Until now, I’ve found it maddeningly impossible to describe to others the journey I’ve been on for much of my life and in particular the last year and a half. So when I discovered a post by Alex Mathers from his Red Lemon Club website that literally described what I’ve been doing and how I try and do it, I just knew I’d have to share it!
I’ve never conveniently fit in a box or ever worn a single label. Growing up, this caused my mom much angst and drove my teachers nuts! Something tells me many of you reading this just might relate to what I’m saying. So it is with great excitement that I finally would like to asses a label that I feel perfectly describes the journey I, and possibly you, are on as we wander purposely through life.
“Autogenous Leadership” is the label I’m officially adapting to succulently articulate my role as The Pond Guy. If you read how Alex describes Autogenous Leadership and feel it applies to you or maybe that of one of your kids, then do yourself or your child a favor and pass this concept along. Doing so might change one person’s life; it might also just change the world.
(Excerpt from Alex Mathers Blog)
When I wrote the first draft of this article, I said that you need to start working towards mastery in a skill. That’s a good thing, but there is something that eclipses even that.
Something that is already starting to define the early part of this new century goes beyond achieving mastery in individuals. That was something that could better describe those that were a success in previous centuries, like Mozart, Frida Kahlo, Muhammad Ali, Darwin, Picasso and J.K. Rowling.
What I’m talking about is what I’ve defined as ‘autogenous leadership.’ This does not describe a final point, whether that be classical piano, writing, or fine art, in the way that mastery implies it.
‘Autogenous leadership’ is the conscious movement towards – achievement of – and ongoing maintenance of – total dominance in some area of industry (or across all industries)as a direct reflection of your individual character.
‘Autogenous’ means literally ‘from within’. You must become a leader, and the product is not the skill. The product is not the label.
The product is you.
With rapid technological change and global competition creating things that can be shared instantly, this inevitably means that what you are doing is ever-evolving and probably some kind of a ‘mashup’ of several skills, even several forms of mastery.
There is no single way of doing this. Autogenous leadership is reached through many avenues.
Autogenous leadership is working towards a leading position in the industry through your careful construction, tweaking and honing of a tapestry of skills and approaches that are essentially an extension of you.
We’re seeing this more and more with multi-skilled designers like Kate Moross (art direction, film and illustration) or even musicians Daft Punk (electronic music, and film scores), and James Franco (writer, actor, director, painter, teacher) and Jessica Alba (actress, businesswoman).
It’s also seen with people who are carving a niche for themselves in areas that are putting a different take on – or even breaking completely new ground like YouTube filmmaker Casey Neistat, Internet cartoonist Matthew Inman, blogger Tim Ferriss, or electric car pioneer Elon Musk.
Everything about what these people create is rooted deeply to their own characters, their stories, their struggles.
It’s no longer viable to be a competitor. You will struggle if you try to compete. Competition will lead to mediocrity and your own unfortunate demise. It’s also near impossible to dominate in a field, like ‘fine art’, in which everyone else is working towards the same.
You need to stand out to succeed, and to do that means striving for dominance in something unique that reflects who you are. It means being known as an inventor; an innovator and a real person.
Dominance means doing something that no one else is doing, even if it is within a field that everyone knows, but all it needs to be is a small slice.
This is better attained through mixing up several skills and becoming known, not as a jack of all trades, but as a leader.
I must admit, this is an idea that is still in the early stages of development in my writing, and it’s something I want to discuss in more depth in other articles, but it’s nevertheless something to attribute great importance to as you move forward in life.
It’s also something that I’m seeing as a solution to a lot of the struggles experienced by my clients and Red Lemon Club followers.
Many are too quick to identify their craft under a particular, societally-imposed label, whether that be a ‘writer’, a ‘creative,’ an ‘illustrator’, or a ‘graphic designer’. All of these labels simply do not exist.
You need to innovate, and you need to invent your own craft. You need to be your own brand.
What can you become the best in the world at?
How can you be a leader?