Would you follow yourself?
I’m not just talking about getting followers on social media…
As a parent, you have influence. As friend, you have influence. As a volunteer, you have influence. In your online presence, you have influence. As an employee, you have influence. In your community, you have influence. As a human interacting with other humans, YOU have influence.
John Maxwell says “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less”. Based on this statement, we should all consider how we show up as a leader. We all have influence. Unless you literally never interact with another human being, YOU have influence.
I am thankful that from a young age I was put in positions where I was expected to be a “leader”. I was the oldest daughter in my family. I was expected to be responsible and set a good example. In addition to babysitting, I was an umpire from the time I was 12. I was in a position to make the calls. I liked “being in charge” in social and academic settings. I advanced quickly in my corporate career because I was confident being in roles of influence. (or maybe too naive to know better :) I didn’t label myself as a leader but looking back, I was influenced to pursue opportunities to lead. Did I lead well in every role? Of course not!
Do you consider yourself a leader?
Truly, there are no “born leaders”. Becoming a good leader is a journey. The more I was in roles of influence, the more I had to grow and learn how to effectively lead myself and others well.
There are very few activities in life where I wouldn’t consider leadership skills a critical asset. Maybe going to a movie? Or just when I am watching a movie? Maybe?
So, what does leadership mean to you?
Regardless of your current life roles, if you are working on personal or professional growth, increasing your leadership skills is a critical place to focus. I would argue that almost all success is dependent on becoming a better influencer. By developing as a “good” leader, you can more positively and effectively influence your own life and the lives of those around you.
"Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult." --Warren Bennis
I teach leadership principles and practices. However, it is all just knowledge unless we are leading ourselves well. To really develop as a leader, it starts with building a strong foundation of self-awareness of YOUR truth. The more confidently you are living your truth, the better equipped you will be to authentically influence.
YOUR truth is the combination of the things that you think, believe, desire and act on consistently.
Unlocking your truth is understanding and owning your strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, values and vision. Your truth anchors you and allows you to be consistent and confident. Your most valuable leadership tool is confidently knowing, owning and living your truth.
These are 5 keys to unlocking YOUR truth:
Know YOUR strengths: Do you know what you're good at? What comes natural to you? Your gifts and talents?
Almost every person I have ever coached struggles with claiming their strengths. We are our own worst critics. Our negativity bias takes over when we try to believe in our goodness. Knowing your strengths is the key to unlocking your potential and leading from your best self every day.
Know YOUR weaknesses: Is this an easy list for you to make?
Most of us can rattle off a list of our shortcomings. We all have them. We also have blind spots to uncover. They are part of your truth. Great leaders recognize and accept their weaknesses so they can do the work to grow or compensate for their weaknesses.
Know YOUR beliefs: Are your beliefs about yourself and others, your beliefs?
Your beliefs are the convictions that you generally hold to be true. Your beliefs grow from what you see, hear, experience, read and think about throughout our life. Yes, we need to be flexible and open to respect other people’s beliefs. We will inevitably make some educated shifts in our beliefs. However, when you are clear on your beliefs and live in alignment to them, you build trust. When you have trust, you increase your influence.
Know YOUR Values: Can you list your top 20 values?
Your values are the guiding compass of your truth. They guide your thoughts, emotions, and actions. They impact everything. You make decisions about right and wrong based on your values. Values become the standards by which you are able to lead with clear, rational, responsible and consistent decisions. People will follow you when they share or at least respect you living your values.
Know YOUR Vision: Do you know where you are going?
You can’t lead yourself or anyone else in the right direction unless you know where you are going. Your vision is the essential means for focusing attention on what matters most. You should define your vision of what you want to accomplish in every area of your life and for what kind of leader you are becoming. Your vision represents who you are, what you stand for and where you are going. It should inspire you, and the people you influence to follow you.
Living your truth is a life-long pursuit of self-discovery, learning, growth, and maturing. Knowing yourself is what allows you to lead yourself authentically and influence others effectively.
As you lead yourself well, the right people will follow you.