Leadership wasn’t something I was born with. I hear a lot of people say that they were a born leader. They were leading other kids on the playground, telling their siblings what to do, or taking on leadership roles in their classrooms at age 7. That was NEVER me. I was an only child, the youngest of all my cousins, and frankly, rather happy being a follower most of the time.
I didn’t start to lead fearlessly until I started to love me. I can’t stress that enough… leadership started for me when I started to unapologetically be ME. This was a gradual process that started in my teens, and continues to evolve to this day. However, self-love was the first and by far the most important step to living with meaning and living as a leader.
I took on my first official leadership role when I was 19 years old and have had many since then. Each of them has revealed a new layer of myself to me, and ultimately has allowed me to love myself more, forgive myself when necessary, and be even more of who I am meant to be.
That is what a great leader does…sees their role not as a way to direct others, but as a way to evolve themselves while evolving others. One of my favorite experiences of evolving my own leadership came from a week spent at a leadership development program I was sent to by my former employer.