This blog post is part of the Next Top Credit Union Executive competition originally posted September 22, 2014.
Adventure is part of my life. I can honestly say that every day uncovers unexpected adventure. Being a mother of a large family, a CEO of a leadership consulting organization, and just completing my doctorate degree this year has been a phenomenal adventure over the last few years.
Many days have been challenging. The tough days require that I go back to the foundation of what it means to be a leader and reflect on how I am living my vision of being a leader. In my professional life, there is an expected perspective of the role of leadership. I must ask myself how others see my role, what others need of me, and wonder how I can generate success for others. These and many more questions are what form the way my day is organized.
There is, however another version of leadership that is foundational before the role of leadership. That is “how we lead our own lives.” During those moments of challenge and of opportunity, I remind myself to pause and assess. How am I leading my own life right now, and more importantly, how am I making a difference?
Being an effective leader of self is requisite to being an exemplary leader in our professional role. Young and emerging leaders have tremendous opportunity to decide and reflect upon how they live their own lives for the sake of making a difference in the world that they want to be a part of.
Leadership of self begins with a declaration, a commitment. The next step is to articulate your conditions of success for that commitment; how you and others know that you are successful. The next important piece is to practice being that type of leader you declared. Generative practice requires that you have good practice partners, receive rigorous feedback, and align your practice with a powerful commitment. Those powerful commitments and declarations are opportunities for each of us to delve more into our untapped potential.
My commitment is to be present for others. In those moments of pure chaos, my practice is to remember whom I am with and what is needed of me. My practice is being present. This practice does not mean I ignore everything and everyone else; it means better self-care in the midst of numerous competing commitments. Giving a speech, doing executive coaching, or facilitating board development all require that I be fully present. Outcomes are more effective coordination and action with others and a deeper capacity for listening.
Young leaders have tremendous potential for their career and making a difference. Make powerful commitments that fully utilize your expertise and potential. Be exemplary leaders.