Aspire to Lead? Check your aspirations.
If you aspire to be a leader, what would that look like for you? Do you imagine it? Do you strive for it every day?
Of course, you might be attracted to the LeadChange group because you already have a leadership responsibility or because the very thought of leadership is enticing to you. To me, leadership is a deep, personal choice that will require very much of the person making it. So it should not be taken lightly, but rather, grounded in who you are and what you want out of life. To lead well and with character will be a huge undertaking. It will also be very rewarding if you do it right.
Leadership can take so many different forms. And so it should. Because true, character-based leadership takes into account not only who the followership is and where they might want to be led, but also the leader’s own heart. I find the most compelling leaders are those who are brave enough to follow their own heart and passion in deciding where they are willing to stand up and lead.
So, following my aspirations theory, let’s look into the three main aspirations that drive human beings. Reminding ourselves of them will help us to be better leaders. If you want to get in touch with your own aspirations and your heart’s desire make sure you cover these bases in your self-reflection.
What do you want to be known for? Leading is about being bigger than yourself. About creating lasting, relevant things in the world. It is a path to a deeply significant life, because it creates the possibility to influence the lives of others. Through leadership, you can encounter and engage with those who can take your work a step further, share it, make it blossom, keep it going. That’s where mentoring and coaching people becomes a win-win situation. If you are leading with only the present moment in mind, your leadership will be short-lived or become irrelevant as time goes on. Think always of the impact of your work in those that follow, in the possibilities it creates and in the lasting effect of it.
In leading, make sure you pick up some understanding on the way. True leaders will get a buzz from learning new things and listening to how others’ process their vision. You can correct course, learn and lead yourself on to explore uncharted territory, gain insights and become curious about what’s behind the progress you are making or even the mistakes you are sometimes plagued with. Every step of the way holds nuggets of wisdom to be had by those who become aware of them. Leaders strive to be the ones that are aware and make the best use of wisdom gained. What wisdom are YOU after? Where are you looking? How are you looking? Will you know it when you find it? Being IN these questions makes a world of a difference, and sharing them with others expands their effectiveness.
Leading others to your own heart’s desire should really be a joyful experience. And yes, if you are not enjoying it, there IS something wrong with your leadership. Even if it is doing some good in the world, you could definitely do more if you were connecting with your own bliss. That doesn’t mean that it won’t entail hard work, chosing to do some things over others, collaborating in unfamiliar ways or taking on projects you wouldn’t have considered if you didn’t have the end in mind. Happiness goes beyond pleasure into being truly satisfied with life. Are you satisfied with where you are leading yourself as you lead others onward? The answer should always be YES. Whenever it is not, there is a leader’s course to be corrected. Passion will ensue.
I wish you well on your own personal path to leadership. May you be well accompanied, well mentored, well advised. And may you find your way to your aspirations. Please join the conversation below so we can all deepen our thoughts on the matter.