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A leader has been defined as one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.

– JOHN C. MAXWELL

Many desire to wear the cloak of kings but few can stand under the weight of its burden. The privileges of power beckon with promises of wealth, prestige, protection, and authority. But power is an apple whose core is poisoned — one bite too deep and all is lost.

THOSE WHO LEAD THE WAY HAVE NO ONE ELSE TO FOLLOW.

There is no instruction manual for leaders. No map can tell a king which way will steer his country to prosperity and which will lead to its destruction. Leaders must forge ahead with certainty, calculating every possible outcome to ensure the safety of those who walk behind them.

Even the velvet of a royal cloak cannot cushion the weight of the thousands of lives that rest on the king’s shoulders. Leaders must maintain a delicate balance between the privileges of their authority and their vast responsibilities to the followers who look to them for guidance. A queen who feasts in her palace while her people starve will quickly discover that if her title cannot turn into food, and her crown cannot turn into water, then her people cannot be stopped when they turn on her.

A KING IS NOT A KING IF NO ONE CHOOSES TO FOLLOW HIM.

Are you prepared to lead when times are hard and your people look to you for direction? Not all desire to be royal but all desire to be better. In your family, work, and daily life, prove your readiness for more through the things you accomplish with less. If you hope to lead, first you must find the path before others can follow your directions.

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The Illuminations are curated as a public service from the Department Of Citizen Outreach. By studying and sharing the words of world leaders, successful visionaries, acclaimed writers, and historical figures, humans from all walks of life can discover wisdom from this planet’s greatest minds.