Last Wednesday I was blessed to speak to almost 400 women at an annual conference. Leadership: Purpose, Passion, & Power was the title of my talk. Staring out at this huge room with packed circular tables everywhere, I started with “What if I told you every one of us is called to leadership?” and then “What if I told you every one of us has a purpose?”
Leadership is not a position. We all know people in leadership roles who have no clue how to lead. Leadership is a chosen way of life. It is a willingness to recognize that we are the leaders of our lives, our careers, our relationships, and our stories. Abdicating that leadership, allowing others to define your journey, your relationship with yourself and others, is a massive step in self-betrayal.
We have no control over others, not even infants and toddlers. We can put them in the crib, but we can’t force them to sleep as most every parent knows. We also have little control over the outside world. As leaders however, we have a natural ability to respond or react to everything that shows up. The response we choose is based on the stories we tell ourselves and we always have the ability to write or rewrite any story. “These things always happen to me…” “Another growth step,” “Things never work out.” “That experience certainly taught me a lot about me/business/relationships (whichever)…. What a gift.”
The story we tell ourselves defines whether we react or respond and we have full leadership of not only the story but what we do with it. Do you own your leadership? Or do you blame others for things that happen? Do you go to powerlessness? Confusion? Overwhelm? Welcome to humanity if it happens on occasion. If they are a way of life, recognize you haven’t yet owned your leadership. If you don’t like something, change it, leave it, or change your perspective on it. If you are arguing with me at this moment, I’ll be OK, but smile and see your fear and resistance.
To recognize those stories you tell yourself, as well as discovering your purpose, which leads to there are clear steps you can take. Mindfulness, sitting in the quiet of the moment, to hear the inner stories, the inner fears, and the messages, can be a difficult process to start but it is a gift beyond words to develop.
Emotional Intelligence, recognizing your buttons, your ways of dealing or running your emotions or thoughts, can support you fully in owning that your life is a result of the choices you have made. “I didn’t bring this in.” Maybe you did, or didn’t, but you did choose how you were going to deal with it. The freedom and personal power that comes from owning that is absolutely liberating.
Not only do you begin to see how easily you can change your life, but you also begin to fall in love with yourself and discover your personal purpose and passion along the way. Why are you here on this planet at this moment? Who do you want to be? A resource? A leader? A catalyst? How do you want to live those out? What do you want to do at this point in your journey? It is your journey after all.
The quiet and reflection of Mindfulness and the freedom and power provided by Emotional Intelligence demonstrate the necessity of these two tools that support your inner peace and the listening needed to discover the answer to each of these questions above.
In closing they also call you to see your job or career, volunteerism, your relationships with yourself, and others, as what you are doing solely to survive or what you are doing to live fully and with purpose. Your choice!