Leadership can’t develop in a vacuum. We need feedback, we need clear mirrors to see ourselves in, and develop self-awareness, we need guidance to begin and people to believe in us. We need to be seen.
Through this program we are here to see you, and lend you our eyes to see yourselves. But also to give you some tools.
I will share some stories of becoming as well.
At a young age I felt comfortably invisible. And I was not told I am a leader. Why would someone say that to me? We learned obedience as kids. And today we have to overcome some mental limitations we grew up with. Some of us have bigger hurdles than others to overcome. But nobody who is a great leader today had it made. Obstacles are part of the journey. It is a matter of facing headfirst those obstacles. Silencing the voices in our head that tell us we are not good enough.
My managers saw leadership potential in practically all of us. And they gave us opportunities to test our limits and practice our skills. Having a safe place to voice our concerns and train our muscles is the rarest and best gift we could give you. Along with some very specific tools.
As an 18 year old I was asked to write an essay about “my gift” as I see it, in order to attend an awesome discipleship program. Later on, that easy was read back to me and, to my surprise, I wrote about words of encouragement. I said I believed it comes natural to me to encourage others. Even though I was not showered with praise or word of encouragement myself.
I had forgotten all about it. But, as it turns out, my words of encouragement did something in my colleagues a decade later. It boosted the morale. I drew them to me, as in I had influence over them. It helped them perform better. All the while I was their peer. My practical leadership skills were nonexistent. A manager called me “a diamond in the rough”. I was also the youngest in my group. And yet. There it was. I had a leadership gift. And it was my responsibility to polish it and not burry it.
God called us to use our gifts, not to hide them in fear, because he will ask us what we did with our talents.
My thorn and beacon as an adolescent, a proverb that sat in front of my eyes since forever was: “Pride comes before the fall”. Taking pride in my position, or pride in that particular company I was working for, was a real fear of an impending fall for me. So I learned to trust the small steps to the high peaks.
To this day I feel must I embrace a humble attitude as I talk about that glorious time. But humility out of fear often stops us from walking on stage, or taking the lead. I had to have others push me from behind, see me, affirm my abilities… But there comes a time, when humility and courage don’t exclude each other. Taking a step forward, a step up, is a brave action while forgetting oneself.
I had a lot of work to do. And still have a lot of work to do. It was uncomfortable. Polishing my leadership skills felt unstructured. Uncharted territory. I started dealing with people at another lever and the pressure annoyed me, because I realized how little control I actually had over people. I only needed to have control over my own self.
Easy learning doesn’t develop strong abilities So get ready to be uncomfortable.
Admitting your leadership skills, exposing them, polishing them, it will feel vulnerable. And vulnerability never becomes comfortable but we continue to exercise our abilities.
I’m a small piece of the puzzle. We have a group of great mentors and speakers who will lead the way in this program. If you have an interest in developing your leadership skills and you are between 21-35 years old, let me know. If all the seats are taken for the first program, we’ll keep you informed about our next program.