Someone has said: "Behind every success is effort...behind every effort is passion...behind every passion is someone with the courage to try." And leadership is a matter of passion.

Just imagine yourself as a leader. Imagine yourself as one who is there for others when the need arises. Then, think of all those in whom you depend. And you know, when one begins to realize the level of dependence you have for others, one also begins to discover that the converse is likewise true. And that, right there, is the primary substance of the backbone of American exceptionalism! We depend on others as other depend upon us.

America is exceptional! It is a union of states...a republic, if you will. America is what it is today because of the millions of interdependent individuals...industrious, creative individual leaders of the past and the thoughtful, innovative leaders of the present. Americans are a conscientious people who "believe in better" as a norm of faith and practice. The simple truth is, they are people of uncompromising integrity with "possibility thinking" as their hallmark.

When you think of a leader, who is it that comes to mind? Could it be someone like George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan or some other high profile figure in history? There is no question, these great leaders have firmly stood the test of time. But then, it is also true, one need NOT only look back in history or even at high profile figures of today, to see great leadership at its best. One only need look into the mirror, and you may very well discover leadership in the truest, finest, and closest sense of the word.

Make no mistake about it, "YOU" stand front and center in the universe of time and space. You are to others a "leader" and chances are, you may not even know that to be the case. It is YOU who chooses how much you learn about the world and the people around you. It is "you" who treats others with the respect and dignity they deserve. It is "you" who controls your work ethic, your integrity, your principles, and human contacts. It is YOU who can make the best of every situation. You are the steward of your future. That is an awesome reality!

Truly, you are a leader to others when you are first the leader of yourself. That factor is the first core and inner- most ring of leadership. The second ring of leadership is family; family is the first exposure to governance that most young children will experience. The third is community. The rings natural progress larger and more encompassing all the way till your impact reaches the international level. Point in fact, Martin Luther King Jr....with civil rights...and Ronald Reagan with...the principles of free market... clearly reached that level of international impact.

In reality, we wish to remind you, you cannot skip one of these rings; if you do, the whole system collapses much like you saw with a recent former New York State governor or a former member of the US Congress. Uncompromising integrity rules the day.

We know that you are already a busy person. We know that you too have numerous first priorities and family responsibilities. And we also know, that you like most Americans, are working just to make ends meet. And yet, just ask the question, "are you really so busy you cannot help a neighbor?" Think about the difference you could make in the life of some youth, elderly person, or anyone in your community who is in need of a steady shoulder on which to lean. To be sure, there are those in a community who need just what YOU have to offer. YOU may be just the key so needed in the life of many around you.

You were born with leadership potential. For one reason or another, we may at times lose the momentum of that potential. We may fail to take advantage or miss a leadership moment. To wit--In the words of a golfer: "you miss one hundred percent of the shots you do not take." Ahh yes, George Washington was a great leader. Today, just imagine that you find your inner leadership spirit of George Washington within you, or that hockey mom, or little league coach, or just someone who makes a difference to someone who just needs your reassuring smile and steady shoulder. Just imagine the impact of your sharing hand. Make no mistake about it, that is the "stuff" of which leadership is made.

America is the country it is because of just that kind of passionate personal leadership. Believe us, we know. Through the years, we have often been the humble beneficiaries and appreciative recipients of just such a spirit of caring leadership extended to us by others. And so, we say, in real-time "pass it on"...that spirit of leadership within YOU. And this is how we see it FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE.

(Kevin Wysocki from Washington, DC and formerly from Cherry Creek also contributed to the piece)