This is a photo from my very first day, of my very first YGL (Forum of Young Global Leaders) experience — our Annual Meeting — in Zermatt, Switzerland, back in 2005. Here, I was simply preparing to work out prior to the full day’s serious business agenda took off, but today I feel as though this is precisely how I should be dressed as an alumni of YGL, for the new “business” of YGL here at the 2011 Summer Davos meeting of the Forum of Young Global Leaders in Dalian, China. We are in route to a “martial arts” center, and all have been told to “dress casual.” That means we are going to be sweating (smile).

The YGL experience is one of strengthening muscles one may have not used often, or maybe even used at all.

It is about growing mentally and intellectually yes, but also emotionally, spiritually (mission in life and living for something larger than self), and now physically it appears too.

The YGL experience is a holistic approach to creating leaders for the 21st century. Whole people, who see the world in more complete, inclusion fashion. Individuals who lead with deeper dimensions of their soul, and not simply a focus on the pure ambition of life. Using a phrase I coined as a YGL early in my tenure, “you cannot call yourself a leader, unless you are prepared to serve.”

I am honored to be associated.

Wish me luck (smile).

John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc., author of Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business book LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability.

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