Maxwell and Sharpton could not be any more different if they tried, but in their writings, they express similar views about leadership. John Maxwell is a former church pastor turned business leadership consultant. Al Sharpton is also a minister, but many of his insightful experiences derive from the political arena.
For many years, I disregarded Rev. Sharpton. I couldn’t take the permed hair and tracksuits that were staples of his persona serious. After reading his book, The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and The Path to American Leadership, I had to take a closer look at his impact on positive changes in the black community and society at large.
In Sharpton’s book, he shares twenty-three leadership lessons. Chapter titles include, “Be Authentic,” “Never Rest on Your Laurels,” and “Be Open to Unlikely Allies.” Throughout the book, he uses his experiences working as an organizer to illustrate leadership principles. Examples include his involvement in protests for the late Trayvon Martin and his relationships with the Obama and Clinton families.
John Maxwell’s book, Today Matters: Twelve Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Practices, is similar to Sharpton’s book. Each chapter focuses on one leadership principle based on his personal and professional experiences. In Maxwell’s book, you will find practical advice with daily strategies that can help you grow as a leader. Chapter four discusses the importance of making time to invest in activities that can make a positive impact on your health.
In Sharpton and Maxwell’s books, they discuss how exercising and dieting influence their abilities to lead. Sharpton battled challenges with maintaining a healthy body weight for years. Maxwell endured a heart attack. From personal experiences, they speak to how delays in adopting a healthy lifestyle came with dire consequences.
In my latest book, Capoeira, Black Males, and Social Justice: A Gym Class Transformed, I share how participation in Capoeira encouraged regular physical activity among my students. I wrote this book, before reading Sharpton and Maxwell’s books, but there is some overlap. In the fourth chapter, I discuss how Capoeira served as a resource to inspire leadership, support exercise outside of class, and influence better food choices.
My goals with Capoeira continue to include helping others discover the driving forces within themselves to adopt healthy lifestyles. I hope my university students (pictured) leave each class inspired to take better care of themselves.
We only have one body. I do believe in the Biblical scriptures, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, that indicates the body is a temple. Al Sharpton and John Maxwell understand the importance of health in creating sustainable and impactful leadership.
Are you a leader struggling to treat your body as a temple? Do you neglect your health for more hours in the office? You are blessed with this day to do something different.
Today matters, Sharpton knows this reality, and I want you to live your life with more awareness of your potential. If you’re breathing, you can change. Decide how you will make wiser behavioral choices today and improve the outcomes of your life tomorrow.
Right now, at this moment, you can commit to reading one book per week. Any of the three books mentioned in this post will get you off to a good start. In case you need to increase your physical activity level, let's establish the goal of walking for fifteen minutes or more on three days of every week.
Decide now how to change an aspect of your life aligned with leadership. Enroll in my self-paced online course to explore this concept further. If you're already a student, thank you, and do me a favor by sharing this blog post through your social media network.