How to Develop a Leadership Habit

Brent Peterson —  October 5, 2013 — 4 Comments

At age 23, he borrowed money to open a small general store.

The economy was strong in the region so repayment of the debt was expected.

However, by the next year, the store closed due to the owner’s inexperience in a down market.

To earn a living to pay overdue bills, the young entrepreneur joined the military.

In his spare time, he developed his speaking skills to pursue a career in local politics.


In his first election, he then lost in his bid for the General Assembly.

To make ends meet, he then secured a job as the local postmaster.

In his free time, he read books nonstop and taught himself law.


In a second campaign for local office two years later, he won.

Ten years later, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

After one term in the House, he ran for Senate.

And lost.

And then he ran again.

And lost.


The politician didn’t quit.

He figured out what he had to do to better.

And he did so.

One day at a time.


Two years later, the gifted speaker and debater received his party’s nomination for President of the entire country.

And then he won the general election.

On March 4, he the took oath as the sixteenth President of the United States.

The year was 1861.

And his name was Abraham Lincoln.


How to Become a Leader

People like you become leaders because they practice good habits.

But leadership habits don’t happen over night.

In fact, habits in general take 68 days to form.

(In this previous article, I share the history behind the marketing myth that habits take 21 days)


Abraham Lincoln lived by this example.

Practice means learning.

And practice means failure at times.

But for those who get back up again, they grow into leaders.


So how do you develop a leadership habit?

One day at a time.


Consider what Abraham Lincoln said:

The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.

(Featured images by Will Marlowgiorgio raffaelliRaymond Larose via Compfight, quote via Kastina)



What leadership habits do you try to practice every day?


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Brent Peterson

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Brent is the author of the Stand & Inspire blog. Stay connected with Brent via free email subscription to Stand & Inspire blog posts. Brent is also the creator of Interview Angel, a popular career toolkit for job seekers to use in interviews. Brent loves to clean the kitchen, play softball, cheer for the Baltimore Orioles, and go cycling on country roads (but not necessarily in that order). He loves public speaking but is afraid of eggs. You can connect with Brent on LinkedIn and Google+ as well.

4 responses to How to Develop a Leadership Habit

  1. After going a month filled with so many obstacles and challenges, this a good reminder. A speaker once told me that the road to success is always under construction. As with Abraham Lincoln, this holds true in all our lives. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Brent, Thanks for reminding that challenges are what takes you closer to success.

What are your thoughts?