If you answered “No” to that question, I want to challenge your thinking and even your self image because I think that in some way we are all leaders or at least we should consider ourselves to be leaders, whether this is in the workplace, community groups, or your own family. 

Merriam Webster dictionary defines leadership as:  The act or an instance of leading

As we become adults we are leaders of ourselves. Every day we are faced with many considerations and choices that impact our livelihood, our well being and the people around us.  Therefore you are a leader whether you know it or not!  

Don’t be afraid of this revelation, once you discover you are leader of your own life, you are free to choose the life you want!  I remember a time when I didn’t realize that I was the leader of my decisions. I remember when I thought that I had to follow what certain people thought of me, specifically my father. In my outside life, I demonstrated leadership qualities.  In the work world, I was consistently moved into leadership positions and loved it probably because of how I felt internally in my private life.   That being said, when I discovered that I always held the decision making power for myself, I was FREE!

Normally I am very comfortable in positions of leadership, but it took a little getting used to when it came to my personal life.  And I had to practice, practice, and practice!  The first step of becoming more aware of my personal leadership was understanding that I brought value to the world just because I existed!  Now that was an AHA moment if there ever was one!  

Then I realized that I had to love myself….WOAH WHAT?  Love myself?  That didn’t even compute for me!  Once it did however, like I said before, I was FREE.  Free from what other people thought of me or my decisions, FREE from the chains of trying to please everyone at my expense, FREE from the all the chains of my father’s expectations!  

So do you still think you’re not a leader?  Leaders are not always apparent, not every leader is the person who is on the podium leading others to some huge, dynamic change!  Sometimes leaders are the soft spoken people, who no one really notices, yet they embody the soul of a leader. Deepak Chopra, in his bestselling book,  The Soul of Leadership takes great care to explain the seven skills of leaders (pgs13-15):

L= Look and Listen. Do this with your senses, as an unbiased observer who has not judged anything in advance, do it with your heart, obeying your truest feelings. Finally, do it with your soul, responding to the vision and deep purpose it provides.

E= Emotional Bonding.  Leading from the soul means going beyond the melodrama of living in crisis mode. It requires recognizing and clearing away toxic emotions so you can clearly understand your own specific needs and those of others.

A= Awareness. This means being aware of the questions that underlie every challenge: Who am I? What do I want? What does the situation demand? A leader must continually as these questions of herself , and inspire her team  to ask of themselves.

D= Doing.  A leader must be action-oriented . In whatever he does, he must serve as a role model, holding himself responsible for the promises he has made.  This requires persistence and tenacity, but also the ability to view any situation with flexibility and humor.

E= Empowerment.  The soul’s power comes from self-awareness that is responsive to feedback but independent of the good or bad opinion of others.  Empowerment isn’t selfish. It raises the status of the leader and team together.

R= Responsibility. Responsible leadership includes choosing considered risks rather than reckless ones, walking the talk, having integrity, and living up to your inner values.  Seen from the level of the soul, a leader’s greatest responsibility is to lead the group on the path of a higher consciousness.

S= Synchronicity. This is a mysterious element from the underlying universal field of consciousness that all great leaders harness.  Synchronicity is the ability to create good luck and find invisible support that carries one beyond predicted outcomes to a higher plane. In spiritual terms, synchronicity is the ultimate ability to connect any need with an answer from the soul.

When you read Deepak’s list of skills, how many resonate with you?  If you take out the word leader and replace with you and the word team with family or friends, what happens then?   I bet many of you can now see that you display many of these skills already!   Embrace leadership, it’s really not that scary, especially when looking inward.  Become the leader of yourself and the rest will fall into place! Start with loving yourself because it is the boldest leadership move you can make!  SO BE BOLD my friends!  
LOVE AND LEAD yourself and you will change your “I can’t” to “I Can!”

It’s my honour to serve you! God Bless!

Nina Ganguli