Dawn Smith

maisol media, LLC - Copywriter
Atlanta, GA

    What Captain Kirk Taught Me about Leadership (Hint: It Involves Mojo)

    May 15, 2009

    SpaceStar Trek conventions are an exhibition of devotion to heroes. Imitation klingons and characters with green skin patiently stand in line waiting to meet Mr. Spock, Sulu and Captain Kirk. Trekies spend countless hours on their passion. The rewards come back tenfold when they lock eyes with their idol, and take back a little piece of hero for him or herself.

    This phenomenon is not unique to the Star Trek experience. We see it at Star Wars events and business conferences as Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet strolls onto the stage. We want to kiss their ring, or just be in the midst of our hero. What happens when the devotee wants a bit of that influence for him or herself? Must they wait for their own TV show or multibillion-dollar corporation to build a following? Heroes, change agents and business leaders have three things in common. Follow their lead and create a life worth writing about.

    1. They Dare to Be Amazing – An amazing life is closer than you think. Boldly go where you have never gone before, and allow those experiences to change you. Switch your mind off autopilot, and learn something new. Allow your adventures to fill your soul, and serve as a guideline as to where you should serve. Do you have an adrenaline rush while you are outdoors? Volunteer in the environmental conservation movement. If filmmaking is your hobby, become a social entrepreneur, teach African women your skill and allow them to tell their stories. The world is waiting for the next hero. Are you going to fill the role, or watch them on TV?
    2. They Check Their Motivation – The hero is never bigger than the mission he or she serves. Before you step up to the plate of social or business leadership, examine your reasons for doing so. Do you seek recognition? Are you craving validation? Every leader’s sole mission is to advance a cause, business, idea, dream—whatever it is he or she wishes to press forward. If you are doing anything of importance, and you are doing it right, remember the movement will exist with or without your involvement. Even with his prowess, the ship sometimes ran without Captain Kirk at the helm thanks to Mr. Spock.
    3. They Have Mojo – Captain Kirk can stroll into a room and command attention. Is that ability innate, or is it a byproduct of experience? A hero can confidently walk into the room because he or she knows they belong there. The leader has a lifetime of experience under his or her belt to offer a battery of stories to keep audiences entertained. Moments of insecurity might creep in, but the leader knows they have masterfully completed steps one and two.

    In college, I used to watch men scurrying like lab rats on the basketball court. One by one, they would throw imaginary balls into a very real basket. “Why don't you just play for real,” I asked them to have deer in headlights looks meet me in return. I knew their type. They would eventually grow up to blurt out catch phrases, such as win-win and synergy, at business meetings to appear smart. Here lays the difference between pretenders on the sidelines of life, and leaders that work hard to lead a heroic life worthy of storytelling. I cannot imagine Captain James T. Kirk being content playing imaginary basketball. And for Mr. Spock to spew business catchphrases in the pursuit of coolness would be illogical.


    Dawn is still on her quest to become someone amazing by unleashing the rock star, do-gooder and explorer of her childhood dreams. She hopes to surf for the first time next week.

    Read Dawn's other blog entries >

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