Finding The Courage To Lead
Featuring Scott Allen Posted on March 29, 2011
Change. Innovation. Leadership. All three require the courage to step out of status quo and risk something. Your current job description may not include the necessity to take the lead, but if you’re living, breathing and have a vision, it’s somewhere in the plan for you to lead. Some way, shape or form, it’s in your DNA. It’s in your assignment.
Some are better at this risking biz than others, but better or not, it’s still required to change and grow. The reason some are better than others is not related to talent as much as focus. Stepping out and risking can only have two possible outcomes. Those of us who struggle with the courage to step out are looking at a different side of the mountain than those who do it well.
The natural way of thinking about these two sides of the mountain is a positive vs. negative thinking approach, but I see it differently. I think it’s more like this: some people are focused on seizing opportunity, taking action and seeing movement, while others are focused on how people may respond to the action taken. Thinking about people’s response to your leadership will usually manifest in thoughts about either credit or blame. That is unproductive thinking. It will cause you to walk a tightrope between ego and fear. Not good.
I’m not saying to disregard others in your process of stepping out. By all means DO think about how stepping out will affect others. What I’m trying to point out is being overly concerned about opinion can cause you to have delusions of grandeur and/or second-guess everything. Both are a trap. They will, best case, slow you down. Worst case, they will cause to never step out at all. Ego will stall you because of the pursuit of perfection. Fear will stall you because of a lack of confidence.
If I’m preaching to you, I beg you to refocus your thoughts on productive solutions, develop an action plan and step out and lead. If you take a few missteps, it’s OK. It’s much easier to course correct something that’s moving. Airplane pilots are constantly making course corrections as they fly. If you step out and keep course correcting, you’ll get there.
Keep yourself focused. Do what you can, as often as you can, to encourage yourself. Be bold. Be confident. We all want to follow a confident leader – especially one that is willing to course correct.
We are waiting for you.
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