“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story within you.”
— Maya Angelou
Why are leadership stories so important today? Just take a look at some of the leadership stories from a few of today’s most successful business leaders. Read Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s autobiography Pour Your Heart Into It or Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. Grab a copy of Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity or Yvon Choinard’s Let My People Go Surfing. Literally thousands of motivational leadership stories can be found. Each offers compelling leadership stories – drawing us in, establishing trust in their character and intentions, revealing their passions and purpose-driven work, and creating connections. Their individual stories become collective tales that make us want to join them and to engage, experience and invest in their movements.
You, too, have many stories from your working lives. You’ve likely had experiences where you have found success – and others you may have felt some level of failure. Hopefully you have had an opportunity to work for someone who you considered to be a great leader and mentor – while many of you have probably experienced the opposite. If you are a leader in title, or even if you’re not, these experiences are important when it comes to your growth, and when it comes to the opportunity to share your lessons learned with others.
As important as leadership stories are from the past, I’d like you to consider how you are building your leadership story of the future. Your leadership story will be built on choices you make like how you are going to connect to your purpose and align with your values. You might be thinking that this sounds much like a vision statement, but your leadership story is also built on smaller choices like how you treat the people who come in contact with you and how you will react to each of the moments that come along in your day. When your leadership story is a conscious part of your daily journey, your true character will be revealed – and others will witness the authentic you. The result will be a more human, and rewarding, approach to leadership.
It’s your leadership story – choose wisely!
Recommended actions you can take…
- Review and document your leadership story of the past. What did you learn? Where did you grow?
- Consider your future leadership story. What do you want it to tell others about you?
- Revisit your values, which are the intrinsic beliefs about what is most important to you in your life. How do they align with your leadership?
- Revisit your purpose or why you do what you do. Be sure to consider not how big your purpose is… but rather how it makes you feel.
Recommended resources if interested in learning more…
Here’s to your leadership journey!
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