Not smarts or capacity or competence.
Not even accomplishments if they didn’t require putting yourself on the line.
Relentless passion? Courage? Going out on a limb? Refusal to give up? Yeah, now we’re getting somewhere.
It’s virtually impossible to lead if you’re not fully invested. It’s impossible to lead if the (potential) failure wouldn’t be personal. It’s impossible to lead without having something at stake.
What sets you apart is showing that you’ve done something that looks like that.
P.S. This all translates directly into questions to ask – and questions to skip – in interviews.