Leadership... from Within
by Peter Urs Bender
Every one of us has an idea or dream of something we want in our lives. A more successful business. Feeling more fulfilled in our work. Having better relationships. Seeing the world improve.
Unfortunately, many of us do not accomplish our dreams. Often, we wait for someone else to lead, or to give us the power to turn our vision into reality. And that is a mistake.
We all possess the seeds of greatness. In this respect, we are no different from Bill Gates, Mary Kay Ash, Ted Rogers and any other top business leader.
Becoming a leader is a skill. You can learn how to do it. The resources you need are already within you.
However, what blocks us is fear. We are afraid to stand out; to speak our minds, or risk being criticized or looking foolish. It is this fear that stops us from being the leaders in our own lives.
So What Do We Do?
There are five steps to becoming a "leader-from-within".
1) Know Yourself.
Leadership is more than directing others. It starts with leading yourself. It takes knowing your own values. Listening to your heart. Finding what's important to you and what you want in life.
2) Have Vision and Passion.
We all have vision. It's the ability to see things as they could be instead of as they are now. Every product, every business, every scientific discovery that exists today was at some time in history "impossible." It took someone with a different perspective to see, believe and create it.
What ideas keep popping into your mind? Those are visions of the way life could be. But if it is to be, "it is up to thee".
Start by keeping a journal. Don't lose your ideas; write them down. See which ones keep coming back.
Then ask yourself: Which ones do I feel strongly about? Which "feel right"? Do I love to share them? Do they move or inspire me? These are signs of passion; the force which turns ideas into action, and dreams into reality.
3) Take risks.
Most of us are afraid of being wrong, so we don't act on our ideas. But wishing or wanting is not enough. You must take risks to succeed.
Start by taking small actions. Make clear decisions. Get the ball rolling. Then watch what happens and learn as you go.
Listen to others about what they want as well. Encourage them to make decisions. Don't bite their heads off for making mistakes. Find and support what they do right ─ and that support will eventually come back to you.
One of the biggest risks you will ever make is sharing your vision and passion with others.
"People will think I'm crazy." "It's selfish to talk about what I want." "It's not possible anyway." Are these the words and fears that stop you?
Then start today. Say what is on your mind or how you are feeling. Not egotistically; but honestly, sincerely. It will open up new opportunities you never thought were possible.
Go further. Join an association. Contribute your time. Write an article. Speak up at meetings. Each of these takes a decision, a commitment, and a risk. All will move you toward your goal.
5) Measure Progress and Results
How do you know if you are making progress or achieving "success?" You must check your results.
Look at what you've done up to now and ask yourself: Is this working? (In other words, `is it creating the results I want?') Do I feel like I'm going in the right direction? Am I happier and more fulfilled? Am I growing? Is this valuable to others?
Then ask others for their feedback and ideas. These can be vital to making your project a success. Leadership from within is not about succeeding by ourselves. It's about succeeding by being ourselves and receiving the help of others along the way.
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The book Leadership From Within, by Peter Urs Bender, is available from Amazon.ca
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