When we think of leadership we usually think of the person up front. That person who leads is usually an expert, the brightest, fastest, strongest or most charismatic. Because of this they are destined for leadership, right? Well what about the rest of the world. Can those who are not the brightest, or most charismatic, can they still be leaders?
We should all strive to be the best at whatever we engage in and do so with confidence, but we should also know that there are other attributes to leadership. On your way to being the best, all the positions along the way can offer you opportunities to display leadership. You can lead from where you are. If you are not positioned up front, or in the corner office, your contribution and influence still matters. Seeing influence and contributions as key attributes to leadership is as important as positioning.
If you change your thinking about leadership your position may follow. Remember Jesus was a servant leader, he led by serving others.
Have you ever wondered why some adults are so timid about pursuing their dreams? I think the following story explains it well.
The speaker looked into the faces of the elementary school students and asked with great enthusiasm “What do you want to be when you grow up”. Before he finished the sentence many hands shot up. The students were excited to share their belief that they will be Presidents, Astronauts, Horse trainers, Superheroes…and the list went on and on. The students spoke loudly and even met the laughter from others with good-natured laughter themselves. Their confidence could not be quenched.
The speaker five years later met these same students in Middle school and enthusiastically asked them the same question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. With a degree of self consciousness a few students put up their hands and shared “I going to be a teacher, I going to get a job at McDonalds, or I’m going to work with my Dad, Mechanic… then silence. The speaker looked around and asked would anyone else care to share their dream about what they will do in the future? He was met with students looking down at their hands and whispering to each other.
That same speaker met with the same students five years later in High School and with a smile of encouragement asked them “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. He was met with silence, no hands raised. He decided to pick students out of the audience and ask them to stand and share their hopes for their future employment. The answers ranged from a distracted “I don’t know” to an “I think I’m going to go to college and then decide after that.” One boy said he planned to study medicine and become a Doctor, however with head hung down and as he lowered his voice he didn’t appear to be confident that statement.
The same students were seen at five year spans, what happened, what changed? Where were those confident, brave, enthusiastic six year olds he had first encountered? Somewhere along the way seeds of doubt had been planted, weeds of self consciousness had grown, and shrubs of inadequacy stayed.
This story is unfortunately played out too often and witnessed in the lack of confidence displayed by many adults as they approach their dreams. It may be a dream for a future spouse, financial stability in a career they are passionate about, or a personal health and wellness goal. Regardless of the goal, many adults need help so that they can recover that bright, brave and brilliant child who believed in the best possibilities for their life and future. With coaching my clients are able to recover their ability to dream big, but go further and add plans and actions so that those dreams can become reality. Along the way there may be challenges, but there are also supports if you know how to look for them. The value of those supports and encouragement cannot be underestimated.
If you have some unrealized dreams that you want to explore and are ready to take a chance and bravely pursue, call me for a free consultation to see if this is the path and the time to begin your own dream recovery.
Allison Bonilla LCSW
Your Focused Life Coach
Have you ever had the experience of wanting something, going after it, achieving it, then wanting to change your mind? This happens more frequently than you would think.
My husband and I have been blessed to raise 5 children to adulthood. Four out of the five, as they approached adulthood expressed the wish to live independently. It sometimes sounded like this “I can’t wait till I’m 18 and can get out of here”. When said like this it was usually a reaction to some rule or boundary being put in place.
At other times it sounded like this, “When I get my own place I want to make sure I have a pool and a gym at the complex so that I don’t have to pay and get a gym membership”. When said like this it was usually at a time when we were talking about the child’s adult aspirations.
No matter how the discussion arose, the intent was clear; they were all going to move out of the parental home and into a home of their own. My husband and I prepared our hearts for it, and at times wished it would arrive soon, and at other times feared the fast arrival of that time.
Each child in their turn migrated out of the home, with the exception of one. And each child in their turn came back, with the exception of one who has maintained his independence continuously. That child by the way is the only one who really planned their exit financially and didn’t do it as a reaction to boundaries being set.
What my husband and I realized was that although we loved them all, even when they at times were being unlovable, we knew that they needed to have the freedom to try their wings. We also knew that we couldn’t roll up the welcome mat yet. We kept the safety net spread in case their wings were not strong enough to get them far enough away into the land of full independence. And sure enough three of the four landed back at our doorstep with regrets.
Going after your dreams is not a bad thing however it is important that you don’t go after it without planning properly. Anger is great fuel at times to get us moving and it can give us the energy to make things happen, but it can promote movement that is not well timed or well planned.
When we take the time to look at the thing we want so much we need to ask ourselves 3 questions before we move towards it.
3. What am I leaving behind to move forward? Every time you make a choice to move towards something, you also make a choice to leave something behind. This is not always a bad thing; some things need to be left behind. If you are pursuing maturity, immaturity must be left behind.
When our children, each in their turn wanted to come back home my husband and I spoke with them about the expectations of our home. They left as children and upon return we greeted them as adults. They were reminded that they left their children status when they chose to live as independent adults outside of the home. As fellow adults living in our home, we still maintained the rights as the landlords to have certain rules, but they had obligations towards us that they didn’t have before. They now had rent to pay, they had obligations not to come in past a certain time, so that the dog wouldn’t bark and wake up the whole house. We were all working adults in the home and coming in at 2 in the morning on a work night was a no go. So we left it up to them to see if they could pay their rent on time and abide by the rules and if not assured them that we would not be upset if they found other accommodations that would suit them better.
If you are a person who is motivated to pursue your dream, whether it is the dream of a great relationship, new job or business, or even a lifestyle change, great! Most people struggle with finding the motivation to pursue their dream. However before you move forward into action make sure you ask yourself the above questions. Make a strategy, a plan that looks for the positives as well as the potential negatives then get some good counsel on it. Speak to people who had done what you would like to do, and done it successfully. They can tell you where the pitfalls and danger zone are. You don’t have to learn by your own mistakes, there are many people who have gone before, learn by theirs.
Your Focused Life Coach;
Allison Bonilla LCSW