The kickboxing gym at which I used to train was basically two gyms in one.

They had a series of classes for regular people plus they had other classes that were by invitation only. (The by invitation only classes had more than their fair share of “killers.” Several fighters in the second classes went on to the UFC, Strike Force and other promotions.)

I got it in my head that I wanted to be invited to the by invitation only classes. I didn’t have a lot of natural talent, but I showed up regularly and followed the adage “train like you fight and you’ll fight like you trained.”  …Meaning I gave it my all at every session. After about a year, the owner came and asked if I’d like to come to join the fighter’s class.  I was one of the oldest in that class and definitely not as good as some of the others there, but I was proud to be asked nonetheless.

This is but one of many examples of the truism: you have to give to get.

You want your team to follow you? Be the leader worth following.

You want to have more collaboration? Be the first to help others reach their goals.

Want a more positive and productive culture? Be the model of positive productivity.

One does not look at the fireplace and say “I’ll put some firewood in after I see some heat.” As a mentor likes to say, “You can’t steer a parked car.”

Jocko Willink says “There are no bad teams, just bad leaders.”

The world does not owe you or me anything. It does, however, respond immediately to leaders who go first and give it their all.