Not too long ago, I sat down to create a website for myself. Having no experience in the realm of web design, I went for the commonly used platform WordPress. There was a very steep learning curve for me, but I knew once I started I would pour myself into the project for hours on end. I had no one to coach me through the process, but knew that this would be a helpful starting point in my personal and professional development. This was one of those projects I could not wait to get moving on.
Not too long ago I sat down to have a difficult conversation with someone whom I love very much. They are an integral part of my life, work, and growth, and I care for them and their development. I had been putting off having this conversation because I knew that it would be a difficult one, and had spent a month going about every other way I could think of to resolve the issue and move towards growth together. This was one of those conversations I could not wait to get over with.
In life there are always going to be opportunities to start something new. Whether in our personal, professional, or social worlds, we always have within us enough potential energy to create something new, begin a new project, start a new process of growth. It is the new endeavors that we choose to begin that can fuel us unlike any task given to us by higher-ups or bosses, and it is these same endeavors that can keep us sitting on our hands, afraid of grabbing the reins and taking ownership of our future.
I realized recently that I was not creating new opportunities and projects for myself of the kind that would bring me energy and increase my momentum through life. You see, it was easy to just be handed tasks. Papers to write, projects to complete, tasks to accomplish. None of these things started out as burdens, not at all! They were all aligned with my passions, and when I had just started this new job, this new degree program, this new project, I had all the excitement and enthusiasm in the world!
But Monday turned into Tuesday. Week one into week two. January in February. You see, it became so much easier to go with the flow than to pick up the oars and choose my next direction. It was easier to dream than to act. And it was in this place of drifting through life and work that I started to wonder how I got there in the first place, when in reality this was a chosen (and exciting) school/profession/project when I first started out.
So I started something. I started growing. I started developing. And this wasn’t a sudden epiphany of realized growth, an incredible production of immediate fruit. No, this was a stubborn decision to lead my life in the direction that I wanted it to go in, and to use the momentum I carried from my first act of starting into my next project and the next one and the next (similar to that moment when Bruce Willis slingshots his spaceship around the moon in Armageddon). All I needed was the activation energy to get me started, and that activation energy is an indispensable part of leadership.
Whether it is a kick in the pants to start your Monday morning admin, or the deep-down courage it takes to launch that multi-million dollar campaign that rides entirely on your shoulders into victory or failure, leaders are people who have stubbornly decided to do the hardest and scariest and most risky things every single day. Before they go to bed at night they commit to doing everything necessary the next day to move forward in life and leadership for their good and the good of those around them. Without this essential element in a leader, how could you ever expect them to take their followers anywhere in life? If they aren’t courageous enough to start new things in their personal life, how could you expect a leader to effect change in the world around them?
A leader is someone who takes people from where they are to where they want to be. Simple as that. In order to do that, a leader must be someone who is willing to start every task in front of them no matter how daunting, in every area of their life, every day. A great leader is someone who has been doing this for years.
So I took the time and created a website (and not without moments of great frustration). I had the necessary conversation (and not without moments of nervousness but also great fruitfulness). And I started a blog called Everyday Leadership.
What have you started lately? How have you chosen to start owning your future and leading in your world?