***This article is inspired by chapter 4 of “Leadershift” by John C. Maxwell – “Perks to Price” ***

Many people desire to become leaders as they see the prestige or benefits from the outside looking in. However, most overlook the price that leaders have paid (and continue to pay) to be in the roles in which they serve.

Leadership is costly. The higher you climb on your leadership journey, the greater the responsibility. While many people see the perks of high-level positions, they are unaware of the stress and sleepless nights that leaders navigate on a regular basis. High-quality leaders don’t talk about this much because they realize it isn’t a burden that others can or should have to bear. However, it is a reality that you must be aware of if you aspire to greater leadership roles.

Consider the following 3 price points of leadership that John C. Maxwell highlights in his book LeaderShift:


1 – Leaders Recognize That Everything Worthwhile Is Uphill

In our world, many people believe that others are lucky to achieve “overnight success” without realizing that this success often took many years of small steps that feel like a daily grind. Whether being a professional athlete, Hollywood star, or business executive, nothing comes easy. If you desire to sit at the top of an organization, you must be prepared to put in the work to become better every day in order to someday reach your goal. As actor Steve Martin once advised, “Become so good they can’t ignore you.” Becoming good takes time, energy, and consistent effort. It takes overcoming many failures, obstacles, and setbacks. In essence, it means climbing uphill with intentionality each and every day.

2 – Leaders Acknowledge They Must Climb The Hill First

An obvious but overlooked aspect of leadership is that you must be out in front of followers doing difficult things first. You must be willing to do what others aren’t so that later on, others will do them while you are forging ahead into new territory. Climbing the hill first often means there is no pre-cut path. Instead, you have to figure things out along the way with a pioneering mindset. This is not for everyone. In fact, it’s not for most people. Even as the United States was expanding across the frontier, there were many more settlers than pioneers. Both are needed, but leadership requires you to be a pioneer and do things courageously as you deal with fear and uncertainty.

3 – Leaders Understand They Never Get To Stop Climbing

Leadership is often exhausting because you can’t stop climbing if you desire to remain the leader of your team or organization. Some leaders reach a certain place in the journey and decide it’s time to retire and hand the baton to another leader who can advance to the next level. That’s completely fine. You must know your capacity and desires. However, other leaders refuse to stop climbing until they achieve certain goals for the organization. These are the ones who often become “famous.” They’re the ones we talk about, write about, and model ourselves after. They seem to always be climbing to new heights. This isn’t for everyone, so we must continue to advance or be willing to step aside and allow someone else to lead for the sake of the mission and organization.


As you can see, leadership is not for the weak or faint of heart. Leaders must develop greater capacity and stamina in order to take their teams and organizations to places they’ve never been before. It requires mental toughness, patience, and perseverance. If you want to experience the perks of leadership, you must be willing to pay the price along the way. If you’re ready to do that, then begin climbing to new heights today.

Until next time…make today GREAT!

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