If you’re a human in the world, you’re a leader

We recently returned from our annual retreat–this time it was in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, one of the most beautiful places in the world and a place that’s been incredibly meaningful and healing for me.

The connection and vulnerability we all shared has me processing a lot, and I’m sure that’s true for everyone who attended. 

Something that’s been coming up for me lately, and was reinforced in Mexico, is around the stories we all carry about leadership.

The first–and perhaps most fundamental story–is that we must be “in charge” of people to be a leader. We have this idea that if we don’t supervise people or take on some other traditional leadership role, we’re not really leaders.

In Dare to Lead, Brenè Brown says “I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes.” 

During our retreat, I identified leadership in every single participant and staff member. The ways we all lead are different–thankfully! No one needs the generic version of us.  Some of us are quiet leaders–when we speak, people know it means something and they listen. Some of us bring the energy to the room and lead by example. Some of us like to be front and center, and others like to support from the background.

What’s important is showing up as our truest, most authentic selves and leading from the heart. When we embrace who we are and get out of the comparison game, everything we do becomes more effective.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, worked traditional 8-5 jobs, and owned my own businesses. And I’ve always been a leader.

When we deny our innate ability and responsibility to be leaders in our own lives, we miss out on amazing opportunities for personal growth and connection with others. 

To deny that you’re a leader is often a desire to hide your true self and to avoid the (weighty) responsibility of being a good human in the world. That’s understandable–wouldn’t it be easier to believe that we don’t really affect others all that much? That if we hide in the background and keep ourselves small, we’ll stay safe?

Here’s the thing–you’re leading others all the time, whether you realize it or not. You don’t get a pass on leadership, because you’re a human in the world with connections and responsibilities. 

My challenge to you is to do leadership in a conscious way. Bring awareness to how you show up in the world. You’ll be amazed at the opportunities that come your way when you lead with intention!