supportive mother and father growing up. Half of success in life today I believe is simply self-esteem and self-confidence.

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