I work with women who repeatedly overcome obstacles, some succeeding as entrepreneurs, business leaders, community, family and religious leaders. Each one of them, myself included, has a vision that is motivational enough to inspire a journey to personal leadership.
In the beginning of our leadership journey, it is not uncommon for many of us to get stuck in a negative cycle and feel powerless. So what do I think is the key factor that keeps us moving forward? It is often our bold leadership vision that inspires and pushes us forward! According to Hargrove in his book Masterful Coaching, “A vision is an image that we carry within us as we march to the future.”
As a Professional Coach, Mom, and leader of other initiatives, it’s been my vision for each of these roles that continuously propels me forward. As a Coach, I have the honor and privilege of holding clients’ visions for them, acting as an action and thought partner as they build leadership capacity. Together, we strengthen their personal and professional power needed to move forward. I stand with them in that gap and cocoon them until they are ready to EMERGE STRONG and fly.
What is the key difference between those who make it and those who don’t? It is the courage to move forward while developing both the resilience and mindset to dream the impossible! In the words of Walt Disney, “It’s fun to do the impossible!”
As women, we are gifted with a quiet, reflective, insightful, innovative, and inspirational courage that is both bold and compassionate at the same time. This quiet courage is manifested in the ability to keep moving forward while building new neural pathways and focusing on solutions. We don’t give up!
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher
More importantly, I’ve learned that this type of courage can be taught through acting courageous, even when inside we are terrified, feeling lost and don’t see the next step. As Martin Luther King Jr. said,
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
I have this faith. Not every single day, I am human after all, but I strive to increase both my personal and professional leadership capacity. I also plan goals based on my own unique vision for my business and other parts of my life. Sometimes looking for role models in other women helps strengthen us. Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani activist for women’s right to education, widened her campaign to the global level after the Taliban shot her in the head. She is an inspirational leader. To become a courageous inspirational leader, we need to understand how courageous people face their fears. We know it is not avoiding them; instead, they use fear as a tool to overcome adversity. Nelson Mandela once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” As women emerging into leadership either internally or as entrepreneurs, we can build our leadership muscles.
Here are a few tips:
Develop a clear vision for the future of the initiative, the group, or the organization.
Articulate that vision in a way that inspires, motivates, compels, and mobilizes others to want to achieve it.
Challenge the status-quo: be creative, come up with fresh perspectives, innovative, and breakthrough ideas.
Know what you admire in a leader and develop your own personal definition of meaningful, inspired leadership and model it.
Openly discuss high-level issues with your team or group, seek substantive input, share credit, and create opportunities for ownership in the vision.
Think big-picture: match the individual’s talents, skills, experiences and aspirations with the task /opportunity to avoid micro-managing, and give capable team and group members latitude to move things forward.
Maintain your credibility and integrity at all times, or you will not be given the opportunity to lead. (Tips taken from Dr. Laura Belsten)
The Leadership Challenge, by James Kouzes and Barry Posner
Primal Leadership, by Daniel Goleman, Annie McKee, Richard E. Boyatzis