TABLE OF CONTENTS
A leader is a person who inspires. He brings the best out of his people and they, in turn, follow him in the realization of his goals. In other words, a true leader communicates his aspirations and creates a shared passion for a common objective. In order to be effective, a leader must first believe in his vision so as to be able to convey his thoughts to others and consequently convince them of the importance of his idea. As a result, such a leader can guide people with a firm hand and at the same time create resonance. Finally, empathy is probably the main emotional intelligence competency that a great leader must demonstrate and as the saying goes, "you can't judge someone until you have walked a mile in his shoes". Lance Armstrong, the cyclist who overcame cancer and devoted his life in the foundation he created for cancer patients, is a very good modern example of a visionary leader. Since he survived this disease, his mission in life became to help others have a better chance when fighting with cancer. Still, he is always facing reality, both when he was a patient and now when he helps others fight cancer. Lance never tried to hide the truth either from himself or his fellow patients, but instead struggled to unite them and give them a common purpose; to fight. "I'm really glad that our young people missed the Depression, and missed the great big war. But I do regret that they missed the leaders that I knew. Leaders who told us when things were tough, and that we would have to sacrifice, and these difficulties might last awhile. They didn't tell us things were hard for us because we were different, or isolated, or special interests. They brought us together and they gave us a sense of national purpose."
Born on September 18, 1971 in Plano Texas, Lance Armstrong began his athletic career by taking part at the age of 13 in athletic activities such as triathlon. When he turned 16, Lance focused on cycling, what would later become his passion and point of recognition to the world. Four years later Lance won the National Amateur Cycling Championship and in 1993 he won the Pro Cycling Tour's Triple Crown, a major cycling event in the States. At the Olympic Games of 1996, he suffered from fatigue and bronchitis disappointing his fans by finishing in the twelfth place. The weariness he felt and the illnesses he suffered were justified later that year when he was diagnosed with cancer. When the diagnosis was made, Lance was already at the third and final stage of testicular cancer, where cancer had already spread in his lungs and brain.
Five months after the diagnosis Lance began training again and in 1998 he returned to racing, sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service. During his two year absence, Lance created the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It was trough the foundation that Lance met his future wife, Kristin Richard with which he has tree children.
In 1999, just three years after his treatment for cancer, Lance won the Tour de France, leading the entire race and proving to the world his renewed capabilities. In 2001, Armstrong was given a clean bill of health which meant that during the five years that followed his treatment he was free of cancer.
For six consecutive years following his victory in 1999, Armstrong kept winning the Tour de France surprising everyone by stretching each time the limits of human potential. In 2005, after his seventh and final victory, he retired in Austin, Texas where he wrote the best-selling autobiography "It's Not About the Bike". Lance after his divorce with Kristin is currently dating rock star singer Sheryl Crow who he inspired to write the song Wildflower', which is also the name of the singer's new album.
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Bibliography: 1. Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee (2005). Primal Leadership Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
2. Lance Armstrong (2001). "It 's Not About the Bike". Putnam Pub Group.
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