Growing up I never thought of myself as a leader. This is not meant to be a self-depricating sentence. Simply a fact. For starters, I was very shy and introverted. The idea of leading anyone to anything was not only out of my comfort zone but sounded ridiculous. I’ll just be responsible for me and I’ll be here in my corner if you need me, thank you very much! Second, I am a very “go with the flow” kind of person. I don’t like to make decisions that will effect other people. For the most part, I really just don’t care…! I may have my preferences but I can very happily go with the crowd and be absolutely content. (I’m a great vacation buddy!)
These qualities just did not shout LEADER to me and I was content with being (sigh) a follower. I always thought, “what’s wrong with being a follower? Everyone cannot be a leader…!”
Well, that’s where I was wrong. Everyone can and should be a leader. In my mind being a leader was something grandiose, like being the president of the United States! But there are SO MANY other ways that we are leaders every day.
My most important leader role….being a mom. As parents, we automatically take on the leader role. Our kids want to be like us in so many ways and they try to emulate us (especially when those kids become parents…oy!) I never, ever thought that being a leader was in my wheelhouse, it was just not something I aspired for. But I now look back at my life and I can easily see the leadership roles. Some were handed to me, some I had to step out of my comfort zone and step into the role. But every single one helped mold and shape me into who I am and little by little gave more confidence in the leader role.
If you feel like a follower, think about all the times people have followed you, the advice you’ve given, a project at work that you were in charge of, or someone you professionally or personally mentored. We have all been placed in the leader role at some point in our lives and my guess is we have all risen to the occasion.
Whether you’re an introvert or you just don’t like to make waves, don’t sell yourself short. Lead with your heart and the ones that matter will follow.
“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.” – Warren Bennis