The Courage To Lead

Felix on top of Railway Tunnel, a sculpture by Marcel Kroonenburg, Hoge Bergse Bos.

Who is the first person that comes to mind when you think about leadership? Nelson Mandela immediately pops up in my head. Richard Branson. Brene Brown. Beyonce. And Obama, of course.

Nothing wrong with having these rolemodels. I let myself gladly be inspired by the power, independency and freedom of Beyonce. What might easily get overlooked however, is the importance of self-leadership.

Leaders of our own lives

There’s a few things that I have learned from this pandemic. The importance for each and everyone of us to take full responsibility for our lives and choices would be number one with a bullet.

I see and believe that most of our leaders are doing the best they can to navigate these difficult times. I also experience that just a few of them have the wisdom and decisiveness to do so. Go, Jacinda Ardern!

I don’t have the power to change this situation. It is what it is. What this situation means however, is that it is crucial that we stop giving our power away to others and become the leaders of our own lives.

Meet yourself where you are at

Easily done? No, not at all. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to show up for yourself in this way. First of all, you need to become very honest with yourself. Taking the lead in your life means that you are willing to recognize where you are at, in this moment. What you’ll see, won’t always be a pretty sight.

Maybe you sense how soured you have become, with much more negativity spinning around in your mind than you had ever imagined. Or you finally get in touch with how tired you are and need to acknowledge that you have exhausted your body. Or you need to recognize that you haven’t been happy in your work for quite some time. It takes courage to look yourself in the mirror and to be brutally honest about how you feel right now.

The good news is that nothing more is needed in this first step. Your willingness to acknowledge this, to be with these feelings and to build a relationship with them is all that is needed.

Know where you are going

Step two of self-leadership is about you daring to dream. For you. Because your focus is not on your current situation, but on where you want to go. Your focus is on the vision you hold for yourself.

If you feel like the exhausted professional, the vision may be: ‘I am a well-rested woman’. If you are taken over by negative thoughts, you focus on your future self being powerful and self-supportive. Are you unhappy in your work? Keep reminding yourself that life has more for you in store and envision with your mind’s eye your dream job. This will guide your energy into the right direction.

Small action steps

There’s one more piece you need to have in place in order to become the leader in your own life: taking action steps. Every single day, you commit yourself to taking a small action step into the direction of your vision.

The exhausted woman may want to download a yoga nidra meditation that will enable her to rest. The professional who feels plagued by negative thinking searches for a coaching program that will enable her to master her mind. The not so happy worker makes the decision to get clarity on what it is she really wants in life. All steps, small and big, are perfect as long as they take you closer to the vision you have chosen for yourself.

Next time I ask you that very same question about the first person that comes to mind when you think about leadership, you say: Me! Of course, me. Who else?

Self-leadership is on top of my mind these days, as I am in the midst op creating a brand new group program. It is called: Get Clarity Now and will help you start doing work you love. No more going around in circles but taking inspired action towards the most fabulous work life you can imagine. That’s what I have in mind for you. Keep an eye out, as I will be posting all details here early next week.