The formula for authentic, approachable leadership is simple:
Heart Over Handbook, Soul Over Script.
That means you need to be CONSISTENT.
Because consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.
That means you need to maintain INTEGRITY.
Because people are listening to the sound of your actions.
That means you need to articulate your BOUNDARIES.
Because if you don’t set healthy boundaries for yourself, people will set them for you.
That means you need to put a stake in the ground and OWN YOUR TRUTH.
Because if you don’t make a name for yourself, somebody will make one for you.
Now, if you’re the kind of person who says, “Yeah, but I’m not a leader…”
We’re all leaders. Even if the only person we ever lead is ourselves. That still counts.
The challenge is doing so authentically. After all, being yourself is hard. As Emerson famously said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Here’s a list of ten practices for leading from the heart, not the handbook…
1. Be the “You” that you always wanted to become. Straight out of Jerry Maguire. That moment when Tom Cruise prints out hundreds of copies of his corporate manifesto called, “The Things We Think, But Do Not Say.” Sure, he got fired the next day. But at least he stopped living a lie. Man. If only more people had cojones like that. What is still lethal inside of you that wants to be transformed?
2. Behave in a manner that is consistent with your self-concept. Act in harmony with the way you see yourself. Live in a way that honors your soul. You’ll find it’s actually a LOT easier than the alternative. Some people fake it till they make it for so long that they never get around to making it. So for you, just start making it. TODAY. Faking is for losers. How could bring more of yourself to this situation?
3. Calculate the cost of NOT standing up for your boundaries here. Literally. Think about what, specifically, would happen to your body if you compromised your truth. Some people would feel a thud in their gut. Others a ping in their chest. Either way, your body never lies to you. Are you able to hold a courageous conversation to reinforce your boundaries?
4. Give people the tools they need to build the world you envision. Just ask yourself the ultimate Back to the Future Question, “If everybody did exactly what I said, what would the world look like?” Once you’ve written down a few answers, you can customize a framework for the ideal world you hope to build. Then all you have to do is stay within those parameters. What are you building?
5. Imagine what the earlier version of yourself would do in this situation. Of course, that implies you’ve grown. Evolved. Matured. Ripened. And that process ONLY comes from a never-ending desire to add value to yourself. Which means you should probably stop watching television. Come on. You already know who’s going to win American Idol anyway. My money’s on the cute guy with spikey hair and tight jeans. Do you have a remarkable devotion to personal progress?
6. Keep your actions in alignment with the best working model of your identity. Make a list called, “How I Make Decisions.” Write down all the questions you ask yourself throughout the day. Think of it as an Opportunity Filter. A governing document for daily decision-making. This is a fantastic exercise if you haven’t done it yet. A few faves from my list include, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?” and “Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used?” If you were you, what would you do in this situation?
7. Leverage your frustration in this situation as motivation to grow into more of the person you’ve always wanted to be. “Breath through it.” That’s what my yoga instructor always says. That every posture – difficult and pretzel-like as it may seem – can always be practiced effectively if you just breathe through it. That’s the secret: Save the drama for yo’ mama and channel that frustration into something more productive. What mission were you mandated to fulfill?
8. Make choices that add wood – not water – to your internal fire. Life’s too short to surround yourself with people who don’t challenge and inspire you. Life’s too valuable to work a job that robs you of your true talent and purpose. And life’s too beautiful to spend watching other people pursue their passion while you sit in a cubicle waiting for your boss to go to lunch so you can go take a nap in your car. Does your calendar reflect your passion?
9. Make sure the message you’re currently preaching is the dominant reality of your life. That’s the difference between orthodoxy, which means, “correct thoughts,” and orthopraxy, which means, “correct actions.” It’s about preaching what you practice, not the other way around. Because people don’t give you credit for what they HEAR you SAY consistently. They only give you credit for what they SEE you DO consistently. What type of person do you have to become on the inside to become the person you want to become on the outside?
10. Release the behaviors that are preventing you from making progress towards becoming the best version of yourself. Example: Shrinking from the opportunity to share your eclectic interests with others. Example: Backing away from posting pictures of you. What are you currently doing that makes NO sense at all?
REMEMBER: Honor thy heart, not thy handbook. Surrender to thy soul, not thy script.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What is your definition of Authentic Leadership?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “37 Personal Leadership Questions Guaranteed to Shake Your Soul,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
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