Why do some become leaders while others remain followers?
One argument says that leaders are “born to lead,” while another claims that leadership is a set of skills, education, and experience that anyone can learn, given sufficient time, commitment and motivation.
Whichever side of the argument you fall on, everyone in a leadership role knows a secret: Leadership is Not quite (and that’s a massive understatement) as glamorous as most folks would think.
Every leader feels the polar pull between risk and safety, between being liked and being effective and a myriad of other polarities. For most leaders, leading is about walking the tightrope between the poles while trying to be “successful.”
As leaders we are driven to greater and greater success and all too often we forget to take the time to decide for ourselves what real success would be for us. We let circumstances and other people define success for us.
That’s a huge pitfall and here’s why…
You and I both know that from the outside it can appear that a leader has all the trapping of success that others may deeply envy—things like money, fame, prestige, power. However, you and I also know that there is no enduring link between material success and happiness, between the outward signs of success and the inner feeling of success, between “having it all” and a sense of joy and fulfillment,
So how do we as leaders, find that deep sense of joy, inspiration and fulfillment? How do we prevent the creeping feeling that there must be “something more” out there? How do we truly define success for ourselves?
First off, we must look at the wellspring of our sadness and our joy.
Breaking News...psychological research consistently shows that when we become, or just feel, separated from whatever or whomever we love, it’s natural for us to experience emotional, mental and even physical pain and sadness.
When we are connected with whatever or whomever we love, it is natural for us to experience emotional, mental, and even physical joy and inspiration as well as some degree of fulfillment.
Your challenge as an Authentic, Transparent Leader is be aware of this foundational principle: the separation from self is at the root of your pain and sadness. Conversely, it is your deep connection to the CORE of who you are and honoring that CORE which will bring you the greatest joy, inspiration and fulfillment. Without the true connection to self, all your successes will, within a very short time, be flat and dissatisfying.
So what can you do to find your inner joy, inspiration, and fulfillment as a leader?
A simple yet extremely potent strategy:
Look, I know you’re busy and there’s so much to do. But let’s face it, we can all fill time, and what’s more you know as well as I do that if you don’t scheduled something it’s not likely to happen.
So the insider Secret is this:
Schedule fifteen minutes every day to write (by hand) in your journal. This is not a bullet point “to do” list, or even a bullet point “have done” list. This is writing with a flow of consciousness. Writing with a flow of consciousness means starting off by writing the words “I feel.” Then keep the pen in contact with the page without stopping for a sip of coffee or to contemplate the wall or to answer an email. Simply write until you have written at least one complete, standard-sized, single-spaced page. (Writing this way will not always easy at first, but it’s well worth the commitment. Keep at it and you will get there).
As you begin to writing with a flow of consciousness, your mind will, without doubt, object, telling you that there are any number of other things you “should” or “could” be doing. However, not one of those “should” or “coulds” will be more productive than this kind of writing. It might not– probably won’t–seem that way immediately, but it will over time because it is creating a deep connection with your innermost being.
So go ahead, grab your journal (you do have a journal, don’t you?), dig in and begin getting that deep connection to yourself. You will be surprised at how much calmer you become in heated situations, how much clearer your decisions making skills become and how much more joy, inspiration and fulfillment await you.
And as a bonus you will discover that your communication skills will vastly improve, giving the strength and courage every great leader must have: becoming an Authentic Speaker and Leader
Not to mention, you will begin to truly understand what success and successful leadership means to you…Guaranteed!
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