Yes, You There, You’re a Leader — So Start Owning It!

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

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Comments

  1. says

    I loved the points you brought up in this post. I was just thinking earlier how influential
    and great leader you have been in helping me be wise with my time, manage my home and
    spend wisely. I’m very grateful for you sharing your wisdom because it certainly helps me be better leader at home! :-) Thanks friend!

  2. says

    Wow. Thank you for this post. This is such an encouragement to me, and it’s a challenge. This reminds me of Jeff Goins talking about owning the phrase, “I am a writer.” Somehow determining what we are gives us empowerment and humility all at once: I’m a leader. I’m a writer. I am called – that’s where the difference lies. With the calling, we are at once empowered (If not me, then who?) and humbled (God wants me to do this?).

  3. says

    Great tips Crystal, thanks so much. I never really thought much about being a leader, but now I know this is one area I need to improve on. I’ve been reading some books, now I’ll have to follow your other tips.

  4. crystal says

    Only 5 minutes prior to reading this, I was in the shower, weeping. Struggling with thoughts of inadequacy in my leadership position. Telling God, “I didn’t ask for this! I am not a leader! Why me?” This year has been both a battle against and a discovery of leadership. I never thought I would have a leader bone in my body. Then I flipped open my computer to look at Facebook – and I read the title “Yes, You There, You’re a Leader – So Start Owning It!”. Thank you for this. I believe Jesus lead me to you to be encouraged tonight. I know He has the plans for my life and I am excited to see where He is going to lead me as I lead others!

    • says

      You know what? Being in a place where you feel so inadequate is a *good* place, so long as it forces you to rely upon the Lord like never before.

      {Hugs!} to you as you step out in faith and trust *Him* to lead through you and give you everything you need for what He has called you to do.

      “God doesn’t call those who are qualified; He qualifies those whom He calls.”

  5. says

    It’s often difficult to think of ourselves as leaders because I think we don’t want to seem proud or puffed up! But it does make a big difference when we realize that that is what God has called us to do and when we don’t own it we aren’t living up to our calling. No matter who we are or how we fill our days we are leading someone, sometimes we don’t even know it. It’s our duty to lead them the right way in everything we do. Thank you for the reminder and the encouragement.

  6. amy k says

    I grew up with many promises made by many many people that were never made good on and it affected me greatly. Even today i try and not put hope in what people promise because it is so hurtful to be forgotten. It taught me as a young person to not make promises if i didn’t think i could keep them, and became very important to me when talking with my kids. i remember all the promises spoken then broken as a child and i never want to hurt my kids the same way. Obviously i am human and life is out of my ultimate control, but i can count the number of broken promises on two hands. I’m not perfect, but it is a priority in my life when interacting with friends and family. I encourage people to watch what you promise and follow up and make good on your promise!

    • says

      Such an excellent reminder… but I’m so sorry you had to grow up experiencing so many broken promises. :( I love how you’ve taken a negative experience in your own life and turned it into a positive reminder for us all! Thank you.

  7. Andi says

    Crystal you never cease to amaze me. I just wish I could get my husband to read your articles. I know your helped me tremedously. Thank you for all that you do, you truly are a leader!

  8. says

    Crystal, I loved this post and I’m right there with you in this stage of my life. I became a leader by accident just within the last few years and I feel the weight of the responsibility very heavily. I agree about the books, mentors, and keeping watch over my own soul. There’s never been a time in my life when I’ve needed to just stay on my face before God in order to fulfill His call on my life for this season. That’s what I’m doing to develop myself–I am so woefully inadequate in and of myself that I just have to stay on my face. And I know that that is probably the best place to be.

    • says

      “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.”

      It’s such a hard place to be in when we feel like the calling is so much bigger than what we are humanly capable of. But it’s such a good place, because it forces us to cling to the Lord like never before and then we get to see Him show up and do great and mighty things through broken vessels.

      I prayed for you today, Jamie, that you would keep clinging to Him in this calling He has on your life.

  9. says

    I used to be in the military, where I was frequently forced to be a leader. That was very good training for the rest of my life. At first, I resisted but it gradually became second nature, and I discovered that thinking of myself as a leader pushes me to be confident and assertive when I might normally hide in the background.

  10. says

    This post was really thought-provoking. I think it’s interesting to read in the comments that a lot of people didn’t want to become leaders, but it just happened. I also came into a leadership position a while back, and I was super unhappy about it. I thought I was the only one that felt this way about leadership. Now I know that I need to look at it all from a different perspective. Thanks for this great post, and for all of the interesting comments from everyone else.

  11. says

    I was one of those persons in the room who didn’t raise their hands. I have always told myself for years “I am not a leader, I am on who supports leaders” or “I am not and upfront and center kind of person I like helping behind the scenes”. Yet listening to John Miller speak that day made me realize even us background people are leaders too. Thanks for the reminder, and I am adding John Maxwell to my list of author’s to look up and read (yep I have never read one of his books).

    • says

      For the record, I totally think of you as a leader, whether you realize it or not. I’ve learned so much from you. Thank you for being an example I want to follow; you constantly inspire me!

  12. says

    Crystal,

    I just want to say that I absolutely love this post on leadership! You are using such honesty, humbleness, and grace (as always!) and that’s why I keep coming back to read your articles.

    Thank you!

  13. Victoria says

    I love Maxwell’s books as well!! You are so on point here. I may even use these points at a job interview tomorrow!

  14. Jessica says

    Great post! I am inspired to read some of his books. I have Today Matters. Do you have any other ones to recommend? I looked him up on amazon and was overwhelmed with the number of books that he had written and they all looked like they would be good reads.

    • says

      Honestly, everything my husband and I have read from him has been great. One I read not too long ago was Becoming a Person of Influence. I’m hoping to read at least two more this year.

      Your local library probably has a number of titles of his.

  15. says

    It really doesn’t help anyone (yourself or those you lead) if you don’t own up to being a leader. However, I must say that I have a hard admitting that I am a leader. Like you said it feels strange and almost egotistical. About 7 years ago, I found myself in a major leadership role. I didn’t really ask for it, I definitely didn’t want it, I knew many others would be far better suited to the role, I was secretly hoping someone would just swoop in at the last minute and take over, and so I went through the steps with great hesitancy and fear. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I really started owning it and at least pretending to be confident and the results were SO MUCH better for everyone! It helped me to realize that by humbly owning my leadership role I wasn’t TAKING the credit for being a leader, I was GIVING God the credit for being able to take the painfully shy and insecure little me and make me into the leader he wanted me to be.

  16. Keiva says

    Ending this post on integrity is great to see. My husband and I are intentional with our word. We strictly adhere to the idea of keeping your word. If you say you are going to do something, do it! That’s that! We say your word is all you have, you will be known by your word. If you keep it or break it people will remember, so at all costs do your best to keep your word. We really feel this is a lost concept. I mean in Bible times oaths, lives, and so much more were solely based on one’s word. Why is now so different?

  17. says

    Thank you for this post. It is daunting to step out as a leader but as you said, God will equip you if he is calling you to leadership.

  18. says

    Crystal, I love how you share your life’s moments with those lasting taking aways from others who poured into your life. You are that to me! Since BEECH, I have really been doing the same thing and you are mentioned often.

    Thank you for what you do and who you are!