Everyday leadership: Good leaders excited about their work

Last Saturday, I attended a book signing in Belpre sponsored by the Belpre Women’s Club at the Stone Administration Building. About 25 authors with stacks of books in front of us sat behind a series of 8-foot tables in a small gymnasium. Bright sunshine lit the yellow table cloths that covered the book-laden tables.

Authors are a unique breed of people, excited about their work and usually life in general. Each one has a story that is customized. Now, we all, authors and non-authors, have things that excite us. However, authors just tend to document theirs in some fashion.

There was great diversity among the authors. The most prolific author, Roger Pickenpaugh, wrote about historical events including books about Noble County, monster storms and Civil War prisons. Many others had religious content or a mixture of poems and stories.

Shannon Thomas wrote what he called a book of a fantasy genre. Clayton Rhodes wrote stories of dark fantasy and science fiction. Several authors wrote stories about their families. I am especially interested in these types of books. My Mom grew up in East Tennessee and for a short time during World War II spent time at an airplane factory in Utah. My younger brother, Jack, who is an anthropologist, for years urged her to write her biography. She finally did and Jack had it bound. We also have a video of her reading the book. Both the book and the video are treasures for my siblings and me.

In addition to the authors, a class on journaling was taught by Becky Hennen from the Belpre Senior Center. Hopefully, some of the participants will end up writing their own life stories and those of other family ancestors and new authors will be spawned.

Throughout the day, the authors were afforded an opportunity to get up and read or describe some of their work. I was very impressed with the quality of the content of their writing. These authors were passionate about their topics. Many of these works have resulted from decades of effort and others were largely invented in the shower. Not everybody is turned on by the vision of holding his/her book in hand. But there is something that can excite each of us.

The best leaders are those who are excited about their work. They examine their work and identify the parts that are fun or challenging. They set big and small goals and celebrate their successes. They thrive on the success of others and celebrate those accomplishments also. When people find activities or goals that motivate them to do something different or achieve what was thought to be impossible, they tend to be more positive about life and more encouraging to others. We need more people to seek their passion and by word or deed help others find theirs.

R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray’s new book, “Tons of Stone above my head: Coal Mining Stories with Leadership Lessons,” visit his Web site, www.raycomlearning.com. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.