Leadership Starts With You!

Leadership is, "an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction."  You get to choose how to lead your life, your career, and the direction you take.

You are in charge of your own actions. You have leadership of your own choices, how you guide your work life.

You are accountable to you.

Can you keep your word – to yourself?  Can you motivate yourself to complete tasks, organize your projects, and be productive?

A lot of times, we think of leadership only as one who leads groups or takes authority of a number of individuals.

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But leadership is ALSO your ability to command yourself, influence your own path, and be effective in the outcomes of the initiatives you undertake.

Sometimes leadership of oneself is one of the hardest. It takes discipline and follow-through and you don’t get to delegate the hard tasks.

When we take control of our own decisions – how we react to outside influences, and stay on track toward our goals – we showcase our ability to direct and guide toward the results we want.

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the characteristics of leadership, and these traits apply to you internally just as much as they apply to how you interact with those around you.

Are you driving toward the finish line on the projects you have chosen?  Are you building your internal skill sets, your specialized expertise?  Are you innovating and creating new ideas, new plans, and new strategies to put to work in your life?

Are you clear about your short term and long term goals?  Do you have a three-month plan, a plan for the year, a five-year plan, a 10-year plan ?

Leadership of oneself can be difficult, but it is also one of the most rewarding.  We are always improving leadership of ourselves, and we can practice in that arena without the consequences harming anyone else.

If you’ve ever accomplished a difficult task – which I’m sure you have – you know the feeling of accomplishment when you finished and proved to yourself that you could complete something that at one point seemed nearly impossible.

Leadership also means giving credit where it’s due.  False modesty has no place here.  When appropriate, leadership means taking pride in a job well done, and giving yourself credit for the hard work – and the outcomes – you’ve accomplished.

When you realize that you are the leader of YOU – then you can have fun.  You get to choose your plans, figure out your personal branding strategy, market yourself and showcase your gifts.

How do you take responsibility and exert authority over the competing interests inside of you?  How do you make decisions?  How do you reward yourself for a job well done?

Never forget all you have to offer, and remember that if you don’t lead yourself, you won’t be able to accomplish all the amazing things you are meant to do.

So take charge, and lead you!  What do you want to take on next?

Aurelia Flores is Senior Counsel at a Fortune 500 company and former Fulbright Fellow who graduated from Stanford Law School. Her website, PowerfulLatinas.com, offers stories of success, along with resources and programs focused on Latino empowerment.

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