While the saying is true that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, it was built daily. Important work takes time and you can’t expect sweeping change to occur overnight. However, it can happen with a consistent commitment to the process of development. Leading others as well as yourself can feel much like a committed relationship. In order to yield the best results, you must make the decision to put in the effort on a daily basis. People with a healthy perspective of their strengths and weaknesses understand this decision. They know they’re not natural leaders or superheroes. They know they have to show up every day and it requires leaning in, listening, growing, pushing, and striving for greater heights.
This commitment to daily engagement is not the path of least resistance. It’s tough. It’s hard. It requires determination. How then, do we choose, hard things? We thought of three ways to assist us down the path less traveled…
Create a vision. Don’t underestimate the power in setting your intentions. Create a vision of the type of leader you want to be remembered as and then write it down. This creates an emotional connection to your ideal leadership scenario and helps you visualize how you’d like to be known. Research great leaders and the various styles of leadership throughout history. Evaluate your natural strengths to see which aligns best with you. Finally, make a point to return to that vision statement often. Reminding yourself of your visualization will keep you determined, inspired, and relaxed. There’s nothing more reassuring than knowing your working towards your future.
Find your tribe. Just because the road to success is often lonely does not mean it has to be isolated. Find a close group of people in your life and let them know your leadership goals. Ask them to hold you to that standard. Give them permission to evaluate, assess, and correct you. There’s freedom in submission and empowerment in accountability. In the road ahead, you’re going to need all hands on deck to help you stay locked in as you are working towards your strategic vision. You’re going to need to lean on this group of trusted confidants on the days when you just don’t have your best available. Your personal executive board will help encourage you as well as instruct you on how to navigate rocky terrain ahead.
Ask for forgiveness. At the end of the day, we are all human beings doing our best job as human beings. To be human is to know errors, missteps, and imperfections. The key is found in what we do with that knowledge. As a leader, you are going to let those close to you down sometimes. It could be your team, family, or friends. Heck, you’re going to let yourself down sometimes! But you must fight against nature to run from reckoning with your shortcomings. Ask for forgiveness when you don’t show up the right way. It’s never fun, but it’s always necessary. Seeking forgiveness lets those around you know that you’re aware of your failing and assures them everyone is working from the same playbook. Forgiveness transforms bitterness and resentment to healing and peace. It promotes healthy relationships and can improve overall team morale.
In the end, it always comes back to the choice. We have to decide that we want to do better. We all get the same set of 24 hours every day, but it’s up to us to determine what we’re going to do with that time. Leadership skills are developed daily, not in a day. What are you going to do with your day?