Leadership … and Life Lessons from David Bowie

JANUARY 11, 2016: Vector Illustration of David Bowie, eps10As we all know by now, January 11, 2016, David Bowie passed away at the age of 69. When I was younger, I must admit, I didn’t always “get” his music, because it was so different from the norm. However, that “different” is what has made him a legend and served as inspiration for many and serving as an integral component in building his fan base.

I never had the pleasure of seeing him in concert, but those I know who did say that his concerts where like no other! He always started right on time and performed full-out for at least two hours – fully sharing his talents with everyone, giving everything he had and leaving the audience wanting more.

He was one of those people who had so much talent. He actually explored and capitalized on his scope of talent, living up to his potential as a writer, singer, instrumentalist, painter and actor. His career expanded over 50 years and he continued to create great work up until his recent death.

He was considered by critics and other musicians as an innovator, known for constantly re-inventing himself. He was quoted as saying, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” David Bowie certainly didn’t disappoint!

In reading more about his life, his impact was enormous. He changed the nature of rock music and changed his own approach repeatedly. It’s clear he possessed key attributes that we can all admire and perhaps emulate. Here are a few that stand out for me:

  • Never be satisfied with the status quo.
  • Dare to be different – add your own style and new ideas boldly.
  • Constantly learn and develop your skills/craft so that you are never stale.
  • Be open to other’s ideas and freely collaborate.
  • Be generous with your talents – take time to acknowledge what others contribute and mentor their growth and development.

While we don’t all have celebrity status with a world stage, we all impact others’ lives and will be known for the good or not-so-good influence we have.

I lost my dad earlier this month, so that has definitely reminded me that our time on earth is fleeting and how important it is to strive to live up to our potential. It’s a life-long journey, but a journey that calls for one step forward each day.

Again, in a quote from David Bowie, he inspires us to think about and make choices about our lives, “As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I’ve got left?”

Important questions — how will you respond?

Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect by email at mduesterhoft@people-results.com.