Earned not given.

“Respect is earned not given” – one of the most commonly heard saying in leadership journals. Likewise, achievement is well deserved for those who worked hard for it. How many of us still believe in these?

Take Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013) for example. She was the first female British Prime Minister from 1979–1990. When she spearheaded the role, she oversaw a period of rapid social and economic change in Britain. A highly admirable and powerful politician, she has never afraid to speak her mind and pursue her own ideology. Her leadership journey was not an easy one. The respect that she earned to date comes from her legacy of strong perseverance that had helped in building her credibility and trust among the British people.

Every individual’s achievement milestone is different. Needless to compare our variations, there are 2 common routes to each achievement milestone just to keep it simple:

  • the easy achievement
  • the challenging achievement

Whilst some are lucky to be given easy authoritarian respect or achievement recognition out of ‘who you know‘ , please remember that the respect and achievement given will not be as rewarding and fulfilling as compared to those who have worked hard through challenges to prove worth.

It is also not up to us to judge those lucky ones, because it takes time for the ones to prove themselves. Ultimately, those who don’t deserve will fall.

Leadership comes from experience, and experience builds credits, trust, and followers over time. Earning respect and achievement are long lived, ‘given‘ is ephemeral. In fact, anything ‘given‘ is usually worthless and temporary.

The next time when you feel that you did not accomplish the respect and achievement you expected, please remember that perseverance will pay out, just not now, but over time. Bottom line is, respect and achievement are earned, not given. Stay positive and keep moving.

earned not given

Photo by Jon Tyson 

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