The 1950s was an amazing time of economic prosperity. This was facilitated by a number of factors. The interstate system was built during this decade which opened the door for easier transport of goods and allowed ease of travel for the average person. These things created jobs and the country flourished.

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What isn’t credited as much as I feel it should be is what happened during the decade leading up to the 1950s. There was an overwhelming sense of willingness to tolerate personal sacrifice for the greater good. As I look around today and hear the different sound bytes on the news, I can’t help but wonder “What in the world happened to our sense of greater good?”

As a country, we collectively want the economy to be strong, jobs to return and to feel a sense of financial security. We want spending controlled yet so very few are willing to step away from what is perceived as entitlements in order to help facilitate this sorely needed change. No blame casting, just calling things as they are.

Leadership in a company or leadership in a community requires sacrifice to accomplish a goal and greater good. There are times when we don’t get to have things rolling along the way we would prefer to see them, but it is occasionally necessary. We are willing to sacrifice the extra money now to invest in something that will have a greater return down the road. We will even do business slightly under-resourced and make the best of it if it will improve things.

This type of leadership (not in the form of politicians, but as community leaders) is so badly needed in our communities. Do we absolutely HAVE to have everything we gained in the 90s or even over the first 4 or 5 years of the 21st century? Sure they’re nice to have, but is now the time to be that pedantic about getting our way? Asking people to trim back their lifestyles and endure some hardships for the sake of a better future is never easy. The unfortunate reality is easy and necessary don’t always share the same space and it’s time to be responsible enough to understand and accept that.

I have a sneaky suspicion that this could be the least popular post I’ve written to date, but if I’m going to go on about authenticity in leadership I have to write it. I’m not shaking a finger in anyone’s face. More than anything, I’m lecturing myself to keep my head in the right place for what is needed for our country, our communities and our next generation. My political affiliation or ideology is completely irrelevant. I don’t even have kids, but I want to sacrifice my right now so they are in a better place later.

I dare you to research the sacrifice that was so prevalent in the 1940s and see where you can do your part. If we are leaders in our communities by being the example, we may just see the change we’re hoping to see. What are your thoughts?