“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams

President , USA

Unleash the Slayer Within-5

Leadership can be hard. Real leadership I mean. Not just the ‘management’ kind of leadership.

The kind that inspires people. The kind that creates amazing things in the world. The kind that changes your life and the lives of others. Its hard…and messy…and never linear..

…and it’s worth the hardship. When done right.

Sadly leadership is an under utilised ability in many people and completely misunderstood by others.  Its a product of a common understanding that is dead wrong, limiting and destructive.

They know intrinsically that they don’t have to be a leader to be a great manager and they don’t have to be a manager to be a great leader.  Yet our common definition of leadership is still limited to something that people managers or politicians do.

They’ve been told they can lead without a title by countless ‘thought leaders’ in TED talks, books, at conferences, and in so called ‘leadership programs’.  Yet they still wait for the ‘promotion’ to lead.  They think that they are powerless without the title or position on the organisational chart.

They’ve been told that they have the ability within them to change the world and to lead. Yet they still wait for permission to lead.   They wait to be rescued.

They wait for the business ‘leaders’ to ‘fix’ the problems with business.  They wait for the political ‘leaders’ to fix the problems with society.  They wait for Greenpeace to fix the environment, Amnesty to fix the human atrocities and WWF to fix the animal cruelty.  They recycle their cans and think that’s enough.  They occasionally buy organic coffee and think that’s enough.  They donate to the homeless shelter and think that’s enough.  Because someone else will save the forest, people and world…

We can’t wait anymore.

Its time for each and every person to be a leader, regardless of position, regardless of level, regardless of race, regardless…. you get it.

Its time to stop waiting for permission and start living and leading with purpose.

Our minds, language, hearts and souls need to change.  Our definition of leadership needs to change from something that you do to something that you are.  A true leader creates amazing things, in their lives and in the lives around them.  True leadership comes from within.  True leadership is hard.

This is the essence of being a leader….this is the essence of the SLAYER.

I created the slayer a long time ago.   She was the alter ego that I embodied when things got rough at work and at home.  She was the person that stood forward and said the things that needed to be said.  She was the one that made a difference.  She was the one that took control and charge when I needed someone to take control and take charge.  She was the strong one.  She was the smart one.  She was my leader within.

There were too many times that I didn’t believe in myself.  I would turn away from a challenge because it was too hard.  I would not believe that I could do it because there was always someone better out there.  Someone else that would lead.  Then she appeared in my life, my slayer.  She appeared one day when I looked around waiting for someone else to lead and realised there was no-one.  There was only me.  I didn’t know how to lead.  I was only 25 and worked in a clerical position.  How could I lead when there were people of a higher level, higher status, older, more experienced in the business than me?

That’s when the slayer appeared.  She stepped forward and showed me that I could be a leader.  I could gain the respect of the older, more experienced, more senior people if I did ‘leadership’ the right way.  She show’d me that I was worthy to lead.

She of course is me but she’s the part of me that leads.  She’s the strength inside.  She is the knowledge I’ve gained.  She’s the part of me that takes on the challenge even when it seem too hard.

I regularly have people ask me how I remain so strong in the face of adversity.  I had a colleague that called me ‘Titanium’ from the popular Sia song.  It made me laugh because I’m not bullet proof and there is a part of me that is scared all the time.  Worried that things won’t go well.  When I think about my life there have been so many times where I’ve let opportunities pass me by because I have been scared.  Its the slayer who is ‘Titanium’ she’s the one that is strong and she’s the one that helps me to be a great leader.

I know this sounds like I’ve got a split personality and you are probably about to close your computer screen and back away slowly.  But stay with me for a bit.

I believe that we all have a ‘slayer’ within us.  You may not call her or him, slayer, but I know that there are times in your life when you’ve taken on a challenge that seemed way to hard or something tragic has happened and you handled it with grace.  When you look back on how you behaved through these periods you are surprised by your strength.  You are proud of how you handled yourself without falling apart. You are happy with your efforts that helped others get through a hard time. That’s your slayer helping you succeed.

So my philosophy on leadership is about unleashing your slayer from within.  Its about taking those moments and making them the norm in your life. Letting her (or him) be free to help you live with and on purpose. It’s about helping you to BE a slayer.

Because being a slayer is leading not because its your job, but because its part of being a whole human.

Being a slayer means taking every opportunity to inspire others to do more, be more, dream more and believe more.

Being a slayer is about taking the action that is required and is sometimes ignored by others because of fear.

Being a slayer means creating your vision without waiting for permission and without any authority.

You have a vision and a mission. You want people to hear it and work towards it. When you start you spend your whole time pushing people towards your vision because its important to get your message into the world…and its exhausting always pushing people. Particularly when they are the wrong ones.

And then, you discover the secret to real leadership and the RIGHT people come because they believe in your mission and vision too.

True empowering leadership leaves you able to walk freely, without pushing anyone, without the exhaustion, because the people who believe… walk beside you.

So walk beside me as I introduce you to the slayer, her story and how she can help you become a truly inspirational leader…without waiting for permission.

x Michelle

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