I know something about you. YOU are a leader!
It’s true! Every one of us has a natural leader within. This inner leader is a powerful source of confidence and guidance. It has the wisdom to make good choices, to know when to ask for help, to identify sources of growth, and to lead others in ways that help them grow.
This leader, YOUR leader, gives you clarity on what you truly want and helps propel you forward in your professional (and even personal!) life.
I’ve coached professionals facing a number of challenges. In every scenario, we began by looking within. This strategy is often met with skepticism. After all, what do your insides have to do with leading a team or meeting business objectives? Actually… a lot!
Let me tell you a story…
I once had a client – we’ll call him “Joe” – who knew more management techniques and strategies than most business school professors. But he was struggling to lead his team. Productivity and morale were down, a key team member had left, and Joe was feeling low on energy and like he wasn’t cut out to lead.
By turning his focus inward, Joe uncovered his leader within, which he had been ignoring in favour of external advice and guidelines. By following the “experts”, he wasn’t making use of his inner strengths – the things that fired him up and made him Joe.
Once he tapped into that, everything changed. By bringing his unique strengths forward, he built confidence, was able to identify the advice that was best for him, and his newfound energy began to rub off on his team as productivity and collaboration picked up.
By leading himself first, he became a stronger leader to his team.
How can you make this happen for you?
First, remember that you matter.
When you tap into your core self, you tap into a powerful guidance system that fuels you like nothing else. You are empowered to align your core strengths with the work that you do and set meaningful goals that bring your unique value front and center. You become energized in a way that inspires others and helps them see their own unique value and strengths.
It’s exhausting trying to be someone you’re not. That energy is far better spent creating the life you truly want.
If you find yourself running on empty, or feeling stuck in a hamster wheel, there are things you can do to start transforming your life.
Here are the 6 steps to bring out your leader within:
- Let go of “shoulds”
“Should” is one of the most dangerous words in our inner dialogue. Stop trying to live up to others’ expectations or advice. What do you truly want? What fires you up? Reprogram those thoughts. Free yourself from trying to look good, get it all right or performing for others. Settle into your own expression of self and learn and grow from what life is offering.
- Take responsibility
You create your world through the choices you make. Take full responsibility for your world and commit to creating from it. You can sit back and let life happen, or you can start making real choices for yourself. When you put yourself in the driver’s seat, those circumstances outside your control have far less power over you.
- Get to know YOU
What are your core values? What drives you and gives you a sense of purpose? Do the work to truly get to know your core self and unique strengths, then try to bring more of that forward, every day. Find ways to align it all with the work that you do. If your work is not aligned with your values, take a deeper look to find work that is. Ask yourself, “What is my most useful contribution in this moment?” Align with that.
- Accept ALL of you
Once you know yourself, accept yourself. ALL of yourself – your shadow and your light. Stop trying to change who you are. Instead, work to strengthen who you are and to continually take yourself to the next level. When you aren’t at home with you, it’s difficult to make grounded decisions that truly work for you. Work to be more present with yourself, just as you are.
- Embrace challenges
You can spend a lifetime fighting every little roadblock, or you can conquer them by embracing them for what they are: opportunities to grow. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn something new, either about your field or about yourself. Find the lesson and you will always succeed.
- Let go of limiting beliefs that no longer serve you
When you imagine your ideal life or career, what intrusive thoughts get in the way? Let go of those! They zap your energy to keep you “safe” in your comfort zone. Stop letting them author your life story. Claim your own authorship. When you do your inner work and “clean up the basement” you bring wholeness to your world. Every moment is an opportunity to write or rewrite your story in a way that is nourishing and life affirming.
The truth is, everyone is a natural leader. But you cannot lead naturally if you aren’t leading yourself first. Turn your focus inward. Get to know yourself so that you can get control of yourself, your path and your choices. Leadership… will follow.
If you want to bring out your inner leader or transform your organization by inspiring employees to uncover their leaders within, contact me to discuss how we can make that happen.
Wishing you an energizing day!
P.S This article was first published in Entrepreneur.com