What you think and feel about leadership, and whether you think of yourself as a leader or not, depends on how you choose to define leadership. And how you define leadership depends on your expectations of what it will do for you.
If you expect leadership to be reserved for those who are born to be leaders, then it is they who will shape your thoughts about the future and your experiences of the present. In this case, you expect leadership to be power.
If you expect leadership to be something that everyone can aspire to and attain, then it is about yourself first and your ability to shape your own future and decide how you experience the present. In this case, you expect leadership to be self-realization.
Unfortunately, too many people today believe leadership is power. Too many people deceive themselves by believing that those in positions of power and influence are the only force of inspiration and energy for change, advancement and development.
If you find yourself focusing on your weaknesses and those of others, instead of on your ability to play to your strengths and that of others, then you are breeding your own sense of helpless and frustration.
Frustration leads to anxiety about your ability to develop resilience in the face of change, instability and insecurity. Anxiety generates severe and constant stress. The more the stress the worse the anger, because it is easier to be angry than to express pain. But what many people – and maybe you’re among them and haven’t realized it yet - are feeling is the pain of negative bias.
It’s hard to deal with our own negativity bias, let alone that of others. So you get angry. Anger is, of course, a natural emotional response in a fight-and-flight situation. It’s designed to protect us from danger and help us fight against a perceived threat.
But your mind can also create fear and anger even when the threat is just imagined. And when the threat isn’t real, anger ceases to be a form of protection and becomes a means for destroying one’s life and relationships. This in turn generates frustration and consequent anxiety.
Anxiety is, unfortunately, becoming a national epidemic. Too many people are unwittingly sabotaging their own efforts to take action to bridge the gap between who they are as individuals and who power-focused leaders say they are. At the same time, there’s a growing gap between the average individual’s potential to become remarkable in their own right, regardless of sex, race or job title and position, and the energy they dedicate to developing their self-leadership.
It’s always easier to look outside of ourselves for solutions and blame others for the choices we made that weren’t successful. It’s easier to be angry than to be strong. But you have a choice: be frustrated and angry … or not.
How can you overcome frustration and anger? By getting out of your box of self-deception. By going beyond accepting leadership as power over others and building a new habit of leadership from within and as power with others.
We can all reach for greatness by realizing our unique potential. Leadership begins with one’s core. It begins by exploring our inner core beyond the limitations and perceptions of leadership as power over others to capture the power of our own selves to help others to empower themselves.
Start today! by raising your expectations about your individual potentialities. Throw away the leadership placebo that has been marketed by those who have power but are not leaders. Explore how what you expect leadership to be defines the kind of leader you choose to follow. Unleash your potential! by being willing to make full use of your own leadership talents (we all have them). And remember: every problem is an opportunity.