I recently spoke to Michael Fulmore, who is the author of “Unleashing Your Ambition” and the founder of the Fulmore Foundation, a non-profit organization. As an educator and entrepreneur, Michael has become recognized for possessing wisdom beyond his age and is an emerging authority in the areas of transformation and leadership. After feeling the pressure of being homeless, car repossession, dropping out of college and even fathering a child as a teenager, he began a journey of personal development. He got out of his comfort zone and today he’s going to help you do the same. In the following brief interview, Fulmore talks about how to become a leader, getting people to support your cause, unleashing your own ambitions, defining your own mission statement, and how he overcame obstacles in his life.
Dan Schawbel: What are some ways to get out of your comfort zone to become a better leader?
Michael Fulmore: Being honest with yourself makes the best leaders. A person who is honest and objective with themselves can’t become complacent and stagnant. When you are unclear of where you are, is it difficult to know how you got there and you’ll more than likely make the same mistakes. Being very honest with yourself saves you from falling into the pits that await those who insist on indulging in delusion. Comfort only comes from the diluted idea that things will always be the same. But when you can judge yourself objectively you’ll always find ways to improve.
Schawbel: How do you get people to support your objectives without isolating them?
Fulmore: Always convey your objectives to be about other people as much as it is about you. If you approach an investor with an idea, you should convey clearly how he or she will make their money back. If you are approaching your staff with an idea to complete a project, they should be indoctrinated with the same vision as you, so it will be as much their project as it is yours. The more your audience is considered when an idea is proposed to them, the more they will become a part of the body of the project.
Schawbel: As a leader, how do you go about finding and unleashing your own ambition? What if your teams ambitions aren’t the same as yours?
Fulmore: I learned a long time ago that we should be selfless in our service to others. However, in every thing that we do our desires are woven in. So I learned to first take into consideration what I really want and then how it will effect others. I’m driven by legacy, positively influencing others, and achievement. So whatever I can do to satisfy those needs and serve others at the same time, my ambition is fueled.
Few people possess the exact same ambitions, but many of our ambitions connect at some point and are harmonious in many ways. It’s those points of connections that keep a team rocking. By first connecting what you want to what your people really desire, even a team of one hundred can become one mind. This happens when everyone is focused on one purpose but it is fueled by many ambitions.
Schawbel: How do you define your own personal mission and vision statement and then execute on it?
Fulmore: Being a force for good sums up my personal mission statement. It is why the Fulmore Foundation will create homeowners out of families for as long as there is a planet earth and why my partners and I will be buying more companies to build and grow. Both efforts helps the economy in a big way. My belief is if you’re going to do good you should do it in a big way and tell everybody about it. I have always been motivated by transformation, personal or business. And the idea that I am transforming the world as well as making a contribution will always be enough motivation to see any projects to completion.
Schawbel: What are some of the biggest obstacles that leaders have and what can they do about them.
Fulmore: Staying relevant! A leader’s ability to empathize with who they serve and their staff goes a long way. Who cares how great you are or how great your ideas are if it doesn’t resonate with anyone. Any good leader is constantly bringing the leadership out of other people. But the moment you are unable to see through the lens of your people, you can no longer lead then effectively.