Which road to leadership

In his famous novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (published 150 years ago this year) Lewis Carroll wrote – “…here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” Reflecting this quote on people’s existence today we could be forgiven for thinking that Lewis was a visionary on how fast paced the world would become. Remember, he was writing before the invention of the first telephone or even the electric light!

It goes without saying that mankind has made huge progress and we now have a fast-moving world that offers so much promise and displays a glittering array of technological gadgets and development. High-speed trains and airplanes take us from place to place, huge machines farm the land, skyscrapers compete against the skyline.

But real life isn’t the mythical Wonderland and it requires a lot of effort to actually manage to structure your life in the way you want. You will certainly feel you are running twice as hard to achieve things that you feel are worthwhile and hopefully creating your own personal fairy-tale.

At another point in the story, Alice is confused as to which road to take and the Cat tells her “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” But we can tell you, if you have a desire to be at the top, and to be successful, then there is one simple rule for you – stand out from the crowd, be unique, be the Leader!

Many of you may think that leadership is an inherent quality that people have to be born with it. It looks very easy for them to be in the centre of attention, maybe they even look relaxed standing at the front of the crowd with the microphone. It seems that they are born to organise and control everything. But this is certainly not the whole truth. If you don’t have such characteristics it doesn’t mean that you can’t create them. Leaders aren’t only born, they are made! Leadership can be born from hard work and experience.

As far as I remember, I always wanted to be ‘on the front row’; I wanted to be a real leader. So far it feels like I haven’t had so much life experience, but I was quite lucky in finding some challenges that have given wonderful opportunities to build my own wisdom and help me on my way to leadership and success. From these I have made a list of rules and mottoes that motivate me on this long and difficult journey:

  1. Find your zone! Life can be too short so it is vital not just to live and endure bit to live and enjoy each and every day of being alive. Work out what makes you happy and find ways to make it happen.
  2. Surround yourself with the right people. Stay in touch with people from whom you can learn. Find people who challenge you to stretch yourself but who also give you a secure base to work from.
  3. Find or create a role-model for yourself to live up to. Seeing good things in a person you know or a famous person can help you to take the right actions in your own life.
  4. Find a mentor. There are experienced people out there who can and will help you if you ask.
  5. Always do the thing that makes you most afraid. Even if you are frightened, it’s necessary to go further. Believe me, the result can be a huge surprise.
  6. Don’t give up. ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’ – a wonderful quote from Winston Churchill. Your desire for being a leader should be bigger than your fear of failure. True and great leaders learn to accept a mistakes and failures not as collapse, but as the path to knowledge.
  7. Be better today than you were yesterday. Don’t compare yourself with other people just try to improve yourself.
  8. Find your life balance. On your way to the great target of being a leader, don’t forget about people around you, you need support from them and they need support from you. Don’t loose yourself in a having so much ambition that you forget to live on a human scale.
  9. Dream. Every great achievement was started with a dream. No matter how crazy your dreams are, make an effort to fulfil them. Visualize everything you want and then take the first steps to make your vision become reality.
  10. Believe in yourself and your own power. If not you, who does? You should have a faith, so that you can reach the stars.

Always remember that there is a leader inside each of us. It might be really hard to find it, and along the journey be prepared to give up the old you and accept the new ideas and inner-strengths as you discover them. As Lewis Carroll also wrote, “I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then”.

So, start from right now. Just close your eyes and look inside… and you may well find that well, now you’ve taken the first small steps to the building your own leadership.

About the Author

Anastasia S. has been an active IYLC member for the last 3 years and comes from Ukraine. Her family home is in Donetsk and during the last year she has faced a completely new world of fear and uncertainty. She has completed her Masters in Economics and is now happy to be both alive and working. The challenge of making her way in this new environment has led her to new insights in personal leadership and in the business world.