Every business, every organization, from the smallest to the very largest, needs a leader. They have their committees, their echelons of command, and perhaps a widely dispersed group of semi-autonomous divisions—but the overall company, and each of its divisions, must have strong and able leadership. Contrary to popular belief, you do not raise morale in an organization—it filters down from the top. The attitudes of the people working in any organization will always reflect the attitude of the leader. And, finally, this leader will always be found to be just one person.

— Earl Nightingale


After listening to these few lines from my Earl Nightingale recording over and over for months, I decided to become the type of leader he spoke about.

Think of one person in your profession, one leader who stands head and shoulders above everyone. That is the person you want to model. If you make a decision, right here and now, that you will learn all you can from that person over the next five years, I can assure you that you will be richly rewarded for the rest of your life.

Keep in mind, that person is human. She will have shortcomings and defects that you will quickly spot—if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you’re focused on developing yourself into a true leader, you’d be wise to completely ignore those aspects of her personality, and focus on her strengths, on what makes her unique, that have allowed her to master her craft.

Who is that person, for you? When I asked myself that question, nearly 40 years ago, the name that came to my mind was “Earl Nightingale.”

I went to work for Earl, watched how he worked, what books he studied, how he approached his goals. In choosing Earl as my model, I got fringe benefits—meaningful relationships with his business partner, Lloyd Conant, and several other people who became crucial influences in my life. It just seems to work that way. As Earl once said, “When you study the meaning of one new good word, you always seem to pick up eight or nine other new words along with it.”

In order to follow Earl, I quit what I was doing and moved to another city. I’m not suggesting that you necessarily follow that path. I am suggesting that you choose a model, then seriously study what he does, where he came from, how he got to where he is.

I’m often asked, what was Earl Nightingale like? He was a unique guy who developed his own leadership abilities—and then empowered hundreds of thousands of others to do likewise.

Do you want to be a leader? The whole world is looking for you!


Bob Proctor is Publisher of Networking Times.