I recently shared the stage with Robert Kennedy Jr (son of Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy) at a conference in Spain.
There were moments when, unsurprisingly, you could see a glimmer of his father or uncle in a gesture or a turn of phrase. But what resonated most was his eloquence, passion and authenticity. He has a clear vision and values which are both persuasive and inspiring.
I have to confess I didn't always agree with and at times felt unsettled by some of the things he discussed, even so, I knew I was in the presence of a great leader. I could feel it.
It's something I have felt before with leaders such as Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and Nasreen Mahmud Kasuri, the founder of a school system in Pakistan.
People often ask me about leadership and what the best leaders have in common. For me, it always comes down to the same things: trust and authenticity; vision and clear values; resolve and humility.
Importantly, great leaders aren't often universally popular. They can’t be and usually don’t strive to be. Instead they are powered by their beliefs and whether you agree with them or not, their authenticity and passion is energising.
We have never needed leadership more than we do now. We need people who have the power to drive a vision that is constructive and optimistic. People simply cannot rally behind pessimism. Fear does not inspire us and negativity can only corrode.
So here’s the thing, at a time of year when many celebrate a search led by three wise men guided by a star for a leader who could make their lives better, maybe we should all commit to finding a little leadership in ourselves and the people around us.
Let's nurture those qualities that could define a better, more constructive march into the 20's.
Surely we can do better, be better, dream of better.
Here’s to a great 2020!