We may think of someone who is confident, or articulate, or dynamic. We may think of someone who is nurturing, or compassionate, or dignified in the face of opposition. We may see someone who is insightful, or deeply committed to a cause, or empathetic. We may think of a person who has demonstrated their leadership, either in history or right now. We may be inspired by what we see, or intimidated, or even skeptical.
Many of us see someone who is not ourself. When we think of the word “Leader,” we see someone else; someone who is stronger, or smarter, or somehow better than we are.
I am convinced that when we think of being a leader, we need to look in a mirror. I am convinced that there is a leader in each of us, and that each of us can become the leader we are seeking.In essence, leadership is not about who can be the most articulate, or the best strategist, or the most committed to a cause. Leadership is about knowing and living out of your true self. Leadership is about finding ways in which your true self can connect with the true selves of the people around you.
Leadership is not about gaining a specific position or earning a certain level of income. Leadership is not something that people can learn by reading a book or by going to school, though those can be great places to start. Leadership is more about being than about doing.
Leadership depends on the inner work of discovering yourself and your ability to make your true self available to the people around you.
When you look in the mirror, do you see a leader?
[Image by Paul Keller]