First it was farmers. Then it was accountants and engineers. Then it was doctors and teachers.

For a while after that, it was people with MBAs. At the moment, it’s lawyers. (There are at this moment more lawyers enrolled in law school in the United States than there are lawyers practicing in the rest of the world!)

Throughout the short history of the United States, there have always been certain professions that have been held in the highest regard, professions pursued as the Holy Grail of careers. Each has had its day as the Next Great Profession, and each has made its contribution to moving our society forward.

Farmers played the central role in carving out the foundations of the nation; the founding fathers were “gentlemen farmers.” As we embraced the industrial revolution, the ingenuity and industry of our engineers came to the fore.

Accountants, doctors and MBAs have created their own breakthroughs in modern-day living, and for all the jokes we love to tell, our nation’s legion of lawyers have contributed enormously to our growth and productivity, producing many of our greatest statesmen. (Next time you tell a lawyer joke, remember that Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln and Bobby Kennedy were all lawyers. For that matter, so was Gandhi.)

And yet as we look at the state of business, politics, and education today—even sports and religion—there is one huge piece missing.

BUSINESS. It used to be that the biggest failure of business was its disregard for the environment or its workers. Today, it has expanded to the public at large, and especially the investors. There seem to be no bounds over which business will not cross for profits—especially personal profits for the top executives.

EDUCATION. Certainly we have the best system for the elite. Yet when most high school graduates are not able to read or write at an acceptable enough level to be employed by a responsible business, something is missing. (I know this from the hundreds of people we have interviewed for our businesses who lack the most basic skills).

RELIGION. Some of our biggest scandals continue to come from organized religion.

SPORTSOur national pastime—where we have made winning so important that we will tolerate cheating, drugging and all-out riots.

POLITICS. Suffice it to ask: How did you feel about the two presidential choices we had to lead the most important country in the world? Did you feel that we had our best foot forward—or was it in our collective mouth?

So What’s Missing?

Leadership is missing.

What’s missing is a new paradigm that is born in service, contribution, courage, independence, authenticity, listening, compassion, stewardship and love. One that is rooted in high self-esteem, not arrogance; that practices integrity, not popularity; that just plain does the right thing for all involved.

We need leadership that goes beyond an academic concept. We need a genuine, practical leadership—a leadership that becomes the Next Great Profession.

Imagine your children pursuing a career in leadership. A career wherein they learn to embody the values and arts of listening, empowerment of others, stewardship and service, integrity (walking their talk), truth-telling and being a card-carrying visionary.

Leadership is the most important profession. It is the only profession that can lead society to change. Change what? Our values, priorities, tolerances. Change our minds. Change our hearts.

Leadership makes us or breaks us—yet as a society we do not even see it as a profession.

A Changing of the Guard

Just as we have seen in our lifetimes the significance of the family farmer/rancher lose footing, we will also see other industry-based professions fade away. We have invited more technological advances into our lives in the past 50 years than in the entire prior history of humanity.

In this ever-changing world, there is only one profession that is mandatory and will never fade or become obsolete.

As we plunge ever faster into a sea of change, leaders will be seen more and more as the problem-solvers in business, religion, politics and education. Not lawyers, not accountants, not even teachers or doctors. Leaders will be the only professionals who can transcend any industry, art or organization and lead it to solve its problems—problems that are brought on in the first place by being run by something other than leadership.

Professional leaders will be the most sought after, highest paid, most respected, most trusted, and most admired profession of the 21st century.

So get ahead of the curve. Encourage your children to study it, practice it and pursue mastery in it.

The Next Great Profession

Leadership is simply the art of influencing people to move in a certain direction, on their own initiative, in which that they would not normally move.

Those of us involved in network marketing have an extraordinary opportunity to practice this art. Few professions require such skills in vision, motivation, listening, empowerment, service, courage and accomplishment. We are in the profession of “herding cats,” if you will. Anyone who can attract, organize and motivate a group of volunteers in a networking structure could move mountains in traditional business and other organizations!

Our country’s future leaders should, and very well could, come from those who have embraced leadership as their profession in the pursuit of building their very own network marketing empire.

In our business, leadership is everything.

RICHARD B. BROOKE is currently the CEO of a network marketing company,
a faculty member of Networking Univerity and has been a leader in the network
marketing profession for decades, on both the distributor and
corporate-executive sides of the fence.