Get Your Free eBook

GET IT NOW! Rory Vaden eBook

Sign up to receive my Daily Discipline blog posts via e-mail and get a copy of my popular e-mini book of quotes FREE.

Get a free Rory Vaden e-book!

The Limit of a Leader

Your level of influence as a leader is directly limited by the size of your ego.

The larger your ego, the less your chance to reach your leadership potential.

The smaller your ego, the greater your chance to reach your leadership potential.

Ego is a conundrum that many leaders will eventually have to face.

Overcome it, and there is no limit to the impact and influence that you can have.

Because a selfless leader magnetically draws in the loyalty and commitment of a team.

But a self-serving leader inadvertently creates fractures in the team and begins to push people away.

It’s a fascinating dynamic how it all happens.

Because you often become a leader by being a top achiever.

But it’s a case of what got you here as an achiever, won’t get you there as a leader.

An achiever cares about earning respect.

A leader cares about building relationships.

An achiever is used to competing for positioning.

A leader progresses by fostering principles.

An achiever rises by pushing themselves to new heights.

A leader rises by helping others along the path.

It doesn’t mean that a great achiever can’t be a leader.

It just means that they have to lay it all down for the team.

They have to intentionally choose to put the team first.

They have to evolve and adapt and mature to the point that their personal ego dies for the sake of advancing the team.

You can have any level of personal success as long as you have a higher level of selflessness towards serving the team.

Become selfless and do it right and you and your team will reach a whole new level.

Remain self serving though and do it wrong and you may start to find yourself increasingly isolated.

One Devastating Mistake A Leader Should Never Make


If you’re going to become a great leader there is one thing you must never do.

There is one behavior you must immediately extinguish.

There is one habit that you must permanently eradicate.

You cannot talk negatively about other people in their absence to subordinates.


Gossip in general is a very destructive dynamic. But when the leader does it, it can be absolutely devastating.


Because leadership is about building people.

Leadership is about helping to lift people up.

Leadership is about raising people to be better than they were before.

So it’s the leader who is supposed to be the one who believes in the people.

And if I, as the leader, ever share negative feedback or criticism with anyone who isn’t a superior then I am chipping away at that foundation of trust and the fabric that binds the entire team.

Because I’m perpetuating the possibility that leadership doesn’t believe in the people that are here.

And that hurts everyone.

As the leader I may sometimes need help navigating my way through challenging circumstances with the people in my care.

That is fine. But that support should come me from my colleagues or my superiors.

As the leader I may even need to vent or complain a bit about the difficulty I’m having helping other people perform.

That is even fine. But that support must come from my superiors.

In Southwestern, we refer to this rule as “puking up.”

If you have to, you always “puke up.”

You complain “up.”

You get discouraged “up.”

You get frustrated “up.”

But you never puke down.

And you never puke sideways.

You never pollute the thinking of people who aren’t in a place where they can do anything about it.

You never plant a seed of doubt into other team member’s minds about someone else who is on the team.

You never talk poorly (even suggestively) about anyone in the organization to someone that isn’t your superior.

And you never ever talk poorly about another leader to younger team members.

If you’re a team member you talk to a leader.

If you’re a leader you talk to an executive.

If you’re an executive you talk to the CEO.

If you’re the CEO, I guess you talk to God.

But this isn’t about being fake, or pretending, or not being genuine with people who may technically be your friends.

This is just about preserving the integrity and structure of the whole organization for the benefit of everyone.

It’s about permanently cementing the binding force that holds everything and everyone together: belief.

People need to believe.

Subordinates need to believe.

Colleagues need to believe.

The leaders need to believe.

You need to believe.

Every person on the team needs to believe if it’s going to ever be possible for the group to become a championship team.

And that starts by supporting one another by having their back when they’re not around.

It starts with making sure the leaders are building people up and not tearing them down.

Sometimes it starts with what we just need to immediately stop doing.

All You Need to Know About Leadership


The idea of leadership can be intimidating.

But leadership is simple.

To lead is to care.

Leadership is learning to elevate the needs of others to be equal to or above your own.

Leadership then is not a title.

Leadership is not a position.

Leadership is not a crown.

Leadership instead, is a condition of your heart.

It’s a heart that wants to look after others.

It’s a heart that seeks to protect others.

It’s a heart that desires to provide for others.

Leadership is difficult.

But it’s not the act of leading that is that difficult.

It’s the change of focus that’s difficult.

It’s the increase in selflessness that’s challenging.

It’s the worrying less about yourself and more about others that takes intention.

But like many things that are difficult, it comes with a great reward.

It ends up being the person who makes the sacrifice that gets the gift.

The gift of seeing someone else succeed.

The gift of watching someone else grow.

The gift of experiencing something that is bigger than yourself.

That is leadership.

That is human.

That is wonderful.

And that kind of leadership is always worth it.

Don’t be a Quitter

don't be a quitter

There is a problem with many people in the world today.

They are quitters.

They quit too easily.

They give up too soon.

They bail without much of a fight.

Sure they create problems for those left behind once they quit.

They leave their friends, their teams, their employers, their spouses or whoever behind to pick up the pieces.

But the problem isn’t for their team or their employers. Teams and employers will be fine. They’ll find another person. They’ll fill the position.

And people are tough so the ones abandoned usually figure out their challenges and solve their problems.

The problem is for the quitter.

Quitters never learn to fight. They never learn to stick it out. They never learn to overcome challenges.

Most of all, they never learn what they are capable of.

They never give themselves a chance to prove to themselves that they can overcome odds and that they can rise above.

And so they never develop the grit, the perseverance, and the self-confidence to know they can take tough situations and make them better.

They don’t do everything that can be done to fix the problems they are facing.

Instead they just quit.

They give up on their dream.

They give up on their team.

It’s one thing to leave something when you’ve done everything in your power to change it and it still doesn’t work out.

Or to leave someone when they aren’t willing to to do the work with you to create a better future.

Or to move on from some path that is unhealthy or misaligned with who you were meant to be.

But it’s completely different to just give up on something because it is hard.

Too often people leave what they have in search for something better when they haven’t yet maximized their current opportunity. They haven’t put everything they have into making their current situation the best it can be. They haven’t gone all in on making it work in the first place.

Instead they just avoid the conflict, they dodge the challenge, and they abandon the struggle by quitting and moving onto something else.

That is the classic mindset of uncommitted people: they convince themselves that some other path would be easier.

Maybe if I had a different spouse…

Or a different goal…

Or a different boss…

Or a different ________.

That’s the lure they use on themselves.

And many times they’ll even justify it as being smart or savvy that bouncing from place to place, commitment to commitment, circumstance to circumstance thinking that they will get a small step up everywhere they go.

But it isn’t really true.

Sure you might make small short term incremental improvements but you don’t make monumental leaps without sticking around and going all in on something.

Improving your situation is much more frequently the byproduct of improving yourself then it is of changing your circumstances.

The problem usually isn’t your friend, or your job, or your boss, or anything else.

Chances are the problem has a lot to do with you.

You haven’t done everything you can to fight it out and fix it.

You haven’t really tried to make it better.

You haven’t communicated what your struggling with and asked for the help of the people around you.

And so you’re giving up too early.

Greatness takes time.

Greatness takes persistence

Greatness takes patience.

Greatness takes perseverance.

Quitters don’t win.

Winners don’t quit.