I want to start by saying many, MANY people are leaders who don’t see themselves as such, and don’t even give themselves credit for it.
MOST of us view “leadership” as being on a stage, giving a TED Talk, writing a book, making a 6, 7, or 8-figure income, wearing Louboutins, or being the supermom or superdad.
News flash: These are fantastic leaders, but they’re not the only ones. And this isn’t the ONLY way to lead.
In fact, leadership isn’t always visible, and it’s not always loud.
Leadership starts with self-leadership, then develops naturally into influencing others’ behaviors and lifestyles. The former is intentional; the latter is organic.
However, many people only see the ones who are front & center and featured in magazine editorials or in The Huffington Post as being leaders. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you’ve consistently done any of the below, you’re ALSO a leader:
- Fed the hungry
- Opened your home to guests
- Loaned someone money (without needing to advertise to the world you did so)
- Given gifts (with no motives or hidden agendas involved)
- Said thank you
- Chosen not to engage in conflict when you could’ve
- Honored your personal boundaries
- Left your spouse for the good of your mental sanity or health
- Chosen your children over yourself when it was appropriate
- Ignored bad advice that didn’t align with your values
- Engaged in self-care
- Quit a job because the treatment no longer respected your values or ethics
- Confronted a micro-manager
- Stood up for yourself in unfair treatment
- Listened to your intuition
The list could literally go on & on, and I made it to prove the point that leadership isn’t always highly visible. In fact, it’s often very subtle daily decisions that make you a leader.
I laid this foundation, because first & foremost I needed you to see you are likely a leader. Accepting that is your work. I can’t do it for you. Many folks avoid acceptance because of fear of what the realization requires. When you get ready to accept it, you will.
Now that you see it, I want you to understand that loss as a leader is unavoidable. This topic isn’t addressed enough. Whether you voluntarily choose loss or involuntarily receive it, you’ll experience it (if you haven’t already).
By loss, I refer to several things — here’s some examples:
- Family relationships
- Old versions of yourself
- Less mature versions of yourself
- Un-healed versions of yourself
- Old mindsets
- Patience with pettiness
- People who “like” you at work
Those are just a few things you might stand to lose when you embrace yourself as a leader.
Now, typically loss is seen as a negative thing. Especially as it relates to lost relationships. But today, I want you to begin to reframe how you view loss.
I personally have reached a milestone in my adulthood and my life. As of August, I’m on the slide toward turning 40, and I have slowly learned the ebb & flow of loss as a leader. I understand the mantle I carry, and what that requires of me.
I can’t be friends with every woman who wants to be friends with me. I can’t hang out with just random single men and entertain them carelessly. I won’t attend an event just because I’m invited. I guard my energy. I take the way a person speaks to me seriously, and I pay attention to details and motives.
I also understand that many people will have to come & go. I will meet new people and never speak to them or see them again because their vibe is bad. I will not hire certain people if I peep dishonesty in their communications with me or my brand.
Leadership requires us to get REAL comfortable with the come ‘n go. Leadership & loss must co-exist or it’s not leadership.
However, through your losses, you’ll GAIN 3x as much.
The reframing needed here is to see loss as an opening up of space.
Every time a person or thing goes, it’s creating energy and openness for receiving something new. You MUST see loss this way as a leader or you will inevitably attach your emotions to the loss and prevent your healing from it. When this happens, the space isn’t open & can’t be filled. (And don’t think I don’t know this is easier said than done).
The primary role of loss in leadership is to create space for more leadership. The primary role of the leader is to fill the space more consciously each time, until you’re proud of what you’ve built and who you’ve built it with.
Be so good they can’t ignore you…..
Originally published at medium.com