"Kings soon perish who make a habit of justifying their actions to the people by saying, 'I have the power,' rather than, 'It is my duty.'" Musonius
When people criticize a king's behavior, they usually can't fathom that they, too, might have done the same if given similar circumstances. For some people, they don't engage in debauchery not because they have the proper character but because they simply do not have the opportunity. However, that does not justify a king for being lax with his standard of conduct. If he doesn't have self-control, how could he effectively pass laws and direct the people to have self-control? Furthermore, if he doesn't know how to have self-control, he cannot demonstrate to the people that it is possible to acquire self-control, that it is natural and expected, and thus reap one of the main benefits of leadership: influence.
How can you gain leadership? By following philosophy. In this case, you must be a good follower before you can be a good leader. With philosophy, you understand justice and treat everyone fairly, which is a mark of sound leadership. Everyone agrees with each other on what is black or white, hot or cold, hard or soft. But in more complicated matters, some people without the insight of philosophy will disagree, and so it is an issue of ignorance. Do not automatically think you are free from such ignorance. You will need philosophy and to train with rigor to ensure you can make wise leadership decisions that indeed promote justice and fairness.
Putting philosophy into practice is hard at first, to unlearn bad habits and replace them with good ones, but with diligence and persistence, it becomes easier with time. A woman who is introduced to philosophy and trained in the same way will be equally capable and can achieve the same results.
With philosophy, you also understand that death and hardship are not evils. And with this understanding, what is there left to fear? It gives you courage, the type of boldness that you need when you inevitably run into problems and resistance trying to effect positive change in your world. You need to be able to outwit and outcompete enemies who would block your way and possibly harm others for their own benefit. You must be convincing enough to guide people toward a better place and away from trouble. As such, there is nothing more convincing than your consistent proper conduct and the good fruits provided from your labor -- all possible because of philosophy.
If one is a philosopher and therefore a good person, that person is by default a leader, an example worth following. A doctor is still a doctor if he only treats one patient instead of one thousand patients. A musician is still a musician if he performs in front of an audience of only one person and not one thousand people. A horse trainer is still a horse trainer if he trains only one horse rather than one thousand horses. Likewise, an individual who can lead one troubled person to improvement has the ability to show people the right way and thus is a competent leader. If he doesn't lead an entire nation, it is not because he isn't capable but because he simply does not have the opportunity.
Even if you don't want to lead, Epictetus, you can still use philosophy to improve yourself. Since you have acquired that capability, which is required for leadership, you are always ready when needed. Then once you feel the sense of duty to serve, you can fulfill that need. In my opinion, this is why Socrates said that philosophy is appropriate for either a king or a citizen, because that king would be a proper king and that citizen would be a proper citizen. Both would have good character, good knowledge, and done good works. They can serve as good role models for others to follow, and therefore can make inspiring, effective, and benevolent leaders.
"If you accomplish something good with hard work, the labor passes quickly but the good endures; if you do something shameful in pursuit of pleasure, the pleasure passes quickly but the shame endures." Musonius
On occasion I see you not wanting to expend only a little more energy on an endeavor, and instead choose to cut it short before it is solved or finished. Let me assure you this amount of effort will be insufficient to accomplish most things worthwhile in life. If you let your mind become lax, this has the same effect as losing it.
There might be disagreements over politics and in many other matters, but the one thing that everyone seems to understand is that working hard is a favorable trait. This favorable trait sometimes pushes aside bias and hate. Unlike talent, hard work isn't something you're born with, so it doesn't fuel envy. Being a hard worker is something you have direct control over and is a mark of an honest earner.
You need absolutely no skill to work hard -- it is a decision made mentally and then is physically executed. There are no necessary years of training, only the willingness to move forward even at a snail's pace. But a snail's pace is remarkably faster than not doing anything at all. Few things in life are that simple, powerful, and rare.
What do you gain by working hard? The same that a person gains when he has shot an arrow to the moon: a sense of accomplishment. Yet people strive to find themselves through travel and leisure. Little do they know that what they are seeking can be found through work, even, or should I rather say, especially, mundane work.
Whenever you see people running away from what is difficult, you must resist that reflex and instead run towards it. Your conscious act of wisdom and bravery will pay off multi-fold. You might go slower but you learn more. You might be done later but your work will be more refined. You might even be all alone but that is because you are farther ahead than anyone.
The gods create. They create for creation's sake, lest they too become mortal and vanish into oblivion. Where would Heracles be if he never went forward and struggled and triumphed, but instead decided to stay in bed or lie on a beach? What is there to talk about, what is there worth remembering?
Show, if not for the gods, for your future self, who will have long since forgotten the cost of labor, but can still see and feel the lasting achievement produced from that labor. Your future self would have great respect for himself, as you should have for yourself when you strive to do what is right and go the extra mile. The difference isn't always clear to people in the amount problems you faced and conquered. What is always clear is the end result, the obvious amount of care and attention you gave it beyond what was expected but right on the mark for what is needed.