Earlier this year, when I showed my friend Greg a behind-the-scenes look at my under-construction Web site, he questioned whether the photo on the home page representing “Be a Leader” (a sign pointing volunteers to the office to “check in”) would make for a self-evident connection for people who had yet to read my book, Six Simple Rules for a Better Life. So I promised Greg that I would write a blog post to explain what “Be a Leader” means.

“Be a Leader” is the third of the Six Simple Rules. Somewhat similar to my experience with Greg, when I was writing the book and told my friend Mark about “Be a Leader,” he said, “I don’t think everyone can be a leader.” I explained that I wasn’t talking about presidents, CEOs, and heroic figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. I explained that the leadership I would be writing about includes making the world a better place – even in “small” ways. It’s about the role you play in your family. It’s about getting involved in your community. It’s about setting an example and taking on responsibility. We all have it in us to be a leader.

Though my normal plan is to post every three weeks, including sharing a habit I’ve adopted over a 21-day period, I’m posting today, so soon after my last post, because of an idea I had the other day. As many people on the east coast did, I bought a whole bunch of non-perishable food as a precaution in the event Hurricane Irene left us without power for an extended period of time. We were fortunate. Some water leaked into our house, causing damage that we will have to repair, and our yard was filled with some major branches, which I spent hours cutting and clearing, but we never lost power and the inconvenience and damage that we experienced was extremely minor.

As I looked at the bags of non-perishable food we didn’t particularly need, I knew right away that my family would donate that food to our local food bank. Thanks largely to the always-present food-collection baskets at my office, I’m used to thinking about donating to the food pantry. What was different today was that I had social media on my side. I tweeted my idea and have kept doing so each day this week. Greg (same friend mentioned above) retweeted it, and others did as well. That’s how you go viral. And that is one way anyone can be a leader.

Be a leader: donate to your food bank today, and always. And tell everyone you know to do the same.

What Do You Think?

What are some ways you’ve been a leader? What are some ways you can think of to be a leader?