What makes you who you are today?
What is it about your internal makeup and wiring, the collection of your experiences and mentors, that have brought you to this point in life?
Acknowledging Your Journey
We all have things in our past that have hammered and shaped us into the person we are in this moment. You are complex and layered, so take a minute to reflect deeper on the personal journey that has brought you here:
One question we rarely thing to ask is, “What are the things that have caused you to stop being you?” Such a question can prove uncomfortable and difficult, but you owe it to yourself to parse out the components of your life, separating what is part of your true self from the influences that have led you astray. Was it a comment made about you? Or maybe it was the disapproval of someone significant in your life that has caused you to settle into someone you never thought you would be?
Alternatively, be sure to investigate to the positive side of things as well. Did a coach or a parent help to shape you by giving you a practical roadmap to become the leader/person you wanted to become? Did someone important to you give you a code of ethics, a series of impactful life lessons, or a challenge to pursue something specific in your life?
Understanding Your Journey
The point of all these questions is that a leader’s journey is a crucial process to observe. If you want to know how a leader will act, or predict the decisions they will make, you need only look backwards to find the people, circumstances, and decisions that groomed them in the past to be who they are in the present.
Our present leadership tendencies are the culmination of past experiences and apprenticeship, mixed with our personality and nature. Whoever you allow to pour into you, to teach you – they are the ones you will emulate. You will raise yourself up in their image with the unique twist of your own personality and style imprinted upon that version of yourself.
But regardless of who you choose to be, and whomever you allow to mold you, always remember that leaders define culture. The culture you choose to build will inevitably cultivate leaders of the same quality and tendencies. Poor leaders tend to have had either little positive influence in their lives, or bad influences as their guideposts, and simply commit the same sins against others that they themselves experienced.
Why Your Leadership Journey Matters
This cycle of influence and cultivation is why your journey matters so much. It’s why you must learn to understand the influences, mentors, experiences, and choices that have shaped who you are today. For if you are a leader, then as you go, so go the multitudes of people you lead. Here a few pieces of advice to help you take ownership of your journey and wield it to become the leader you want to be:
- Do what it takes to know yourself well.
- Review your past, especially the positive and negative influences in your life.
- Ask yourself this question: “How have I passed on the negative influences of my life into the lives of others?” Then ask the question again, but from a positive perspective.
- Respond to any that you have negatively affected with proper remorse. Set it right.
- Respond to your positive influence by putting whatever actions have resulted in that influence on your “keep doing” list. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t.
As you go, so do others.
Where to Go from Here
The fact we must all come to terms with is that we are who we are. And while we can’t change our yesterdays, we can absolutely affect tomorrow, and quite possibly today, if only we take ownership of our journey.
When you look back on your leadership journey, realize that it affects more than you. Becoming a more secure, confident, and humble leader is not just about you becoming a better person or crafting the live you want for yourself, you influence far too many people throughout your life to make it solely about you.
So know yourself, surround yourself with good influences, and become a liberating leader, but not only for you own sake – become that person so that you may also make level the path for those who come behind you.
This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how your leadership journey affects your leadership today, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!