“The key to your impact as a leader is your own sincerity. Before you can inspire others with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe.” – Winston Churchill
Lately, I’ve been re-evaluating my belief of what a leader is and questioning whether I’m a leader or not. I think Winston Churchill in the above quote, has touched the tip of it all for me. I think that any one of us can have an impact as a leader in our families, our work, our communities, our cities, our nation and even the world as long as we are sincere about what we are doing and believe in it… fully.
I used to think that leaders got to be leaders because of what they knew as in the case of a leader in an organization, or who they knew as in the case of a political leader. Well, I’ve held onto the wrong idea of a leader for a very long time.
I have always wanted to make an impact… leave a legacy… make a difference… die fully used up. I wanted to do it in a big way… be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or founder of a world non-profit that benefits thousands, or even get elected to political office. Well, none of this has happened and I’m still not saying it’s not possible, but I am learning that I am making an impact. I am leaving a legacy in my own way, simply by leading in my every day life.
Leadership to me now simply means to act as a guide, not to always teach others, but to show them how to learn, how to be self-aware.
“Gutsy leaders who strive to motivate others make time to help people see how their work is connected to something bigger.” – Kevin Freiberg
In my business, I coach many people who are yearning and are ready to step into being a leader in their lives. This means different things to each person and each person is right in their own definition.
The people I coach consistently want to play bigger games in their lives. A bigger game just means what they are up to in their lives.
One client wants to develop a brainstorming group. This is a bigger game for her as she is leaving comfort zones, stretching herself by doing something that makes her ‘GULP’. She keeps working through that nagging voice in her head that keeps telling her, ‘Who do you think you are to do this… you don’t know how to do this, nobody will come, etc.” She has to learn new things about how to lead this type of group that she has no experience in. But she is sincere in her desire to do this and for her it ‘must be.’
Another client’s bigger game is about developing a yearlong program for high school girls to get them and keep them interested in technology. This young woman is 19 years old and her bigger game involves finding allies to help her, investing time and energy into learning things she doesn’t know, and taking bold action over and over and over again.
What is also consistent in those I coach in leadership, is their sincerity and their conviction that what they are doing ‘must be.’ This is truly inspiring. This is a common thread that I find among all the leaders I work with. I know when I see leaders that are sincere and passionate about their objectives, they are very inspiring and they will succeed in their mission.
Something else I find to be true about leaders is that when they are truly motivated themselves, they are connected to something bigger. This, again, means different things to different people. What is important is that they are connected to something bigger than themselves. They also remind others (act as a guide; show the way) of their connection to something bigger.
Continued next week…