“To become a leader, then, you must become yourself.” ~ Warren Bennis
Becoming a leader is a process of internal self-discovery. It is a process of clarifying your values and being clear on how you choose, in the moment, to operate from those values. It is about understanding how you show up in the nitty-gritty details of the day; understanding where you hold yourself small, where you shirk away and where you stand tall. It is about understanding how your internal beliefs, your habitual responses, your fears and stories take over and possibly run roughshod over your deeper intentions; about how those things can keep you small when you really do have it in you to stand taller in your leadership.
In order to grow as a leader it is important to first define your values. Your values are your foundation for everything. What do you stand for? What are your expectations for yourself? Do you truly act, speak, think, lead from what you really stand for? If you don’t know this and don’t know how to clearly act from values, how can you possibly set expectations for others and engage them into action? If you can’t see the potential within yourself, how can you recognize the potential in others?
You become a leader when you begin to understand who you are (not what you like and don’t like, do and don’t do, but WHO you really are). It is a highly personal process, but likely the most important one you’ll ever engage in.
Clarity in your values and in who you are underneath all those habits, responses and beliefs you’ve been carting around, leads to clarity of action. Do you regularly step on your values in decisions you make, the conversations you have, the actions you take? Or are you using your values as a guide to ensure that no matter what, you are truly living into those values? We all tend to be out of integrity with our values in many small ways throughout our day, yet the true leader has the courage to bring awareness to this and make course corrections, not excuses.