My clients ask me how to be a better leader. I say: be a better you.
What makes you a better person? Who gets to judge who’s a better person? The answer is: Only you do.
You are the only judge that matters. You get to measure yourself by your own standards. You can compare yourself to others if you like, but essentially, that’s a useless exercise. Everyone is different, and everyone has a different standard of who they are. No one gets to judge you unless you allow them.
Consider a different question: Are you a leader of your life?
When you are a leader of your life it is a journey, a process that unfolds over time. I’ve spent the better part of 35 years getting to know who I am, and I’ve found that I like who I have become, and I share that openly with those I have the pleasure of connecting with.
I think of it as journey into a forest. It’s filled with unknowns and uncertainty, and during your journey of getting to know yourself, you will confront strong emotions. You will be afraid. You will have moments when you don’t know who you are, or what to do, and you will make it up as you go along so make some good choices.
You will also discover the unimaginable potential that exists within you: your greatness. Other people will notice it too, and they will want a part of it. Others will want to follow you, and to share in your greatness because it casts a shadow on them. It’s the spirit of influence that informs everything you do.
Recently, I made up a new word. It’s called InnerFluence and it’s pretty simple. When you are fluent with yourself (the inner part), you will have more influence in the world at large. More importantly, you will live the life you were destined to live. A life of fulfillment and satisfaction knowing you made a difference in the lives of those you touched, and you have left a legacy of strength, courage and inspiration.
Being conscious of who you are and how you walk through the world is the foundation of a well-lived life.
This is also conscious leadership.
I have currently written 6 books, sung in front of hundreds of people, earned a black belt in karate, and on my way to earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I’ve also raised my children, traveled and lived in several countries, started my own enterprise, and presented my work to some of the biggest companies in the United States. I have had massive influence through any one of these outlets.
I have also established myself as a credible expert with my clients, with strong leadership skills, and I know I am capable of fulfilling any vision I put my mind to. I also trust that I can handle whatever comes my way, even if I occasionally feel self-doubt and trepidation about undertaking something new.
I have done all of this because I know who I am and what I want. I’m sure some of you reading this can relate to this, and if you do, you are in the small percentage of individuals who take their growth seriously. The truth is, we are all life-long learners, and the minute you stop learning, the game is over. There’s a pine box waiting for you somewhere.
There is no doubt in my mind that the people who invest in their growth, who develop their skills, talents and experience to build credibility, will gain far more influence and success than those who don’t. These are the people who are dedicated to being a better person, so they can give generously as a better leader.
The world needs strong leaders now more than ever. Many of our organizations and institutions are broken, and we need good people to help fix them. Taking on the responsibility to influence others effectively is the task all good people should rise to.
Become the leader you want to be: one who inspires and motivates through sharing your vision, and who influences the people around you to open up to their vision and rise to being more than they thought they could be.
After all, isn’t that what we all want at the end of our days: To know we made a difference? To know that we made a contribution to the lives of others?
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