Over the course of my career, I have met countless people who think leadership is only a noun; that a “leader” is simply something you are, based on your place in an organization. These individuals are at the pinnacle of government, industry, and nonprofit organizations. They have titles that mark them out as a manager, a director, a supervisor, or an executive. They view their place in the world as static—as a “leader” who is in charge of people or processes or operations.
But here’s the truth: that’s not what leadership is. Leadership isn’t about a role or a title, and just because someone is designated as a leader doesn’t mean they are one. Instead, leadership is active; it’s vigorous and dynamic and energetic. It’s not limited to people in high-ranking positions, or restricted to those with money or power. Instead, it’s available to all people with character and determination—and it is deeply, deeply necessary.
From poverty and homelessness to violence and corruption, we often see challenges in the world around us and ask, “Why doesn’t someone do something?” We look to people with more experience, or people with more influence, or people with more time or resources than ourselves to step up and find answers to some of our biggest problems. But what if we didn’t wait for others? What if we stepped up, and looked for ways to employ our skills in order to solve the biggest and most complex problems of our time?
That’s what leaders do.
When I first met Dean and Carrie years ago, it was clear that they were leaders. Dean had already broken barriers in the private sector and foreign policy through his unwavering determination and incredible talent, forging a remarkable career in law and international diplomacy and developing a reputation for insight and perseverance. Carrie had built an impressive legacy in social action through her own personal magnetism and go-getting style; after trying to raise $6,000 to help six organizations, Carrie ended up being given not one million but two million dollars—and turned that success into The Global Good Fund, which helps social entrepreneurs all over the world.
Carrie and Dean are living examples that leadership isn’t just about being at the top of your game, but rather about bringing others up to amplify their impact. After all, there’s no doubt that the authors of this book possess the qualities to be personally successful. They are grounded, with the kind of authenticity and integrity that keeps them focused on their values. They are gifted, with natural skills that help them succeed in the service of others. They are constantly growing, with an unending desire to learn, improve, and expand their impact. They show from their incredible stories that you don’t need to begin with power and money and influence to leave a positive mark on the world, and that true leadership isn’t only about who we are, but what we do.
What makes Carrie and Dean so special is they don’t just advocate for leadership; they live it. It emanates from them, transforming the people around them. It expands to connect with others, creating a larger force for good in the world. Through their work, Carrie and Dean are committed to making change at scale by sharing their own understanding and expertise and helping others realize their potential as changemakers, trailblazers, and citizen statespeople.
That’s why this isn’t just a book about leadership—it’s a book about how to become a citizen statesperson. Through examples and exercises and discussion, Dean and Carrie take you on a journey that will help you ignite your spark of leadership, build your network and your expertise, and leverage your skills and resources to change the world. In the pages that follow, Carrie and Dean show not only how they were able to make their extraordinary impact, but how you can make yours. They encourage you to maximize your potential. They inspire you to find better ways to serve your community, your country, and your world. And they teach you how to take the concrete steps necessary to turn ideas into action.
I hope that you find this book as exciting as I do. I know you will be as grateful for Dean and Carrie’s example and wisdom as I am. And I am certain that, with this book in hand, you will continue to do everything in your power to make a difference—by doing something that makes a difference, with people who make a difference, at a time that makes a difference.
You’re in good hands—and I can’t wait to see what you do next.
-John C. Maxwell
New York Times Bestselling Author
Adapted from the foreword to Impact the World by Carrie Rich and Dean Fealk © 2022 Carrie Rich and Dean Fealk