Leaders seek mentors. Jaylon Smith, linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys and Michael Ledo, founder of RISE Sports Advisors, share insights on culture, education, and curiosity. Jaylon and Michael emphasize that successful entrepreneurship requires humility, hard work, and the ability to seek and receive help from others.
[Jaylon 4:28] “When you talk about entrepreneurship, it’s about knowledge, it’s about access, it’s about trust and making sure you have the right people around you.”
The Impact of Good Leadership
Michael and Jaylon recall examples of leadership from their childhood. These leaders possessed timeless attributes that set them apart: the ability to communicate effectively and build relationships with others, the ability to remove one’s ego, and setting high expectations for others while showing you care about them.
Michael and Jaylon emphasize that leaders inspire others to follow them when they:
- Understand their purpose.
- Are confident in their ability to work hard and produce results.
- Possess a level of meekness and wisdom.
[Michael 15:01] “I think the greatest leaders are the most criticized leaders.”
If you are not comfortable with being disliked, you will not be able to exert influence on or impact a great leader.
[Jaylon 15:55] “[To be a leader] you got to be able to look in the mirror and understand who you are and what you want to accomplish. As long as that belief capacity is right, you will be fine.”
Jaylon and Michael say a leader must have a clear focus on their goals and strategy. Big egos inhibit leaders from becoming great. Listen to others’ opinions and suggestions — it doesn’t mean you have to agree, but you need to understand others’ perspectives. Empathy is always a strength.
Leaders Address The Needs Of Their Community
Michael dedicates his life to developing and managing strategies that help sports leaders become entrepreneurs. To do that, he realized he needed to target the core of the professional athlete psychology.
He assessed that the sports industry focused more on entertainment and spending huge amounts of money than on teaching athletes how to manage their wealth and positively impact their communities. And that’s something Jaylon wanted to learn how to do.
Jaylon specifically wanted to address the economic and educational gap between minorities and white American populations by improving access to financial resources and knowledge. Today, that’s exactly what he does with the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute (MEI). Like any great leader, all Jaylon had to do to take his idea to the next level was ask for help.
Staying Positive As A Leader Amidst Crisis
When the going gets tough — especially amidst crises like the pandemic and social unrest — Jaylon says he reflects on the example of leaders from the past who sacrificed for society. Good leaders use the past as a guide.
Michael relies on his relationship with God and on hope in a better future when faced with tumultuous times. He believes strong leadership and justice — in business and beyond — start with culture.
[Michael 30:28] “You can have the best strategic plan, the best EOS structure, but if you don’t have the culture to go execute it, what does it matter?”
Entrepreneurs know that if they want to see the world change, they have to make it change. With hard work, communication, empathy, and a solid structure, entrepreneurs will continue to lead the world toward great things.
- Michael’s website
- RISE’s Instagram
- Michael’s LinkedIn
- Jaylon’s website
- Minority Entrepreneurship Institute
- Jaylon’s Instagram
- Jaylon’s Twitter