You are Never too Young to Lead

I’ve often noted that one of the most valuable experiences a young, ambitious person can have is to work for excellent managers. And the reverse can be equally true: one of the most valuable experiences a manager can have is to work with young, ambitious people.
David Gergen was a White House adviser to four presidents (of both parties): Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. His latest book, Hearts Touched with Fire: How Great Leaders are Made, focuses on young leaders. As he writes, “Young people now are taking a multitude of different paths to leadership, many up from the bottom. They are not afraid to ruffle feathers, either. They speak up and stand up for causes that may make some of us uncomfortable.”

Gergen says that “just as you are never too old to serve others, you are never too young, either.” He says that it’s essential to avoid “the snare of preparation” — spending too many years in a classroom preparing for life, instead of living your life. He believes that by the time you hit your mid-twenties to early thirties, “you should have begun your journey to service.”

All of my efforts with Applied Wisdom for the Nonprofit Sector are focused on helping individuals to develop their abilities and skills as nonprofit leaders and managers. I agree with Gergen: you are never too young to start exercising your management and leadership skills.
  • (For my younger readers) Have you begun your journey to service?
  • When will you get started?

PS: The Center for Excellence in Nonprofits (CEN) will be holding a virtual Applied Wisdom for Nonprofits class this week, on May 8, from 9 am – 11 am PST. If you or someone you know might be interested, please pass it on. The class is no cost to attendees.

To enroll: