Let's LEAD - May 2021
'What's your position?'
A business coach recently asked me this question. The context was obviously about my business, AND it felt like so much more. Cue the knot in my stomach.
It took me several seconds to answer. I would basically be putting a stake in the ground...declaring what's important to me and frankly, my reason for being in business at all.
I hemmed and hawed...and finally stumbled out a few words that she helped me refine. Here it is:
Leadership is an inside job. To be a great leader, you must first lead yourself.
Whew! While the ramp up to creating this felt like I was holding my breath, the final result felt like a huge exhale.
Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why and Find your Why, speaks to the value of defining your personal mission in life, then how to express it and share it with others.
Back in February I shared my model for developing one's Self-Leadership...and what results from this work is a map of one's unique leadership brand:
The building blocks of Self-Leadership follow a similar path to Simon Sinek's:
Explore your brand through Self-Awareness and Self-Knowledge
Embody your brand through Self-Acceptance and Self-Regard
Express your brand through Self-Care and being Self-Less
For many of us, our position is born from our own experience, and I'm no exception. When I worked in corporate, I can now see how I was standing in my own way, and by learning more about myself I was able to gain the clarity and confidence to make the changes in both my personal and professional life to go after what I REALLY REALLY wanted.
You guys know where I'm going with this, right? Yup...
As a leader, what do you stand for?
3 Tips - What's your position?
As leaders, we often find ourselves with strong feelings and opinions about certain things at in ALL areas of our lives. Through self-awareness, you can leverage those experiences to gain insight into what is important to you.
Some other ways to think about your position include:
- What do you stand for?
- What do you believe to be true?
- What do you know for sure?
These tips will help you explore, embody and express what you stand for:
Know your values. As I also mentioned in my February newsletter, our values provide insight into the things that are important to us. Use this exercise to identify your core values, and consider whether one or more of them reveals a theme.
'Courage' and 'confidence' are two of my core values, so my work as a coach to help women express courage and confidence through their unique leadership brand aligns with those values.
Honor it. Because what we stand for is rooted in our values, honoring your position should be expressed in everyday activities. For example, how does your position impact:
- how you make decisions?
- how you interact with others?
- how you establish your priorities?
In what other ways can you express your position? For example, if 'equality' or 'fairness' are important values to you, maybe work around diversity in the workplace aligns with your values.
Declare it. Try it on. Share it with a trusted colleague...someone who knows you really well, and ask for their point of view. Here's the deal...without actually defining your position, you've probably already been 'living' it, so it probably won't be a great surprise to anyone.
That being said, there's something about declaring your position for yourself...it's the line we draw toward anything that's important to us.
You may be thinking, 'why is THIS important?' For me, I got a sense of clarity around why I do what I do.
I hope it provides you the same clarity!
What I'm reading (articles, books*):
Stacey Abrams, the 2018 candidate for Georgia governor and romance novel writer (huh?), was the keynote at a women's leadership conference I attended in late April. She has written several (non-romance) books as well, including one about leadership: Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change. I can't wait to dig in!
*I use Amazon links (no affiliate relationship); please check with your book retailer of choice
"I don't have to think less of myself because I am more that somebody else can take!"
-- Stacey Abrams
...and something more:
Yes, this is a Stacey Abrams love-fest: Here's her TEDTalk from 2019 after she lost the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race: 3 questions to ask yourself about everything you do.
It might inspire you to take a stand...
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