In 1982, I was a 14-year-old boy growing up in Southern California. Eddie Murphy was the biggest person in the world to my friends and I.
Eddie Murphy produced comedy albums. He was featured on “Saturday Night Live”, thus in our eyes, he was already an adult. He was approximately 7 years older than us. We had no way of knowing the magnitude of the transformation Eddie was unleashing on professional comedy and American culture, all we knew was that he was very funny.
Eddie was completely fearless and talked openly about issues of both race and racism. Sure, there had been alternative black comedians, however the swath of Murphy’s influence while being jarringly honest regarding racial differences (without being racist) was unexampled. In so doing, he expanded what was ‘talk about-able’ for all of people.
Eddie mastered different mediums quickly. He mastered comedy on Saturday Night Live & produced best-selling comedy albums Delirious & Raw. He produced comedic songs and starred in blockbuster movies both serious & funny. He was wildly popular.
Pioneers like Murphy, are transformative leaders. They change the common understanding of what is, our founding fathers changed the understanding of how government performed function. The United States of America introduced democracy to world. Now, half of the world’s governments are democracies.
Transformative leaders four main core traits:
A transformative leader’s main traits are;
- Vision Casting: They see the world with optimistic thinking, not as it is, but as it could be. They are able to eliminate features previously deemed necessary while adding new tools that transform the user’s experience.
- Relentlessly Hard-Working: From Thomas Edison to Bill Gates, transformative leaders are famous for not only due to hard working, but also driving their teams to the brink of personal failure due to work requirements.
- Transcendently Creative: In the summer of 1977, George Lucas had an unparalleled vision of what it would be, if market was not craving another outer space flick. The movie blew everyone’s mind, from the opening shot of a simple planet followed by two spaceships entering from overhead, and changed our perception of what was possible.
- Risk Tolerant: All transformative leaders face some form of risk. It may be financial, reputational, career risk, or even a risk to their lives. However, they are willing to endure those potential risks in order to realize their vision.
Eddie Murphy proved a transformative leader in comedy. He seemed unthinkable, fearless and shameless. No demographic was safe from his mockery or ridicule. Murphy inspired a new generation of daring comedians. In his movies he revived a practiced that was acting the part of several supporting roles, as well as the lead, in the same movie.
We have can’t imagine what the world would be like if Eddie Murphy had never busted onto the scene in his anomalous way. Perhaps some other daring entertainer would have done it if it hadn’t been Murphy. Regardless, we know it required a vision of unforeseen tactics, relentless hard work, overcoming rejection, & massive risk-taking. When I saw Eddie Murphy back in the news–hosting SNL & starring in a critically-acclaimed movie ‘I Am Dolemite’ _it stirred the shock and awe, I felt at 14 when he began as a transformative leader to change the shape of the world.
Hats off, Eddie, we’re always happy to have you around. The world needs you.
The author of ‘The Brand Called You’ is Peter Montoya. He’s highly motivational speaker and leadership development strategist, specializing in developing high-performance teams. To find Peter, visit PeterMontoya.com or call (949) 334-7070.