Inspirational Leaders Need Purpose And Focus

by Michael D. Hume, M.S.

About half an hour west of our southern Colorado home, up in the scenic Rocky Mountains, is a road that presents an amazing adventure… and more than one lesson for aspiring inspirational leaders.

I’m not sure of the history of Skyline Drive, but it looks like it might follow an old mining track – many Colorado roads do. I learned to drive on such roads (back when some of them still WERE old mining tracks), so while I developed a healthy respect for mountain roads early-on, I’m not scared to drive them. When Colonel Wife and I were out exploring the other day and we came upon Skyline Drive, I relished the chance to give it a try.

It’s one-way, with gates on both ends to allow the authorities to close the road in bad weather. Once we made it to the top, we realized that closing this road in bad weather – and, in fact, for the entire winter – would be more than just a good idea. You couldn’t traverse this road with any precipitation on it whatsoever.

Skyline Drive is like a naturally-occurring roller coaster. It’s only one lane wide, and it runs along the very top of a high mountain ridge. A steep, certain-death drop is often a feature on ONE side of a challenging mountain road… Skyline Drive features drops on BOTH sides for much of its route. It’s paved – no need to worry about loose gravel pitching you off – but there are no guard-rails on Skyline Drive.


You just have to focus.

Colonel Wife and I have now visited Skyline Drive twice, once with each of us behind the wheel. It’s an inspiring little trip, and as such, affords lessons for those (like many of my clients) who want to be more inspirational leaders. After all, you have to be an inspired person before you can inspire others.

First, purpose. Why drive a road like Skyline Drive? There are many reasons, not least of which are the challenge, and the unsurpassed scenery. So though there are safer, easier roads, you might be the kind of person who’d take a trip over Skyline Drive. If so, you might also be the kind of Entrepreneur who’d realize the risks of taking on leadership, starting a business, or making bold investments can be well worthwhile, too.

Second, focus. If you’re the driver, you have to pay razor-sharp attention to your driving on a road like Skyline Drive. You’ll be tempted to enjoy the scenery – and there are moments when the rocks form a natural guard-rail on one side or another during which you can steal a glimpse – but mostly, you’re providing a ride for the others in the vehicle… and they’ll enjoy the view more than you will. That’s just the way it goes. It’s inspiring for everyone, but somebody has to drive. Do you want to be in the driver’s seat when the car’s on Skyline Drive? If so, you have at least a spark of entrepreneurial spirit.

Finally, trust. If you’re in the driver’s seat, you have to trust to your own skill and luck, and to God. But there’s a huge test of trust going on in the passenger seats on Skyline Drive. Shortly after you reach the top, you realize there are few people you’d trust to drive you over this road. Learning to trust – and to earn the trust of others – is a prerequisite for inspirational leadership. And driving the skyline (or riding it) provides a wonderful lesson in trust.

We loved our trips over Skyline Drive – they were nice opportunities to take another little taste of inspiration. And the lessons were good, too. What can you do today to build your personal inspiration? What adventure can you find out there?


 Michael Hume is a speaker, writer, and consultant specializing in helping people maximize their potential and enjoy inspiring lives. As part of his inspirational leadership mission, he coaches executives and leaders in growing their personal sense of well-being through wealth creation and management, along with personal vitality.Those with an entrepreneurial spirit who want to make money “one less thing to worry about” can learn more about working with Michael at wanting to jump-start their vitality can browse through the best (and most travel-friendly) nutraceuticals on the market at and his wife, Kathryn, divide their time between homes in California and Colorado. They are very proud of their offspring, who grew up to include a homemaker, a rock star, a service talent, and a television expert. Two grandchildren also warm their hearts! Visit Michael’s web site at
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