“Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise.” – Maya Angelou
Where does leadership originate? What makes a good leader? There are a multitude of perspectives and definitions on the subject. What about the followers? Who are the followers of a leader? Are the followers obeying blindly out of fear or laziness when taking the easy road? Or are the followers being self-leaders within the circles in which they participate?
These questions are normally outside of mainstream conversations. The majority of people don’t identify with being a leader or a follower. Regardless of status whether you are a parent, executive, professional, spouse, group member, caregiver, etc. you have unlimited leadership potential. Powerful self-leadership is when you answer your call to what is important to you and makes a difference.
Leading from within is based on your truth. It is answering the call to your vision, not someone else’s future. Following a compelling passion is usually followed by mastery.
Take the rags to riches story of J. K. Rowling. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter fantasy series, is an excellent example of a self-leadership story. Rather than letting circumstances define her, she took proactive steps to develop the possibility of having a book published. In 1990, while she was waiting for a train from Manchester to London, she came up with an idea for a story about a young boy attending a wizardry school. The train she was waiting for was delayed four hours, but within that span of time the characters and plots came flooding into her head. When she arrived at home she immediately began putting the story to paper.
Between 1990 and 1995, while she worked on her manuscript for Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone on an old manual typewriter, her mother passed away, she moved to Portugal, got married, gave birth to a daughter, got divorced, moved to Scotland with her daughter, was diagnosed with clinical depression, contemplated suicide, was unemployed and lived on state benefits. Rather than succumb to life altering transitions, she wrote every chance she could. Her experiences were instrumental in developing the Harry Potter characters. For example, her illness gave her the idea of the soulless creatures, Dementors.
The death of her mother influenced her writing when describing the emotions Harry Potter felt with the death of his parents. J. K. Rowling submitted her manuscript to 12 publishing houses. She received rejections from each of them. It was a small British publishing house in London that finally accepted the book due to the persuasion of the editor’s eight-year old daughter. Barry Cunningham gave the first chapter to his daughter. After reading it the little girl insisted on reading the next chapter. The Philosopher’s Stone was published in 1997 followed by six more Harry Potter stories.
“It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J. K. Rowling
Forbes ranked her as the 48th most powerful celebrity of 2007; the Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling’s fortune in 2008 at $768 million; and she has become a prominent philanthropist. She took charge of her life in following through with an idea she was passionate in fulfilling. She took the high road in spite of what was thrown at her that could have easily swayed her to be a follower. Her self-leadership led her into leadership roles helping others develop self-leadership.
History and present day events are plentiful with persons who have made a difference in all walks of life and practices. They started out as self-leaders. Self-leaders are purposely stretching their possibility potential effecting their internal and external environments. They are visionaries and see beyond circumstances. They are creative inventors, scientists, cooks, interior designers, truck drivers, entrepreneurs, authors. In other words, they show up in all walks of life. They grow in their personal evolution by waking up their potential, daring to move toward a new possibility through self-leadership.
Questions to Ponder:
What is it that you are passionate about in becoming and doing? Where are you now professionally/personally? Is this where you want to stay? If you don’t take action now, when will you? Why wait?
Tips to Activate Self-Leadership:
Read biographies on people who followed their vision and not someone else’s. In many cases, they failed often in reaching their goals, or experienced major transitions beyond their control. However, what was in their control was what road they chose to follow. If you aren’t failing, you are doing the same things over and over again. When taking on something new there are inherent components.
One big one is failure. Make friends with failure and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Stop being invisible and answer your call. At first you may ask, “What is my calling?” That is a great question and that is where you begin. Asking the question activates opportunities to get the answer.
Remember: Anything Is Possible
“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” – J. K. Rowling