January 20, 2009
January 20, 2009 Nick Engvall


What defines a Leader?

The picture above has been the background on my computer screen since the boys at Leaders1354 posted it on their site in December. It really speaks to me in so many ways at this point in my life. From intimate things, to today’s conversations about the Inauguration of Barack Obama. I decided it would be fitting to share my thoughts on leadership and our new leader of this country.

With today being such a monumental day in our country’s history, the topic of discussion everywhere you turn is the President. From the local coffee shop, to the office, to the internet, to say it’s a big deal is a gross understatement. However it reminded me again that my place in this world is as a leader, maybe not of the country, or of a big corporation, but by example. It has been a challenge for me to take on leadership roles in many parts of my life, and in fact has been detrimental to both relationships and opportunities. Well, in the spirit of the current disposition of America, it’s time for change.

When I watched Barack Obama speak today I realized a few things. The first thing I noticed, is what everyone else that wants to dislike him, or dislikes him did, is that he stumbled through his words a little. Which is incredible to me, it shows that he is human. So many times politicians have perfected the script to the point of seeming robotic. I enjoyed seeing the miscues in the inauguration, it was somehow very comforting to me.

The second thing was his straightforwardness, often times speeches are so sugar coated that the problems that should be acknowledged are overlooked. Obama did a great job of acknowledging their existence without pointing fingers, and reminding people that we as a country, have gone through much more dificult things in our past. Recalling the core values that our country was founded on, and how those values have not changed and will not change. The speech was short and to the point, the best way to deliver any message as a leader.

Finally from a personal standpoint, he reminded me of other leaders that I admire, but namely, Michael Jordan. His confidence is strong, not in an abrasive or arrogant way, but firm and unwavering. Reminiscent of the way Jordan would be, taking the ball, and the game into his hands in the playoffs. Bringing out an intensity and passion that inspired those around him to be better.

The one thing that stood out the most for me today is that we as Americans, have opportunities that are beyond imaginable. We can do anything we put our mind to. Positivity is infectious, smiles are contagious, and our future is what we choose to make of it. Those things have not changed, and will not change no matter who is or becomes President. Though many people, myself included, have forgotten that for the last eight years.

So for my “inauguration resolution” I am going to do everything I can to make the people around me better.  Not by preaching, but by being an example. Being an inspiration. Being a leader. Being the change I want to see in the world, rather than complaining about it. From a smile to a stranger, to igniting someone’s passion in life, I want to leave the world a better place than when I got here, and there is no better time to start than now.


Nick Engvall

Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with over 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector, and Sneaker News, helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, StockX, and Stadium Goods better connect with their consumers, has an addiction to burritos and Sour Patch Kids, and owns way too many shoes for his own good.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: