Here is something I wrote over ten years ago. It was published in a Corpus Christi, Texas magazine, "SALSA". I wanted to share it because sometimes we all have to be reminded that we are Leaders!
How did this little girl from the projects come to be a thirty-one year old woman standing on a pole, thirty-five feet high with a surface the size of a paper plate? I’m not really sure, I just know that a couple of years ago if you asked anyone who knew me, they would have said, “No-way, not her.” When I was growing up my mother was always reminding me that I needed to be a lady. Also, that if I acted like a boy, no man would ever want me as a wife.
Once when I had been having a bad day my mother said, “Just find yourself a boyfriend and everything will be better.” After I had been married for several years, my grandmother confessed to me that she would pray that I would find a good husband. She explained how happy she was when she thought that I had finally found him.
Having been divorced for a while, one day I had an epiphany. Why didn’t anyone pray that I would get a good education or find a wonderful career? Women don’t have to follow. They can lead. I just hadn’t been told that I could. Some say that leaders are born not made. Well, I don’t believe that. We only know our true strength when we use it. Circumstances create leaders and the willingness to grow as a person into this leadership role is the first step. There is a saying that change becomes less frightening when the fear of staying the same becomes greater. This one simple saying has given me great strength over the last few years. There is a feeling I get in the middle of my chest that feels like I can no longer breathe unless I take action. Taking action is the key to becoming a leader. The action that a leader takes is not a reaction, but a proactive action. It forms to create; it does not form to respond.
Being a Leader does not mean that people follow you around in a thoughtless daze. Being a leader is making your dreams a reality. Being a leader encompasses giving direction and support to those around you. That is why I believe anyone can be a leader. Becoming a leader is like anything else one would train to become. You practice the steps and before you know it they are second nature. Walking the talk is one way of putting it. to develop to leader within yourself, practice these simple steps:
CREATE ENERGY!!! Project optimism and confidence. People are drawn to positive energy like moths to a flame. Simply having a smile on your face can create energy.
HELP OTHERS TO REACH THEIR GOALS. By helping others you gain respect and a base for cooperation. It is difficult enough to succeed when people are behind you; it is nearly impossible to succeed without support.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO LEAD. Planning is essential to leadership. Taking the time to try new ideas, develop goals and projected outcomes can ensure a positive result.
BE A GOOD COMMUNICATOR. Don’t forget communication is a two-way process. Communication is not as simple as most think; it requires sending clear messages and providing the listener with opportunities to process the information.
GET INVOLVED. BE APPROACHABLE. Remember, no one can lead from a distance. Hard Work always speaks for itself!
BE THE EYE OF THE HURRICANE. Focus on solutions, not blame. It is difficult to build while tearing down. When it is all said and done, the important factor is: was the task accomplished successfully?
DEMAND EXCELLENCE. By demanding the best of others and ourselves, we promote each other to Excellence. Believing in people gives them the inspiration to reach and surpass goals.
Sometimes the simple act of giving yourself permission to step outside the role you’ve been playing is all that it takes to find the leader within. When I finally told myself that it was okay to dream, that was the moment when my dreams began to come true. That is how I got myself on top of a thirty-five foot pole at the challenge course. Eight feet away is a trapeze that I am supposed to jump to and hold on. I visualize catching the trapeze as obtaining all of my goals. Well, here I go…!salsa!