Example to Leader
We are regularly given examples of what to do and what not do. Anywhere from driving to eating dinner, we are constantly surrounded by information. This information shapes the way we live our life. Take a look at your Facebook feed lately? Are people an example? Or are they a leader? What is the difference and how do you get from example to Leader?
In life, we have the opportunity to meet, experience, and possibly live around many different types of people. Some of these people are examples others are leaders. There are many people I know that have friends, with whom they hang out with all the time. Now, these friends as a unit seem happy and healthy on the outside. But if you peel the onion back and look at each person individually, it is an unhealthy relationship. There is an obvious “leader” in the group who holds their hand over everyone else, the rest follow the “leader”. This is not a Leader but an example.
In all of my businesses, I look for mentors and Leaders. I study them and figure out what makes them tick. But it goes beyond the numbers and successes. It goes to how they treat people. I am not talking about how they treat people in front of the camera but behind the camera. The true essence of someone is seen after the crowd has left.
When I first decided to go into business for myself, I had a lot to learn. I was not coachable, thought I knew everything, and figured I had the recipe for success. I looked for no help. As you can imagine it was extremely tough. You see I had a serious issue and the issue was me. I was the example. I did not lead by example. Instead, I felt I knew everything and realized immediately I knew nothing. To cap it off I was stubborn as an ox. You could not tell me what to do, even if the steps were given to me.
I was the example. Still operating as a SEAL Team member, serving at a high level I felt I had the answers. But in the SEAL Teams, I looked for mentors and asked questions and had a firm grasp that I didn’t have all the answers. Never overstepping but always taking care of my team I led my men to success. However, in business, there was a disconnect. The disconnect was my ego, it stopped me from opening up and asking those questions and leading.
Ultimately, I felt I was beyond help, my ego told me you’re a team guy what could someone possibly tell you, that you don’t already know. I hope we can all see the problem with this, at the root, there is always something to learn from somebody. Even more than that, Team Guys aren’t trained as business owners. We are prepared for specific missions in war, not business. None of us can watch one presentation and say I got it and now I know exactly what to do.
The business was successful but what a struggle it was to get from point A to point B. I was not afraid of failure instead I was afraid of asking questions and seeming weak. How crazy is that, I know how to ask questions but felt that it was below me during something I never did before. During this process, I realized there are some key takeaways to going from the example to leader.
1. Get out of your own way
In life, you are given many different choices. One common choice in everyone’s life is who to listen to. You can listen to your ego, or you can listen to your heart. Your ego does not operate from the heart space. It is the thing rumbling around in your mind giving you a false sense of reality in some cases.
Remember the story above? I was too proud to ask questions because I was the all-knowing team guy. That right there is total BS. I operated from my mind instead of consulting with my higher self and heart. I can remember back to those days, and it was a struggle. I was in a war against my own head. Getting angry with myself when we weren’t doing well and feeling like there is something else I could do. But my ego silenced all the cries for help and told me to be blind to the potential solutions.
I wanted to go from example to Leader. But I had to get out of my own way, I had to take a hard look at myself and tell my ego to shut up. It burned my brain because it felt the exact opposite of what I should be doing. You and I have to do the same thing. We have to connect with ourselves again and see if the choices we are making are the right ones. Look to the heart, and you will find your higher-self and purpose.
2. Write Down How You Feel
When we work on connecting with ourselves, it is essential to take note. You can do this with voice recordings, written notes, or video. The point is to take this seriously. You cannot have one without the other, taking notes cements your progress.
Even to this day I still journal and take notes, good or bad. The benefit of doing this, when you find yourself in a similar situation, you can refer to your notes. You can look back and figure out how you handled the problem. Realize that everything you do in life will not be remembered, especially in the worst of times. Look at it this way, what you have gone through or are going through at this moment has the potential to help someone else.
Take, for example, you are a salesperson you have been doing it for over a decade. You find yourself winning big every day or most days, life is good. But remember you are the leader of a team. You have new salespeople on your team, and they are struggling, to get started. What is the problem? You are succeeding, and they are not, it is hard for you at this point to get into the details. But you refer to your notes and realize some potential obstacles and pain points. As the Leader, you bring the team together with your rediscovered knowledge and train them to succeed.
If nothing else, you can write a book or some kind of training from your years of knowledge. Everything you do should be to solve a problem and to help others.
3. Example to Leader
Take from our salesperson example, he or she is very successful on most days but remember he or she is on a team. They are an example of what is possible, but they share no insight and continue to raise the bar. The transition from example to Leader is not a hard one, the commitment is the hard part. Being committed to listening and helping those who can benefit from your knowledge is what leadership is all about. The salesperson could stay as an example and contribute nothing, or they could commit to Lead.
The best part about being a Leader is that as the Leader you get to see those you are leading, succeed and potentially surpass you. That is the hard part for most people they want to lead to a point and indirectly stop someone from achieving or exceeding them.
A mentor and/or leader is there to nudge you along, no matter the situation.
Go beyond being an example and become a Leader. Too many people are the example. Remember the Hero’s Journey, if you don’t, you should take the time to read it. The basic idea is that an individual goes on an epic journey. The one person comes back and has accomplished great things, and has overcome many different obstacles. But who cares if those experiences and lessons are not shared. No one learns if everyone is unwilling to share. Innovation and progression only happen if we learn from others.
Take the time right now to put your experiences on paper, start a journal, chronical your trials, and tribulations. You will find the fulfillment you never thought possible. Who knows you might even teach somebody something. Take Action Now, start going from example to Leader. Write one thing you have learned from this right now.