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3 Ways to Fly High With Your Leadership

I just love to watch birds fly,  especially when they are in a beautiful formation, all in unison, flowing. I’m also fascinated by solo birds—like hawks— so focused, gliding magnificently, swooping downward to check out potential prey and then accelerating upward. Both scenarios are purposeful and very strategic, just like leadership. Flocks stick together and follow their leader for many reasons—to avoid predators, to fly more swiftly and preserve their energy, and ultimately, to make it to their final destination— together. Do they lose their way sometimes? Sure, but those who stray from formation quickly find their way back and are guided by their fellow flock members and their leader. Solo birds also have a very distinct purpose—to find and capture their prey! Not the kind of goal I’d likely set, but quite important for hawks and the like. They are intently focused on ONE thing, and one thing only. Get food! Survive!

I remember driving home one day and seeing this beautiful white hawk with a V tail. I now know that it was a Swallow-tailed Kite. I had never seen one before. It seemed like it was flying closer and closer to my home, where we have several oak trees where many birds play and live. The closer I got to my home I realized the hawk was stalking one of my trees, and more specifically, a new family that had nested there. I had been observing this new family for days now, especially the mother who never left the nest! She was so watchful of her new baby! I began to panic. What can I do? I asked myself. Well, I truly could do nothing. I arrived home, parked, and ran out of my car toward the tree, but I was too late. The hawk had eyed the new baby and within seconds snatched it and accomplished her goal. After my sorrow died down, I questioned, “Could the hawk have successfully completed it’s mission without it’s intense focus?” Probably not.

I think of leadership in a similar way. Over the years I have come to realize that becoming a strong, effective leader means having the ability to do both— (1) be a crucial member of a team where perhaps you are not leading, but following, and (2) stepping forward in leadership and showing others the way. In the world of “personal leadership” this can look like identifying those goals that you need to accomplish solo, with incredible focused energy, like the hawk, while at other times, being that flock leader where you set the vision and guide others along, allowing mistakes to be made.

One of my favorite books is Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach, because it turns on its back the ordinary story of a seagull whose mission in life is to stick with its group and find food. Not Jonathan! He spent most of his time flying alone and pushing himself to limits no other seagull had ever pushed. He just knew his potential, and he was so anxious to reach it. He pushed himself so hard to keep surpassing his last achievement, regardless of fear or failure or injury. I think most leaders can relate to this inner voice— the calling to reach our potential and break the mold of success. It’s such a motivating story. However, the story also is sad, for we know that in his quest to do the extraordinary he also became an outcast for not being part of his flock and participating in the group way of life. Could he have found success if he had done both and balanced his personal and servant leadership?

So, as leaders, how do we both embrace our inner calling for flying solo while also stepping into the magnificence of leading through others?

Here are three tips to get the best out of both our personal leadership and servant leadership:

1. Always work on your personal leadership.

Not everyone agrees with me, but I do believe that we are all leaders. Are some of us born with innate qualities that allow us to lead more effectively? Absolutely. Do some of us need to be more intentional about leading and practice our leadership? Big Fat Yes. But, nevertheless, we were all born to lead in some capacity. Every single day we are afforded the opportunity to lead. To lead our children, to affect our community through our efforts, to set examples for others and share with them what we have learned—good and bad, and to not be victims to life, but make those crucial decisions for ourselves that will push us forward. Just like hawks, we also need to define those independent goals that only through OUR focus and persistence we will achieve. There is nothing more empowering than making a choice for ourselves and taking personal responsibility for achieving it.

2. Always take a back seat.

A beautiful part of leadership is giving the opportunity for others to lead. Sometimes we will and must step forward to guide our flock to our destination, but other times we will ask another bird to take the lead. Not only does it help us to grow leaders and build solid teams to support our vision and work, but it also helps us to be effective by understanding that we can’t and shouldn’t try to know it all and do it all! We all have unique strengths and gifts that should be utilized. The magic in teamwork is allowing each individual to use his/her talents and hone them for the good of all.

3. Always lead the way!

As effective leaders we must know when it is absolutely imperative that we stand in our leadership, in our strengths, in our conviction, and create that vision that will push others forward. Take the time to understand and know what those non-negotiable occasions/situations/moments are for you as a leader. Not everything can be delegated.

So, you may be saying to yourself, “I have to ALWAYS do these three things?” And my answer is yes! Leadership is a dance. Sometimes we dance solo, sometimes we lead the dance, and sometimes we let others lead! We sashe through these three scenarios constantly!

Every day think of how you can do activate all three in your leadership, and you’ll surely be flying high!

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Monique

Deploy Know Your Super Human Power in 3 Simple Steps!

This week has been quite exhilarating for me, not only because I’m in Colorado Springs in 18 degree snowy weather, but because I’ve been surrounded by hundreds of talented and ridiculously energizing human beings at Michael Hyatt’s Platform Conference! But, what’s even more exhilarating for me is knowing that each person I was with had a unique super-human power that they were deploying soon (if not already!) to get busy doing what they were meant to do. Something that would impact someone somewhere in some way.

You see, each one of us (yes, that includes you!) is gifted. We were each born with a unique gift that we are meant to put to good use. My belief is that our lifetime is about just that… understanding our gifts and through hell or high water, shining our light.

This stuff excites me, which is why it is at the foundation of the work that I do. How can we complete the task outside of ourselves when we are not certain of what’s inside? It’s also why I love simple and inexpensive tools like StrengthsFinder, because it provides a quick and easy way to help us connect with our super human powers—the combination of talents that only we have! And when you combine our strengths with our desires, and how we hope to impact others, well, then, we are truly deploying our super human powers!

I love this video that a friend of mine shared on Facebook this past week. Check it out and tell me what emotions you felt when you viewed it. My first emotion was sadness. Sadness for myself and for the millions of others who at times (or at all times!) are not seeing what is real about who they are. And, well, I just love how the kiddos in this video so naturally refer to super human powers!!
Doesn’t this happen to us all? These moments of disconnection with who we really are and with our potential drain us of joy and momentum (as evidenced by the expressions in the faces of the adults in the video). And, when I see and hear those children, I feel the opposite. I feel happy and ready to connect with what’s real within me, that potential that we all have to be, do, impact and succeed.

Did you have those super human power desires and dreams as a child? I did! Heck, I went through moments of screaming to the sky with my fist in the air, “I have the power!” like Hercules did, and I waited for the heavens to shoot down into me those powers. Yes, I truly believed I could download power from the sky! (It felt great, by the way! I highly recommend it!)

And while I’m not suggesting that’s what we do on a daily basis, I am suggesting that like those beautiful little souls in the video, we don’t call out our faults, but we recall our super human powers and put them into play each day. 

 

Not sure how to do it? Use these 3 steps to Know and Deploy your Super Human Powers

(Tip: Do these steps quickly! Otherwise your “external voice” will step in and lead you astray!):

1. Stand in front of a mirror and say to yourself, “Although I am not perfect, I am ridiculously gifted! My gifts are: _____________________________________________________________.”  (Shout out at least three! This is a “gut” exercise. Don’t think, just shout!).
2. Continue saying out loud to yourself in the mirror, “When I use my gifts I feel: ______________________________.”   (Don’t think about it…just shout out those emotions!)
3. And, finally, finish it off by saying to yourself in the mirror, “With my gifts I can help others ___________________________________.”

How did that feel? If you were able to flow with it you should feel exuberant, and I encourage you to deploy those super human powers every day in some way in order to connect with your essence; with who you are.

If you have trouble with this, I encourage you to give StrengthsFinder a try. I haven’t yet come across a person whose reaction wasn’t, “Wow, this is me! It’s certainly a great start to tapping into our super human powers and living our lives more from the place where these children were living— a place of excitement, self-love and opportunity!

I LOVE this humorous cartoon created by/for Gretchin Rubin, author of The Happiness Projectwho struggled to “know” and deploy her gifts. Check it out here for a laugh or two. We’re not alone in this quest, folks!

 

Be yourself. Be super human. Be powerful. 
Monique

by cruel shoes

“I didn’t set out to get you to quit your job or to persuade you to become an entrepreneur or merely to change the entire world. All I wanted to do in this book was to sell you on being the artist you already are. To make a difference. To stand for something. To get the respect and security you deserve.”

It is clear to me that Godin’s goal in writing this book (Linchpin) is simple: Know your power. Live your art. Have no regrets. If you do these three things, you may very well achieve the fulfillment in life you’ve always desired; enjoy your career and hobbies, and be surrounded by individuals who truly see you, appreciate you, and want you to thrive. In fact, they won’t be able to live without you.

You can’t live this kind of life if you let your lizard brain dominate. No. Surrender the cog tendencies of conformity, obedience, and compliance. Instead, you should embody passion, compassion, dignity, humanity, and generosity. Know your gifts and be generous with them. Connect with others in meaningful ways with your gifts. This cycle of gift giving should never end. Be indispensable.

Because so many of us at times feel stuck in our careers, however, I feel it is important to share Godin’s perspective of thinking– “My boss won’t let me.” Gosh, I’ve been there (just like you!), but how’s this for an “aha” moment:

“You think your boss won’t let you (be an “artist”), at the very same moment that your boss can’t understand why you won’t contribute more insight or enthusiasm. In most non-cog jobs, the boss’s biggest lament is that her people won’t step up and bring their authentic selves to work.”

Does this change your mind at all? See…it all truly lies within. Don’t give your power away, embrace it and decide to be a Linchpin. As we’ve discussed in earlier blogs this month, being a Linchpin is a CHOICE.

How can you be more authentic and bring more insight and enthusiasm to your job? Imagine that you are doing so in this moment and see how energized you feel.

If you are still a bit stuck with finding your “art,” ponder upon this question I came across on one of my favorite blogger’s (D. LaPorte) posting’s– “What’s dying to be born?” I just adore this question, and have written it on my work board so that I can ask it of myself over and over, so that I don’t stop creating my art.

And, now, I ask you… What’s dying to be born?”

Wouldn’t it be great if your co-workers and your boss begin to ask you, “Who are you, and where have you been hiding?” Nice.

Know your power. Live your art. Have no regrets. Go do it.

I will leave you with some food for thought Godin shares at the end of the book (And, Seth, thanks for the gift of your book!):

Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

Sing in your own voice.

Do the work. Please.

Don’t worry about finding inspiration, it comes eventually.

You are responsible for your own experience.

Ignore everybody.

Avoid the water cooler gang.

The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

Dying young is overrated.
………………………………………

Live young at HeART, and prosper!

Namaste,

Monique

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.