Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.  –Harry Truman

The U.S.A. celebrates Independence Day on July 4th.  It began in 1776 when 56 courageous individuals decided it was time for a change.

Did you know that 175+ other countries also celebrate Independence Day? As far back as 1143, Portugal officially became an autonomous state, and as recently as 2006, 55.5% of the Montenegro population voted in favor of Independence.

In most cases these are national holidays and a time for celebration and reflection. It’s also a good time to remember all the courageous leaders that value the need for change and growth, and persist despite resistance.

We all know that being a leader is not easy, that it requires courage and commitment, and the ability to motivate and inspire others. It can also require being a risk taker, and not being afraid of failure.

Here are some notable failures that persisted:

Abraham Lincoln – Experienced 12 major failures before being elected the 16th U.S. President

Albert Einstein – His teachers said “he wouldn’t amount to much”.

Ludwig van Beethoven – His music teacher once said “as a composer, he is hopeless”.

Steve Jobs – He felt he was a public failure when he was fired from Apple.

Walt Disney – Was fired from a newspaper for his lack of imagination.

The Beatles – In 1962 they were told they “had no future in show business” and that “groups with guitars are on the way out”.

Bottom line, are you leading with courage and commitment?

And, what are you doing to inspire change in others?

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.–Winston Churchill