I never aspired to be the CFO for the PwC business in India. I was actually trying to recruit for it.
Because I loved India and felt connected at a deeper level with the people, I was happy to have an opportunity to stay and work there.
That’s why I said yes and accepted the role.
Yet, this voice in my head kept saying “I’m not a man in a blue suit. I want to wear flowy dresses and be creative. Express myself.”
So, this conflict kept going on inside me.
Ironically, a man in a blue suit did take over my role when my assignment ended.
This could’ve gone a totally different way.
Imagine if I’d said wow, I’ve got this amazing opportunity. I want to be a free-spirited leader who empowers her team, builds deep relationships, takes decisions with ease, has a sense of humor.
I painted a picture and unfortunately it was the one I didn’t want. And, it was always about me and not about creating an inspiring picture for the people around me.
Do you do this too?
If you’re like me, I’ve found these to be some special ways to experience leadership in a meaningful way.
3 Ways to Lead with Inspiration
1. Envision who you are as a value-based leader
It’s incredibly powerful to have a clear, vivid, meaningful picture in your heart of the leader you wish to become. And, act as if you’ve already become that leader. This means something you’ve consciously created not a vague idea or some stream of thoughts.
I’m surrounded by teachers that do exactly this as part of their everyday practice. And, when I look up at them I see smiling faces, I hear laughter, and feel the admiration radiating from everyone around them.
2. Ask for help and set the right example
I heard the phrase the Island of Woman last week. It made quite a few people laugh thinking about how we think we can do things on our own without ever asking for help. Thinking we’re independent, we can do it on our own, and pushing ahead without the proper support.
As a leader, the negative effect of this is amplified. So be super aware of what’s going on inside you. Your mental and emotional problems are more serious than any technical, work issue you face. Get help. It’s not ok to accept persistently negative minds full of stress, guilt, blame, doubt, overwhelm, and distraction.
3. Go beyond focusing on people
It’s foundational to focus on all the people around you – your team, your peers, your clients, the housekeeping staff, the security team, and so on. What if you took it beyond that.
Imagine if you actually stepped into their shoes – not by saying you are but really feeling as if you were them looking out of their eyes. Seeing what a day in their life is like.
To start really small, pick one person at the beginning of the day you really want to cherish. Then, observe her throughout the day. Notice how she walks, consider what her family life is like, imagine what emotions she may feel, get a feel for what work challenges she faces.
Exchanging yourself with another is a profound practice if you’re up for it.
Every day you’ve got the opportunity to lead. Even in the most challenging of situations, you can inspire others and, importantly, yourself.
Create a picture you love. Ask for help. Have a warm feeling for everyone around you and exchange yourself with others often. And, enjoy the sense of peace and freedom it brings.
Take a moment now and pick one special way to focus on and please share which one on the blog.
With hardly any effort, lots of imagination, and a kind heart, you can make big progress even today.