Leadership is not defined by a position. Rather, it is an energy that anyone can bring to life. It is about the ways in which we can access our personal power to create the lives we wish to live both personally and professionally.
Leadership has nothing to do with titles and roles and responsibilities. Leadership is all about vision, values, and connection to self and others.
Take a moment to consider what leadership means to you. Do you find yourself in a role where others look to you for guidance? Is it all about showing others the way? Is it up to you to have all the answers? Do you feel like you are going it alone?
Perhaps, you find yourself working collaboratively with others. You have certain roles and responsibilities, but you feel part of a team that is like-minded and moving in the same direction. There is a feeling of synergy and focus fuelled by inspiration and enthusiasm. Everyone feels a sense of commitment to the broader vision. There is investment.
Which sounds like more fun to you?
Historically, we have confused leadership with management. There is a big difference. Management is a function and often involves characteristics of the first scenario discussed above. Leadership is visionary and embodies the values of community and creation.
The Role of Personal Leadership
Everyone can step into a place of personal leadership regardless of role in an organization or within community. Personal leadership involves the capacity to bring our individual visions to life; to take the steps we are guided to take to create a reality we wish to experience.
This is the starting point if we wish to step into leadership in a broader capacity. Become the leader in your own life. Connect to yourself so you can tap into inspiration and take action from that place. As you master the ability to feel your inspired intentions, and the courage to take guided action, you will naturally become a leader to others.
I am not talking about morphing into a paid position of authority; however, this may also be an outcome. What I am suggesting is that as you walk your walk, your natural capacity for leadership and co-creation will emerge and become magnetic to others.
This is the difference between attempting to manage other people and becoming a powerful leader capable of inspiring others.
Letting the Past Guide Us
Your personal inspiration is an aspect of your soul. Your soul contains that information you need to fulfill your mission and purpose here in the world. Those ideas that get you excited and fill you with enthusiasm are your soul’s way of speaking to you about what you are here to contribute. You know it when it speaks because it feels right.
So much of the wisdom we contain is found at the soul level. Some believe that we came here with it already encoded into our being and with our full agreement and commitment to bring our gifts into the world. Some also believe that this wisdom is a gift not only from our Creator but also from those who have come before us.
Whether you believe in this spiritual perspective or not, there is no denying that we can gain much knowledge and guidance from those who walked this Earth before our arrival. And, we can pull on this Ancient Wisdom to guide our steps into the future.
Cynthia Ruiz is the author of Cherokee Wisdom: 12 Lessons to Become a Powerful Leader: Self-Help principles rooted in Native American traditions, and she has held high-level positions in both the private and public sectors and has received over 50 awards and accolades for her leadership and service to one of the world’s largest cities – Los Angeles. Cynthia currently serves as a LA City Commissioner overseeing the multibillion-dollar pension portfolio for City employees and is particularly passionate about helping to develop the empowerment of women. Listen to our interview below:
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