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Leadership Thought #377 – Put Yourself Out There

June 27, 2012

Free People Standing on the Cliff Stock Photo

When you opt to assume a leadership role you need to put yourself out there.  Like it or not, your job requires taking risks under the gaze of public scrutiny.  Most people shy away from the spotlight, but leaders don’t have that choice.  You need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.  The good news is that courage is often rewarded in life.  It’s why you have your leadership role in the first place.

Most people regularly succumb to their fears.  They’d rather not risk being wrong, feeling inadequate, professional failure, the rejection of their peers or emotional discomfort.  However, leaders must regularly deal with all these issues, especially the good ones.  If you want to be average, then act like everyone else.  If you want to lead, then carve out your own path.  Step up when others step down.

I regularly speak to groups and when I ask for volunteers (which I often do on purpose to illustrate a point) it’s amazing how few hands go up even amongst groups on leaders.  Without fail the hands that do eventually go up come from the more successful people in the room.  When everyone else is avoiding doing what’s needed, true leaders take up the challenge/opportunity (no matter how big or small) – it is how they are hardwired.

Life is not meant to be about comfort or minimizing stress.   The moments where we feel truly alive are usually those instances when we confronted a major (often irrational) fear, completed a major challenge, stood up for something we believe in, did what others said couldn’t be done, or been part of a winning team that overcame many obstacles to get there.  Leaders intuitively separate themselves from the pack and embrace being different.  They put themselves out there so others can follow their lead.  They embrace the fact that their life is meant to be lived intentionally and courageously.