Why I Choose To Be A Leader

A man choosing to lead a group across a mountain
Photo by Jehyun Sung / Unsplash

During a recent conversation, I found myself challenged to define why I am passionate about leadership. In my head, it all made perfect sense, however, at that moment I struggled to verbalize an answer. This challenge has led me to construct and declare the conscious motives behind why I choose to be a leader.

I choose to be a leader to have a positive impact on others, help others grow, and to steward the gifts and opportunities I have been given.

To have a positive impact

My first reason for choosing to be a leader is that I desire to have a positive impact on others. I recognize that the words "positive impact" may sound trite. However, allow me an opportunity to explain. I define impact as the multiplication of the magnitude of positive results and the number of people affected. With this formula in mind, you can achieve great impact by touching a few people's lives in significant ways or you could affect millions of lives and make them slightly better.

I've always been fascinated with the concept of traffic optimization. Imagine an intersection of a busy street and the opportunity that exists to optimize the flow of traffic. Through analysis of traffic patterns and experimentation, a traffic engineer might identify and implement improvements which in turn provide everyone who drives through that area an extra 10 seconds back to their lives. Over many years and with many people, this person can save a significant amount of time for humanity. What a gift!

A traffic intersection representing how you could improve the lights and provide positive impact to many.
Photo by Deb Dowd / Unsplash

Whether I solve small problems for many people or I solve large problems for a few, I desire to create a positive impact. This directly relates to why I choose to be a leader as leadership provides the opportunity to impact others. Leaders drive positive impact for themselves as well as others and the butterfly effect that comes from a leader's positive impact is compelling. This is why impact is one of my core values

While on the subject of traffic optimization, I'm excited to see how machine learning and AI create improvements to traffic flows in the years to come. Check out this experiment by UC Berkeley if you find this idea fascinating.

To help others grow

My wife homeschools our daughter and recently they were defining what characteristics make something living or not. There are seven traits that are common to all living things, however, the ability to grow and adapt is of particular interest to me. You have likely heard it said, "If you're not growing, your dying". I agree with this statement because if you aren't moving forward, you are passively regressing. "Maintenance" is just a period of growth with a subsequent period of regression.

A picture of a plant growing representing how growth is a sign of progress
Photo by Sushobhan Badhai / Unsplash

This leads to my second reason that I choose to be a leader which is that I have the desire to grow and help others grow. Built into me is a belief that through purposeful pursuit we can improve in all areas of life. I want to go through life gaining ground. I don't want to try to maintain the status quo or take a stance of apathy. Instead, I will challenge others in their growth and ask that they might do the same for me.

The specific ways in which I help others grow are not necessarily important to me, but rather that I am participating alongside others in growth. This could be growth in their leadership, various soft or hard skills, their relationships, their financial situation, etc.

To steward my gifts and opportunities

I believe that God created me and gave me life on this earth for a purpose. I also believe I have a responsibility to steward the gifts and opportunities I have been given. I am the son of an entrepreneur and have worked beside my father from a young age. Some fathers teach their sons sports; instead, I was taught about money and business. This provided me with the opportunity to learn lessons that others may not have.

I believe that since I have the gifts and abilities to lead, I have a responsibility to do so to the capacity that I am entrusted with. It would be a disservice to God, others, and myself if I do not maximize my gifts and opportunities through the service of others. A stewardship mentality drives me to serve.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." - Luke 12:48

Is leadership my reward or responsibility?

People are drawn to leadership for one of two fundamental reasons. The first is because of what they stand to gain by being a leader. They lead because of how it makes them look, the power they hold, the money they can earn, or even the ability to choose what they do (or don't do) for work. The second is driven by their desire to serve others. Patrick Lencioni in his book "The Motive" calls this dichotomy reward-centered leadership vs responsibility-centered leadership.

When I began my professional career I worked alone. Although I desired that one day I would be entrusted with running my father's company, I did not set out with leadership in mind. Instead, my focus was centered on working hard and executing my job skillfully. Through the committed service of both customers and coworkers not only did I gain trust, but I was also given opportunities to exercise leadership.

Service has been at the center of my leadership path and it will continue to be the motivation for my leadership.


I choose to lead because I want to have a deeply positive impact, I have the desire to help others grow, and I believe I have a responsibility to be a good steward of my gifts and opportunities. When I get to the end of my life I want to have changed others' lives through my leadership.

I'd love to hear your from you about what draws you to leadership.  Send me a message here.