Leadership: Defined!

Jenna Phillips headshotWith Nelson Mandela’s recent departure from this planet, I’ve been really connected to what’s possible in the realm of world change. As an Anti-Apartheid revolutionary, he changed the way history would have been through his philanthropic and political efforts. He was ONE man, had ONE life, and changed the lives of MILLIONS of people.

He was what many of us would call “a leader”. What was it that made him a leader? What was it that made him one of the most iconic beacons to ever shine on this planet? When you look up the word “leader” in the dictionary, it looks a little something like this:

noun – the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.

My definition of “leader” looks a bit different than that, and in my own personal dictionary I’d put a picture of Mandela’s face as the most perfect example. He had a committed vision, and he stood unwaveringly for what was “right” in his heart. In the TWENTY SEVEN YEARS (can you even FATHOM that?!) that he was imprisoned, he never lost sight of his purpose. His critics called him a terrorist and a Communist because he called for equality, but he didn’t let that deter him. His faith remained strong and his persistence overcame the resistance of his adversaries.

The aforementioned accomplishments would deem many as a leader, but what truly made him magnificent was that he nurtured more leaders to carry on his legacy. He didn’t collect the fame and the riches and run for the hills by himself. He climbed the mountain of endless challenges WITH his family, his people, and his global community and he taught them all how to FLY on their own.

He empowered.

He led by example.

He didn’t let his circumstances destroy his mission.

It’s leaders like Mandela who don’t sell out on their dreams. If he had lost faith while being locked up, we never would’ve heard about him. When we play small, we halt our life’s work. When we align ourselves with our birth-given purpose, we show up like the leaders we were meant to be.

We, as The Collective, are getting closer to coming together as One Love. Every day, more people are born into the role of leadership and it’s their creation of more leaders that will continue the ripple effect. There are a lot of people who want to make a long lasting difference in this world, I being one of them, but a leader walking with no one following is just a person on a stroll.

As true leaders, we get to connect, be vulnerable, and KNOW that there is enough leadership to go around.

Over the last 4 months, with 7 other powerful leaders, I coached a team of 38 magnificent human beings into their greatness. We guided them through the trenches of impossibilities, circumstances, and excuses and then led them into the capacity of being leaders of their own lives. Never once did we sell out on them.

We saw them as the beautiful masterpieces they were born to be and empowered the whole team to change the world around them. Through community service projects and paying it forward, they learned how to create something from nothing in all avenues of their existence.

Their efforts inspired hundreds of other people to carry on their legacy and create even more leaders. This elevated their lives in every imaginable way, and now their dreams are their reality. We can have nice thoughts about making a difference but choose to play it safe, or we can have nice thoughts about making a difference AND allow ourselves to mess up, fall down, get messy and look like we don’t know what we’re doing.

Leaders do WHATEVER it takes to create and carry on their legacy, and we can’t have a sustainable legacy without the support of other leaders.

What are you doing today that will bring you closer to living your dreams as a leader? I wanna hear about it in the comments section below! I love hearing from you!

Love all that is you,

Jenna xox


Jenna Phillips is a Total Wellness Philosopher, Certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach, AFAA Certified Personal Trainer & the founder of her lifestyle brand I’m On A Mission. Follow her on Twitter and visit I’m On A Mission and be inspired.

  • Traci Robinson Cummings

    This is one of my favorite articles! Thank you! It is perfect timing for me as i am in leadership training this weekend. M.I.T.T. In L.A. I am here because of your
    leadership! Thank you again!
    I am a personal trainer, Coach, Yogi, a mother and a wife. All leadership roles! I want to lead by example. Be clear on my mission, attract people who are headed the same direction and inspire them on their wellness journey. I am learning to witness my behavior so I can change it and help others do the same! I am here for self growth and for my business ( i love my job) but I surprised myself as I am applying my learning at M.I.T.T. even more towards my 4 year old son than to my business! I mean woudln’t it be awsesome to keep that fire, that authentic self that you lose as a child? To inspire him to lead through his life rather than to follow! To inspire him to remember it is not what the world thinks of him but what he thinks of himself! When it comes to leading, to transformation it all adds up! That is what I am up to today in my dreams towards being a leader Jenna! xo

    • margo majdi

      what incredible penman ship , you never sees to amaze me , i agree he was the leader of leaders and will remain so in our hearts, but the true sign of a great leader is of how many other great leaders they developed , so the future will tell , love you margo majdi

  • Brad Ballard

    Great article. Mandela was an incredible leader and I see the same qualities in you, Jenna. You move an inspire people daily. Every leader started with a small group if people that were empowered and their visions aligned. That’s how world change starts and you are the catalyst.

  • Maven

    LOVE, this! Nelson Mandela is truly one of the greatest inspirational leaders of all time. So much respect. Talk about a role model. Not unlike yourself, Jenna 😉 You are the source of leadership and inspiration every day! So grateful, xo. This article is well timed for me personally, as you know Basic 113 is a game changer!! Can wait for March <3 Love you!

  • Quddus

    Yes Jenna! I want to shout this whole article out from a mountain top!

  • Sandy Dobronte

    Jenna your tribute to Nelson Mandela is wonderful. You couldn’t have said it better– he demonstrated the power of ONE. We should all learn from such an inspiring man. Keep being the leader you are! You are also inspiring and truly motivating!

  • Jo-Ellen

    Beautifully written, Jenna. You are an inspiration to those around you!

  • Michele Altman

    Wonderful Jenna! I have recently watched “The Long Walk Home”. The story of Mandela’s life. It is inspiring and I hope you get to see it! I will never forget the magical moment in Cape Town SA when I bumped into Desmond Tutu at an ancient cathedral. We had a great chat. Magic is everywhere! I am very proud of you!