To ask him about it you would assume that it was no big deal. He’s just not the kind of guy who is going to hype it up. He isn’t the type to brag, or grab attention just because he saved someone’s life.

Not Noah. He’s a soft-spoken guy who keeps his own counsel and is pretty low key. But, he’s willing to step up and lead when the situation calls for it and saving someone’s life is one of those situations. Did we mention that he’s 11 years old?

Here is what happened.

noah - inspiring young leader

Noah: an inspiring young leader at age 11

This past October, Noah was in the cafeteria eating lunch with his buddies when one of them started choking on a ball of spaghetti that was simply too big to swallow. There were adults around, there were older kids around, and yet no one seemed to notice, or if they did they weren’t taking action and his buddy couldn’t breathe.

Noah jumped up from his seat and ran around to him. As he ran, he was remembering what he had seen about how to administer the Heimlich maneuver. With just one or two thrusts, Noah was able to dislodge the ball of spaghetti and just like that, he saved his buddy’s life. When we asked Noah why he took action when he did he said, “I dunno, I saw him not breathing, I got up and just did it, that’s all.”

“I just did it,” is what real leaders often say. For them, it’s not a choice to lead in that moment—it’s just the only thing to do. Step in.

We often talk about the fact that leadership isn’t a position or a title and this story is a perfect example of that concept. Leadership is about being willing to step up and engage when it matters—about influencing and being influenced by—and it mattered a lot for Noah’s classmate that day in the cafeteria.

This week spend some time thinking about all the times in your life when you have stepped up to lead. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as saving someone’s life, but we bet that you’ve been a leader far more often than you even realize.

Then think about how can you step up even more in the coming year and be even more awesome than you already are. 2016 needs your leadership!

We’ve been so touched and impressed by the stories of personal leadership that people have shared with us recently that we’re starting a new series called the Faces of Leadership. We will feature a Leader’s story in our Monday Morning Business Coach approximately once a month.

We’d love to hear your story. If you have a leadership story that you would like to have highlighted in our Monday Morning Business Coach post, please submit it to:



Carpenter Smith Consulting’s Monday Morning Business Coach accepts submissions of original, guest posts for its Faces of Leadership Series. Posts should be no more than 800 words long and should be related to an act of Leadership. Each post must include a short bio that can be used at the end. Please submit blog posts or queries to

If your story is a good fit for our Faces of Leadership Series, we’ll contact you within 2 weeks of your submission. Please note that we receive many more submissions than we can publish, and we often have to say no to good proposals due to limitations of time or because they’re not distinct enough from other pieces we have published. We reserve the right to make any edits to the blog post to fix grammatical errors or to make other edits deemed necessary by our editor.

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