Not too long ago, I was attending an event for online business owners. One of the workshop presenters asked for a show of hands for who was a leader in the room.
In that group of around 100 online business owners, guess how many people raised their hands? About seven people.
The speaker went on to explain how every single person in the room should have raised their hand because we are all leaders in some sphere of life whether it’s as a mom leading her children, as a business owner leading your team, as a blogger or author leading your “tribe”, as a Sunday school teacher leading your class… no matter who you are or what you do, if you’re past about five years old, you are a leader.
My Change of Perspective on Leadership
I understood why very few people raised their hands at that event, though, because I used to not think I was a leader either. In fact, it seemed almost egotistical for me to even consider that I might be a leader in some sense of the word.
But I started reading John Maxwell (if you’ve not read any of his books, you must make that a priority in your life ASAP!), and it transformed my thoughts on leadership. I began to realize that I absolutely was a leader in certain realms.
I’m called by God to lead and teach my children with my husband and God has put a strong calling in my life to lead women by encouraging and equipping them to be better stewards of their time and resources and to live life on purpose.
When I finally owned the fact that I am called to be a leader, it completely changed the way I approach life. Here are three things I’m learning are especially important to be doing if I want to be a leader:
1. I Must Pour Into My Own Life
How can you expect to effectively give out to your children or your class or your team or your readers (whoever it is that you are leading) if you aren’t constantly replenishing your supply? This is why it’s imperative for me to spend time in God’s Word and prayer every day and why I’ve become very intentional about reading good books.
What are you doing to pour into your life and build yourself up to lead in those areas you’re called to lead in? If you can’t think of anything, today’s the day to set a few small goals and start working on them!
2. I Must Surround Myself With Wise Mentors
Just because I now own the fact that I’m a leader does not mean I’ve in any way “arrived”. Oh goodness, no!
I have so much to learn and so far to go. Because of this, I need wise people around me to help steer me, challenge me, motivate me, and correct me.
In the last few years, I’ve been especially intentional about cultivating relationships with those who are more experienced than me in life and seeking their counsel and advice. More than anything, I want to be teachable and willing to learn from others — even when it means admitting that I was wrong and asking for forgiveness (something I have to do so often!).
3. I Must Live a Life of Integrity
A while back, I was in a session at a conference listening to a woman speak on how important it was to be a person of your word. She gave some examples of times in her life when someone had promised her something and then they’d not made good on their promise.
I was challenged by her statements because I know that I have a tendency to make promises to people with good intentions, but then life happens and I don’t always follow through. I was further challenged because I later saw this same woman practice what she preached.
You see, this speaker had said earlier at the conference that she wanted to meet with me. I thought it was a nice gesture, but I knew she had a thousand and one things going on and didn’t really expect a meeting to actually happen.
But, to my surprise, she made good on her promise. In spite of her busy schedule, she invited me up to her hotel room later in the day and we had a great chat together.
You know why I was especially challenged? Because just a few months ago, I’d told someone at a conference that I was available to meet with them at a certain time. At the last minute, something came up and we didn’t get to meet more than in passing.
I later followed up and apologized via email and was able to answer some of her questions through email. However, I know that I disappointed this person by making a promise I didn’t keep. That’s not integrity and that’s not how I want to live my life.
How are you seeking to develop yourself so you can be a more effective leader?
photos from Big Stock