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To Change Your Company First Change Yourself
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It may be easy for you to lead but only an inspirational leader will help create effective and lasting change. Leadership and change are tied tightly together, as you rarely lead people to where they already are. New undertakings and directions are achieved when people see the world in new ways and spend their days doing different things. Therefore, it is critical to understand the aspects of how people engage new concepts and how a leader can influence this.
In order to lead others, you must first lead yourself. More than anything else, this becomes a practice throughout your life. Now, a nice way to look at this is through the idea that you already have a leadership practice. We all do. The question is whether you know it or not, and whether you put conscious energy towards how you engage that practice.
We use the word practice here to connote something that you regularly do, and how you approach the world. Every thought and every action constitutes the whole of how we are as a leader. Deeply imbedded in this practice are the words we use, our self-talk, and our habitual responses to the world. Now, the basic difference between a habit and a practice is mindfulness. Once we become mindful of how we talk to ourselves, we can understand that those words and emotions are a rehearsal for how we will talk to others. Once we become mindful of the habitual stories we tell ourselves about the world (our personal mythology), we become mindful of how those stories become a guide for our interactions and the explanations we place on the world.
This first step of leadership is of great importance. Now, it is not necessarily about finding the one thing that is our deepest and truest purpose, although we aspire to do that. More often it tends to be learning to search, find, move, and learn. Many people’s purpose shifts through life, as we try out different ways of being and as we experiment with different paths. It is absolutely acceptable to refine a sense of mission. Most desirable is when we actually move through the mission, not away from it. Often we will move into an endeavor, and while there, discover some aspect that is even more important or deeply satisfying. If that is the case, then move with it. That is ultimately being true to yourself. . If you give up on a mission because it seems too big or scary, we are just giving up on ourselves.
There is a very simple path to accomplishing this basic and essential first step of leadership. Here’s our formula.
Find your passion.
That is the thing that you most love and want to have happen in the world. Connect with it on a deep and personal level. Become an expert. Make it a part of the fabric of your life and the essence of your being.
Put it into the world in a big, big way.
Imagine the greatest possible contribution that you can make – double that, then double it again, then figure out how you can live it into being every day of your life.
Simple, right? ? Well, actually, it is. We begin early in life with this, learning things that interest us, excelling in sports, learning music, becoming artists, engineers, architects and other creative pursuits. We begin in small ways, but as we become more conscious and connected, our interests begin to shift to larger and more connected issues. We begin to grow beyond the point of being able to do it all ourselves, and then enter the realm of influence, where we must begin to rely on others for our dreams to be fully realized. We move our passions from areas of interest to hobbies to life purposes. Along the way, those areas of interest will probably change. What will remain constant is the skill that you have acquired in learning to engage an idea and hold it in a deeply important place.
While it may seem formulaic, and it may seem daunting, it is an absolute requirement. If you cannot be inspired, how will you ever hope to inspire others? If you cannot find your own way, why would anyone ever choose to follow you? To learn more read The Executives Guide to Transformational vs. Transactional Leadership
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