There are many qualities that will help you along the way to creating the life you truly desire. Persistence, gratitude, and service are a few of many possible examples. But there’s one quality in particular that we can tend to overlook when taking stock of ourselves—the quality of leadership.
We have a habit of telling ourselves the same lie over and over: “Not everyone is a natural leader.”
Why is this a lie? Because everyone—yes, including you—is a leader whether they know it or not. You have within you the qualities you need to lead people. Now, conventional wisdom would tell you otherwise. In my opinion, though, leadership as a course or study is overblown, overcomplicated, and a stumbling block to a lot of people. You don’t have to read hundreds of books on leadership to become an actual leader.
All you have to do to begin leading is recognize the leadership qualities you already possess…and then use them! Your beliefs about yourself play a large role in dictating who you actually are. When you begin to think differently about yourself as a leader, you can totally alter the path you are currently walking.
It is important you understand that leadership essentially boils down to two things:
- Your perspective or beliefs about yourself.
- The quality we can call “likeability.” Likeability can be defined as the ability to build rapport so that others listen to you. We listen to the people we like.
At this point in your life, I promise you already have plenty of experience as a leader, even if the people you have been leading are your children or friends whose opinions you want to sway to your own.
Leadership, simply defined, is as follows: Relating your beliefs or opinions to others with conviction in such a way that it creates a vision for their own future—a future they see you are determined to help them obtain.
How many times have you been in the car on a family road trip when the dreaded question arises: “So, where does everyone want to eat?”
Usually, you’ll get an answer like, “I don’t know. Where do you want to eat?”
But all it really takes for a decision to be made is for one person to say, “McDonald’s. Let’s go to McDonald’s.”
The group likely responds, “Okay.”
Have you ever noticed that there’s one person in your group who inevitably decides:
- The time at which the group will meet
- The movie the group will see
- The restaurant at which the group will eat
There are basically two reasons for this:
- Everyone pretty much likes this person
- This person simply says something
You may not consider that leadership, but that’s exactly what it is! General George S. Patton, who I think we can all agree was a good leader, said, “Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader.”
Leadership is not nearly as complicated or scary as we make it out to be. You already have it inside yourself. The next time you are faced with a decision, step up and stand out. Do not allow fear to hold you back. If your decision happens to be wrong, it won’t be long before you are presented with an opportunity to redeem yourself.
Just remember, those who leave decisions to others rarely determine the direction of their own lives. If you’re ready to steer your life in the direction of your choosing, it’s time to recognize and become the leader you already have inside.
How do you define leadership?