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Leadership & Impact

Be Inspired: 10 Leaders Who Are Changing The World

by Adam Trouncer - 2 months ago

Who  do you choose to follow in the footsteps of? Or, if you prefer to plow your own furrow, who really inspires you? Whose face do you see and whose words do you hear when the going gets tough?

Recently, we published an article  discussing what defines a true leader. We dove into some of the personality traits that they have in common: decisiveness, open-mindedness, optimism, intuitiveness, accountability, resilience, kindness, tolerance, ambition, and emotional intelligence.

Common opinion makes out the world is lacking true leaders who are changing the world. We no longer have a Mahatma Gandhi, a George Washington, a Martin Luther King, a Julius Caesar, a Cleopatra, or a Nelson Mandela.

But, if you look carefully enough, there are plenty of leaders who are changing the world by displaying those characteristics previously mentioned.

Each of these people have made headlines in the past 12 months for various reasons: business nous, philanthropic work, political achievements… Some have even changed the world forever.

You might not agree with everything the following ten leaders say; but you should be able to absorb a little motivation from what they have achieved… And use it to make your own set of headlines over the next 12 months.

Tsai Ing-Wen – President Of Taiwan

Leaders @TsaiIng Wen IG OPTIMISED@tsai_ingwen

Let’s start with a lady that many of you will never have heard of.

Meet Tsai Ing-Wen, Taiwan’s first female President and a woman that gets things done for her country.

In a move that would make headlines around the world, Ing-Wen picked up the phone and called then-President-elect Donald Trump. This was the first call between U.S. and Taiwanese leaders since 1979, owing to the tense political situation between China and Taiwan.

But that’s not all; she is smart and pushes social reform too. Fortune reports:

 “When Beijing tried to punish Taiwan after her January 2016 election by restricting its citizens’ visits, [Tsai Ing-Wen] wooed Southeast Asian travelers to spark a tourism boom. She is also pushing economic reforms, including shortening the workweek to five days from six.”

Jack Ma – Founder & Executive Chairman Of The Alibaba Group

Leaders @World Economic Forum Jack Ma OPTIMISED

Photo Credit: World Economic Forum

You might have heard of a little ecommerce site called Alibaba?

As founder and executive chairman, Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma has been awarded second place on the Fortune 2017 World’s Greatest Leaders list not only for his achievements in business but for using his platform for good causes, championing free-trade, philanthropy, and small business.

Oh, and he also told Trump he would help create one million jobs for the U.S. over the next five years.

Melinda Gates – Co-Founder Of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Leaders @DFID UK Department for International Development Melinda Gates OPTIMISEDPhoto Credit: DFID – UK Department for International Development

Arguably the most powerful woman in philanthropy, Melinda Gates has dedicated her life to reducing the impact of infectious diseases and improving gender equality in the U.S. and around the world.

Her work is done via the foundation she co-founded with her Microsoft-founding husband, Bill Gates.

Her commitment to empowering women and girls and improving their health systems has sparked worldwide conversations and pioneered a revolution.

Take for example, the statistic that maternal deaths in Ethiopia are down 57 percent since 1990 thanks, in part, to the work of the foundation. Or her pledge to make birth control available to 120 million women globally by 2020.

LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers Player

Leaders @Keith Allison LeBron James OPTIMISEDPhoto Credit: Keith Allison

Some sports superstars get bad press for being overpaid prima-donnas.

However, when LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, it was with a leadership role in mind that extended beyond the basketball court.

The sport’s current greatest superstar said:

“I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously.”

He’s backed that up too. The LeBron James Family Foundation provides mentoring and college scholarships to 1,100 underprivileged children in Akron. his hometown. He has also used his fame to highlight social injustices in the black community and amongst immigrants.

Oh, and he also found time to lead his team to the NBA title!

Pope Francis – The 266th & Current Pope Of The Catholic Church

Leaders @franciscus IG OPTIMISED@franciscus

Whatever our faith, we can acknowledge there are those leaders who are changing the world by crossing spiritual boundaries to enhance positive intercultural communication. Pope Francis extends himself in this way while his own religion faces something of a crisis.

Balancing the traditional beliefs of the Catholic faith and the demands of modern life, it’s no wonder he’s hailed as the most progressive religious figure of our time.

As the Pope of the people, he’s responsible for urging the church to be more accepting of divorced Catholics and LGBT worshippers. He has also bravely questioned the age-old tradition of clerical celibacy, suggesting that viri probati or “tested” married men be allowed to become priests.

Sandra Day O’Connor – Retired Associate Justice Of The Supreme Court Of The United States

Leaders @kyle tsui Sandra Day OConnor BIGPhoto Credit: Kyle Tsui

She might be 87-years-old but that didn’t stop Sandra Day O’Connor getting herself on TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017 list.

The former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court retired in 2006. You may not even have been aware of her back then. It’s her work since then that’s garnered the most attention.

Upon leaving the courts, O’Connor founded iCivics, a video game-based education tool to teach teenagers how America’s democracy works; in 2018, it has never been more relevant.

She is undeniably of those leaders who are changing the world: O’Connor is proving that you are never too old to make a change – especially if it involves technology!

Shakira – Singer, Songwriter & UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

Leaders @shakira IG

@Shakira

Shakira is a little similar to LeBron James.

Say what?!

By that, we mean a superstar at the top of her profession focusing on using fame as a means for social change. With over a hundred million Facebook followers, you get considerable leverage to do that.

If you’re not aware of the social work that Shakira does, you’re also probably not aware that she attended the 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos (Switzerland).

As a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and the founder of the charity organization Pies Descalzos (Barefoot), she has plowed a lot of her time over the past twenty years into helping the poor and underprivileged children in her native Colombia.

She also helped found the ALAS Foundation, which pushes political action in Latin America to provide nutrition and schooling for children.

Jeff Bezos – Chief Executive Officer Of Amazon

Leaders @Steve Jurvetson Jeff Bezos OPTIMISEDPhoto Credit: Steve Jurvetson

If you’re ever in need of some inspiration to get out of bed in the morning, look no further than Jeff Bezos.

Briefly topping the Forbes’ richest ranks in July 2017 was only the beginning. Now, Bezos is the owner of another trophy – very recently reaching the highest net worth ever at $113.5 billion, thanks to the debut of Amazon Go.

But Bezos doesn’t keep his 12-figure fortune all to himself; he has donated over $36 million to worthy causes.

Not bad for the guy who started Amazon in a Seattle garage in 1994!

Helle Thorning-Schmidt – Ex-Danish Prime Minister & Current CEO of Save The Children

Leaders @World Economic Forum Helle Thorning Schmidt OPTIMISEDPhoto Credit: World Economic Forum

Though she is certainly among our leaders who are changing the world, you may not have heard of her, as her work is primarily recognized in her own country, Denmark.

As the first female Danish prime minister, she was responsible for navigating the choppy waters after the financial crisis and led the country from 2011 into 2015.

She has become the chief executive of Save the Children and now devotes her time to this charity, which highlights the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged children, 400 million of whom do not have access to health care and education because of their gender, refugee status, or because they are disabled.

Elon Musk – CEO of Tesla & SpaceX

Leaders NASA Dimitri Gerondidakis Elon Musk OPTIMISED

Photo Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Elon Musk is not only trying to change the world – he’s trying to open up the universe!

As CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, both of which he co-founded, he pursues two major dreams: creating a greener planet (thorough carbon-emission-free cars) and making space travel accessible to more people (ultimately with the purpose of colonizing the planet of Mars!)

Goals don’t come much bigger than this. Musk is living proof of ‘aiming high’ as a way to live your life.

Of course he is a billionaire, which makes risk-taking a little easier. And these risks have led to considerable knockbacks – production delays at Tesla and failed launches at SpaceX – but his dedication is clear for all to see…

He even keeps a sleeping bag available near one of his Californian production plants!

Be Inspired!

But all this achievement, positivity, empathy, drive, ambition, and general goodwill counts for little in your own life unless it motivates you to contribute to it.

You might ask yourself, how you can learn from the achievements of these leaders?

Why not stop by the #GreensTeam Facebook page to tell us what you’re working on – and which inspirational figure is helping you get there.

If you want to take your own inspiration to the next level, why not create a vision board, or start a manifestation journal? You can even download a free manifestation journal template below to get started.