There is a leader in all of us. We are the leaders of our own lives But we are also leaders to those around us because the decisions and choices we make do impact the lives of other people as well. Whether we like it or not. We are all connected.
I never saw myself as a leader. In fact, we were always told that people are either leaders or followers. Since I was a shy, quiet rule-follower, I just “knew” I would never be a leader. I also was the type of person who got railroaded by the louder, more obvious people and so I just thought they were the ones who would rule us all and I was just one of the people who would fall into line.
Then over the years, I learned how important it was to step outside of my comfort zone. So I started to do more things and gained more confidence and found out I had more to give than I ever thought possible. (Although this also developed my snarky, opinionated side a bit more too. OOPSIES!) It takes time to develop your style and to learn what to do and what not to do. Sometimes we want huge opportunities to come along because we feel we are ready for them.
Do I sometimes long to lead a group of people?
Am I ready for it?
And I don’t want anything that I’m not ready for at this time. If we aren’t fully prepared and ready for a responsibility, we either better learn fast or we need to take a step back and evaluate if that is the right time and the right position.
I was recently in a training course with a few other people. It was online and so we had our cameras off and MICs muted. The teacher kept asking if we understood and was always questioning if we were paying attention and if we were even there. Rightly so. I can’t imagine having to speak into a void and not getting any responses. Since I’m the type of person who hates that myself, I made sure I responded back that yes, I was there and yes, I understood the material. I found myself getting super annoyed with all the other people in the group. And then it hit me: This was an opportunity for me to lead!
Was it a super small, barely-acknowledged tiny opportunity? YES! But it was an opportunity all the same. And once I saw it as an opportunity to lead, even in a small way, my attitude about it changed. I was no longer annoyed with everyone else. Instead, I was grateful for the chance to show up and take ownership. And the attitude about it was the key.
Do I tend to get annoyed and frustrated about things very easily?
Can I do something about it?
And the more I recognize and acknowledge the attitude that shows up so quickly, I can choose to change it. And the more I choose the better attitude over the negative one, the faster and easier it becomes.
But it starts with those small opportunities. The ones that people really don’t even recognize or see. It starts with you and how you see it and how you show up. It starts with your attitude and how you view it. And once you are able to handle those small chances you take, you can chip away at the bigger ones. And before you know it, people will see you as a leader and recognize the ways you’ve changed and impacted them. I’m still in the beginning stages but I plan to continue working on myself and my attitude.
It is also important to give yourself grace. I love to say that I’m a work in progress. The first step is recognizing these things. Then the challenge is implementing them in our everyday lives. And that is a process. So start to do it today but know it will take many levels in many tomorrows before you actually change. Keep up that hope up that it will come. And also continue to be kind to yourself and give yourself that grace to be human.