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Soccer, Leadership, and Legacy Building

When I published my 2nd book, The Legacy of Leadership, I was frankly a little surprised to learn how little thought each leader I spoke with put into actually leaving a legacy.

What they did instead was approach their leadership and their life with a commitment to build something meaningful for the current challenges they faced.  

In turn, they understood that a by-product of what they were creating was a body of work for us to learn from, not simply a checklist of what to do after they're gone.

Solving the problem in front of them, while creating a model for future generations to refer to is one of the reasons I found them to be such formidable leaders.

Go to LegacyofLeadership.US to browse the included leaders, see their video interviews, buy the book, and learn their lessons. (Link opens in a new tab)

Half a world away from where my interview subjects were unintentionally building their legacy, another man was unintentionally putting the final touches on his legacy.  

Not at the scene of a crisis, but on a soccer (futbol) pitch at FIFA's 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The story within the story was the near-final journey of one of the most successful soccer (futbol) players ever to kick a ball: Lionel Messi from Argentina.

Lionel Messi - #10 - Argentina National Futbol Team

Known for his humility and super-human ability and awareness on the pitch (playing field), Lionel has amassed a nearly-unrivaled body of work.

Like most pro-athletes, or movie stars, or musicians, Lionel Messi has fans.  Lots of fans.  

But unlike most public figures with a large fan base, Messi also has a legion of followers who want to embody everything about him, including his name. 

According to the newspaper, La Capital, 1 in every 70 babies born in Argentina is named Lionel or Lionela.

"Following Argentina's win at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, newborn children named Lionel and Lionela increased by 700% in star player Lionel Messi's home province of Sante Fe this December, local newspaper La Capital reported, citing the region's civil registry."

Those carrying the name 'Lionel' won't automatically possess his soccer superiority, of course - but with so many Lionels and Lionelas running around - it will sure make it easy for future generations to benefit from the incredible and uplifting legacy of achievement built by the original Lionel.

After winning every trophy available in world futbol, most fans now readily agree that Messi is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time).  So, whether intended or not, inspiring so many to be excellent on and off the pitch also makes him a great leader.

And when I speak of leadership, I don't mean just the person at the top of a hierarchal structure.  

Leadership is the ability - which we ALL have within us - to influence, to inspire, and to guide another person to a better place.  

Not just something we could do, but something we all should do, starting with ourselves.

Mike McKenna

About the author

Mike McKenna is the founder and president of TEAM Solutions. He helps public and private sector leaders improve their outcomes before, during and after a planned event or unplanned crisis.

Please contact Mike via the Contact page.

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