“All things pass. You can view it as death and mourn, or you can allow the winds of change to dance about your feet and celebrate…”
How many of you have found your work environment has changed in some way in the last 12 months? Have you found it challenging? Have you noticed that others have found it challenging?
At a conference recently I asked everyone how many of them had undergone major change in their lives recently. The ocean of hands made me seasick!
Personal leadership in the present moment is about predicting and managing change. But, just as importantly, about reacting and responding to current circumstances.
Personal leadership is about envisioning potentials, discovering possibilities, forecasting probabilities and managing for them, and most especially, supporting and developing the people in your personal and professional network who can help you make it happen.
In any environment leaders create the focal point, the place of reference, the compass needle in a shifting landscape. And we're all leaders, in our families, in our communities, in our businesses, in our sports organisations. And, most especially, in our own lives. We either lead and create the life we want, or we follow and allow others to do it for us. I know which I choose!
Personal leaders – people who lead themselves forward with strength and confidence so that others are inspired to follow them – create a point of reference in their own lives.
Leadership in the present moment is about creating an environment of empowerment for ourselves.
I talked the other day to a woman who was on a cruise on which I was speaking. She was on the trip of her lifetime and we had stopped for a day in a beautiful city with plenty to see and enjoy during tours or even personal wandering. In the evening I asked her what she had enjoyed about this city. “Nothing,” she said. She and her husband were travelling with an elderly uncle and he did not want to go anywhere much. So they wandered along a few blocks close to the ship and then went back aboard with him. If she'd been happy, no problem. But she was despondent and I could tell that she would soon develop resentment against the poor old uncle. Why did she let him enslave her, I wondered? Why didn't she say kindly and graciously: “No problem, dear. We will take you back to the ship safe and sound, then Bill and I will go off on a ferry ride for the afternoon.” Or whatever. Is it because we try to hard to please others (which is not continuously possible)? That's a path to misery. Is it because she WANTS someone to blame for her possible lack of enjoyment?
I find that so interesting.
I'm currently reading a very poignant book about a woman living in the Taliban era in Afghanistan. Her descriptions of life under her burqua reminded me of the prisons we all place ourselves in, in one way or another. We create or accept restrictions placed there by others. Yes, it might take huge courage to shake them off. Yes, it might bring a cost. But the end result is freedom. And you know how precious that is.
Only personal leadership can make that happen. Only the personal leadership comprised of vision, action and continual self-development.
I am personally very strongly committed to that path. It's not easy. I'm not always good at it. But I'm not giving up.
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Catherine Palin-Brinkworth (M.AppSci Social Ecology) is a speaker, author, consultant and mentor on leadership and business development.