Making history

Below is a transcript of a speech I delivered last week to Kenmore State High School's student leaders for 2008 History is made equally in large and small ways. This morning our Prime Minister delivered an earnest speech to a group of people who desperately needed to hear those words. Now, I don’t expect that all of you desperately need to hear my words but I will say that my speech here is earnest and, what’s more, that in our own small way we are making history today … we are contributing to the history of this esteemed school and, perhaps more importantly, to our own personal history. I mean that quite genuinely. While I have been invited here today to acknowledge the select group of young men and women who will lead this great school throughout 2008, I also came here because I wanted to speak to ALL of you. Each and every one of you. You are playing a role in the history and the future – the history of the school and in your own personal future. Can I just have a bit of audience participation? Please put your hand up if you have finished school already? Please leave your hand up if you were NOT a prefect at school. Look around you students. Amongst these proud people are captains of industry, exceptional teachers, devoted mothers and fathers, sporting champions, business leaders and dedicated employees. So you see, whilst today we are recognising the student leaders for 2008, this morning, I wanted to speak to ALL of you about three key things that should be important to each of us, and that we should embrace in order to achieve the most from this year. Those three things are teamwork, leadership and success. I’m so glad that you have allocated me an hour and a half on each of these subjects! I want to tell you about a very special person: my brother, Adam Baden-Clay. Recently, as you and our parents may have read in this week’s Westside News, Adam and his wife Nicole left Australia to join Free The Children, an international foundation that supports and educates needy children and their families throughout the world. Why would I tell you about this? Well, not just because Adam is my brother and I’m very proud of him but mostly because the Free The Children foundation could have been started by any one of you. That’s right – Free The Children was started by a fellow called Craig Keilburger when he was just 12 years old. Twelve years old! Craig was alarmed when he found out that children in the world were being made to work like slaves and so he gathered six friends together … literally, six mates in the school ground … and he formed a small charity to fight child labour. Guess what? Craig is now 24 years old and his organisation, Free The Children, is the world’s largest network of children helping children throughout the world. Free The Children runs operations in more than 45 countries and has built more than 500 schools around the world. It was my brother who showed me just how amazing this organisation is and who reminded me about just how powerful we are as 12 year olds … with the world at our feet and our whole lives ahead of us. In fact, we are powerful at any age if we choose to be. The school leaders we acknowledge today embody three key attributes: team work, leadership and success. Interestingly, these are the same three attributes I aim to inspire within my own business, Century 21 Westside, and in fact within my own family. What is teamwork? Teamwork is all about knowing what everyone is trying to achieve and, by extension, doing your bit to help. You know what the objectives and philosophies of this school are. You know what you can do to help, and you also know that if everyone lent a hand, then the acronym of TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More - would become a reality. Leadership. To me, the most fundamental element of good leadership is to lead by example. That entails responsibility … responsibility for one’s own actions. Let me tell you that nothing impresses others more, nothing attracts people more, nothing compels people more, and nothing earns respect more than a leader who leads by example. If you want to see a clean school ground – you should pick up rubbish … and then ask for help. If you want dress standards to be better – you should dress well first. If you want people to be on time for class and events – you should always be punctual yourself. If you lead by example, others will follow. And finally, success. This year, The Scout Association celebrates 100 years of making a difference in young people’s lives. Scouting was started by my great-grandfather, Lord Baden-Powell, who led an extraordinary life and was by any standard a very successful man. And so today, I would like to leave you with his words and I will personally encourage you to not only make history but to make the future. Lord Baden Powell said this: “What is success? Top of the tree? Riches? Position? Power? Not a bit of it! We were put into this world of wonders and beauty with a special ability to appreciate them, and also in being able to help other people instead of overreaching them and, through it all, to enjoy life – that is, to be happy. That is what I count as success, to be happy. But Happiness is not merely passive – that is, you don’t get it by sitting down to receive it – that would be a smaller thing called pleasure. But we are given arms and legs and brains and ambitions with which to be active, and it is the active that counts more than the passive in gaining true Happiness” Congratulations to those of you leading the school in 2008, and best wishes to all of you on today … tomorrow and every day from now on. Thank you.