“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that in each and everyone of us, there is a potential leader. The difference between John Quincy Adams and yourself however, is the courage to take a step forward and the drive to reach a goal. Do you ever lay awake at night thinking about the promotion you should go for but can’t because you don’t think you would be fit for it? Think again, here are some indications that you are a great leader, and you don’t even know it yet.
1. You are approachable.
If you find yourself giving advice to your friends and coworkers more than you are taking it, it means that they value your opinion and are the go to person for help. Being approachable is an important quality for a leader to have because no one really wants to work for someone without an open door policy. People trust your judgment and confide in you: take pride in that.Advertising
2. You maintain a smile, even when it is difficult.
Maintaining your composure professionally is an excellent trait many leaders have and many companies are looking for. It is important to keep calm and keep the situation under control. If you have found yourself nodding silently and listening to someone who is obviously upset and is screaming at you, then you have more patience than most.
3. You have an open mind.
Keeping an open mind is an important trait when it comes to being a leader. If you have found yourself listening to someone tell you on how to do things more efficiently and take it as constructive criticism, I applaud you.
4. You are straight forward.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone is asking for advice and even though you know they do not want to hear it, you give it to them anyways? You don’t sugar coat it and give it to them straight to get the point across. That is a good thing, it may not seem like it to your friend at the time, but it is a great quality each leader has. Sometimes, you will have to hold meetings, give constructive feedback on an employee’s performance and occasionally, let someone go. It takes a tough person to have this trait, be proud of it.Advertising
5. You are responsible, even though you don’t want to be.
There are some of days where it just sucks to live and you want to just lay in bed. You want to stay there, eat your meals there and go back to sleep. Whatever has got you down, you push it aside and you force yourself out of bed because you have responsibilities. You have people counting on you and you have things to get done that will not finish themselves. There are some that don’t make it out of bed, and just push those tasks aside for another day, but not you. This is called being responsible. Leaders need be responsible when no one else wants to be.
6. You treat everyone equally despite how you feel.
Whether it is at work or at school, you treat people equally regardless of your feelings. Being a leader means that you must be able to treat everyone with respect, even if you are having a bad day. If you are the kind of person to leave your personal life’s luggage at the door of the establishment you work or study at, that is impressive. Not many can do that.
7. You are confident but are never afraid to ask for help or support.
Great leaders are not perfect. They are confident in the choices they make but they are not afraid to ask for help if they need it. If you have found yourself stuck in a rut and ask someone else for support, take it as a good thing. You are human and though you may know a lot, you don’t know everything. If you accept this and move on with an open mind, consider yourself leader material.Advertising
8. You find the silver lining, even in the worst situations.
Your energy is irresistible. Everyone needs positive energy to feed off of and leaders of all kinds need to have it. It is important to have this energy in the work place because mistakes are made here and there, but any action taken afterwards can make the situation worse if you let negative energy fester. Great leaders take every situation and focus on the silver lining.
9. You help others without expecting anything in return.
Have you found yourself finishing tasks at work because it needs to be done not because you have been asked? Or volunteering to help someone move just because? Great leaders do things to help others and not expect anything else in return from anyone.
10. You genuinely care about how others are feeling.
Sometimes in life, you find yourself pushing plans aside to listen to someone vent or to be their shoulder to cry on. You are the person that people come to when they want to talk about life and how it is going wrong. You make time for this because you honestly care about how people feel. Great leaders not only try to get to know who their people are as employees but also as actual people. They acknowledge that people have feelings, ups and downs, and need to have someone listen and reset their mind.Advertising
If you found yourself thinking, “I do that” with several of these points, you may just be a leader. All you need is a little confidence and initiative to make it happen. There is nothing in this world stopping you from being what you want to be, except yourself. If you want it, work for it. You already have got the traits of a leader and the world could always use another great one.
Last Updated on August 19, 2019
How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps
There is a great deal of advice in the world telling us how to succeed in life, but often we are given advice that isn’t tailored to our needs, desires and priorities. Success means different things to each of us, and living a life that feels genuinely successful to me might be very different to your idea of a successful life.
Naturally, when we follow the advice of someone else, which is tailored to their life goals and personality, we can end up with something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. We don’t get rewarded with our vision of success: we get theirs.
This is why I’m a proponent of self-discovery, introspection and personal sovereignty. So how to succeed on your own terms?
These 7 essential steps are not going to tell you exactly what to do, but they will provide you with the tools and the questions to ask so that you can discover your own path, so you know how to succeed in life on your own terms.
1. Know Thyself
One of Socrates’ most well-known quotes is,
An unexamined life is not worth living.
I argue that an unexamined life is not a successful one. Self-knowledge is something we could dedicate our lives to, but I’m not suggesting you sit around and navel-gaze in order to find happiness and meaning.
Thankfully, there are people who have created techniques and systems that less us fast-forward through a lot of personal philosophizing, and quickly identify some key aspects of what makes us, us.
You might want to find out what your ideal daily schedule is, and you can take tests that reveal just that. Or you might want to figure out what you need to get things done – and yes, there’s a quiz for that too.
None of these tests are infallible, and some are more scientific than others, but the process of asking yourself questions about your behaviors and traits is invaluable when it comes to determining your path to succeed in life.
For example, if you know you are an introvert and are unhappy in your current workplace, it might be worth considering why that is (an open plan office space perhaps) and what you would prefer.
It’s these little questions that will provoke answers in you that can guide the decisions that truly improve your life now and in the future.
2. Figure out What Matters to You
What lights you up? This is a question that often gets forgotten as we age. A fortunate child will be given the stimulation they desire in the form of bright toys, affection and entertainment. Little by little, the things that bring a child joy get replaced by what society demands on their behalf.
When we return to that question, and ask ourselves what really matters and what brings us joy, we can move closer towards a successful life. It can help to think back to your childhood, and the times in your life when you were in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow state.
In a state of flow, time slows and our focus is directed like a laser. We are fully present.
Whilst not everything in life that matters to you will conjure up a flow state, it’s a good indication of the kind of activities and experiences you can try to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.
A successful life is made up of moments like this, and when you know what matters to you and brings you a sense of joy and purpose, you can go about creating more of that.
3. Play to Your Strengths
Why spend your time only on mitigating your weaknesses, only to feel average? Instead, playing to your strengths and amplifying those skills and qualities you already have will help you go from average to extraordinary.
If you’re great at big picture thinking and love dreaming up new ideas, but often lack attention to detail, acknowledge that. Then instead of trying to improve your analytical skills, focus instead on developing your existing skills of imagination and insight. When you need someone with a keen eye for detail, you can collaborate with those people.
Jackson Pollock was an extreme introvert, with no real desire to get his artwork in front of people. Fortunately, he had Clement Greenberg, who was much further towards the extrovert end of the spectrum, to popularize his work and get Pollock the publicity he needed.
Start by identifying your strengths and what comes naturally to you. Then work on developing those and becoming known for those strengths. You can always find someone who will help you in fill in the gaps.
4. Listen to Yourself
It isn’t always clear to us that we’re on a path that leads us to failure or to success. People can spends decades in a job that is unfulfilling and slowly breaking their spirit, without even realizing it – until it’s too late. This is usually because they haven’t learned how to truly listen to themselves.
The challenge we face is that we’re listening to so many other sources of information; whether it’s the news, television, social media, family, friends or colleagues. Many may want to help, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for us. Only you know what success means for you, and working this out begins with listening to yourself.
Listening to yourself requires practice. It’s a daily effort, which over time, does get easier. That inner voice of wisdom will get clearer, and the decisions you make will feel more convincing.
To start, you could try to set aside 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up, in silence. Rather than look at your phone, checking emails or social media, simply sit in silence, listening.
Ask yourself a simple question like, what am I feeling right now, in this moment? Notice the answer that bubbles up, without getting lost in the story. Starting an inner dialogue, without judgment is one of the key tools you can use to start making better decisions in your life.
Learn more about listening to your true self in this guide: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment
5. Listen to Others (But Not Everyone)
Listening to yourself is one thing, but listening to others is crucial in order to learn, empathize and be of benefit to your community.
Truly listening to others is not just waiting patiently until it’s your turn to speak. Active listening requires focused attention, and the intention to understand where the other person is coming from.
When you do this, you can ask better questions and discover more about the world and everyone in it, as well as learn how to interact with others in order to succeed in life on your own terms.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone you come across. Trolls on the internet may come into the category of people not to listen to. Some people’s opinions will do more harm than good, as not everyone has your best interest in mind.
It’s worth identifying a shortlist of people whose opinions you will listen to. Brené Brown, author of the New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, recommends taking a 1-inch x 1-inch square of paper and make a list of people whose opinions matter to you. These are the people who love you and will genuinely support and help you. According to Brown,
“If you need more paper, you need to edit.”
6. Make Time for Reflection
It’s easy to go through life without taking inventory of what you’re actually accomplishing. Missing this crucial step means we end up jumping from one goal to the next, without feeling like we’re getting anywhere.
Make time, ideally each day to reflect. You might keep a paper journal, or an online document. Either way, jot down:
- What went well today
- Something you’re grateful for
- What would make tomorrow even better
Doing this can have measurable benefits to our overall sense of well-being, as well as keeping us focused for more success in the future.
It also helps combat feelings of lack and doubt, that arise when we compare ourselves to others. When we look at someone who appears to be more successful than us in an area of life, we can forget how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for.
Making time to reflect on what you have accomplished is critical to keep you on track, and just not looking at what others are doing.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind
Arguably the most important step of all:
Remember that there’s nothing wrong in changing your mind and correcting course.
The path to a successful life is not straight and narrow. It meanders and there’s no harm in going back and picking a different (and better) route.
“I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis
Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and change your mind. Ultimately, there’s no better way to succeed in life on your own terms.
More Articles About Achieving Success
- 15 Inspiring Ideas to Boost Your Motivation for Success
- 10 Personal Development Goals for Success and Happiness
- 20 Definitions Of Success You Should Never Ignore
- 7 Monday Morning Habits Of Highly Successful People
Featured photo credit: Shirly Niv Marton via unsplash.com
|||^||CNBC: How to time your day for peak performance, based on your chronotype|
|||^||Tools Hero: Flow Model by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi|
|||^||Smithsonian: Decoding Jackson Pollock|
|||^||Psychology Today: Science Proves That Gratitude Is Key to Well-Being|