Stop Talking, Start Leading

When you look at our best leaders, what qualities do they share? Exceptional drive, intelligence and persistence are just a few. Let’s look closely the story of a remarkable man who invested his time and effort and made his dream become a reality – not only for himself, but for all future generations as well.

Many individuals have made huge sacrifices and worked hard while climbing the ladder of success but this story demonstrates more than that, there is an insatiable drive that is linked to helping others.

As the oldest of three sons, he became the man of the house at 7 years of age when his father passed away during the Great Depression. Perhaps this period of difficulty, when his mother no-doubt struggled to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, was the beginning of his deep understanding of the human condition.

Although he had begun his career as an English teacher, and served in the Army, it was while he was working as a teacher, that he discovered that he had a gift for counselling. He felt so compelled by it that he went back to school and earned his PhD, changing his role to professional psychologist.
This was the beginning of a new path. Throughout his education, he had experienced the void of practical application that resulted from training that was focused solely on research in psychology.

Although practical application is now accepted as an essential tool throughout fields of medicine, it has not always been the case. He and a small group of his colleagues shared the vision that such training should be enriched by the input of practicing psychologists. They were successful in their efforts to change the standard with the establishment of the California School of Professional Psychology (now Alliant International University). But they must have had a grant or a philanthropic sponsor, right? It doesn’t appear so. They all worked for a year without compensation, motivated by conviction alone. Now that’s true leadership.

They continued working together to elevate the status of professional psychology. Despite strong opposition from psychiatrists and other medical professionals, they persevered and established the San Diego County Psychological Association. This man’s personal commitments extended to numerous other roles in the local community and national organizations.

So, what can we take away from this story? It seems to be the pleasant account of the life of Dr. James L. Chipps, a community leader, change broker, and well-respected psychologist. But, it is much more than that. It is a demonstration of what all parents should tell their children – “You can do anything you set your mind to, and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise.” That is what Dr. Chipps lived from the time he was a young boy until he passed away last month. We hope that his rich life has provided inspiration and motivation for others who will change the world around them through passion and hard work.