Growth does not just happen
If you have any goal or aspiration in life, one way of achieving it is by a working-growth towards them. The same thing is applicable to authentic leadership. The journey towards authentic leadership requires growth. However, growth does not just happen. The growth that is needed to achieve authentic leadership is intentional growth. We have to be intentional about it.
There are some factors that can prevent us from this growth. Let us consider five of them here.
This is the idea that our growth can happen automatically. You know as kids our bodies grow with our age. From year to year, we grow from strength to strength. From childhood to puberty and to adolescence. Many people think that the same kind of growth is applicable in our mental, psychological, emotional and leadership abilities. It simply does not. We have to be intentional about our growth. It does not happen by accident. We have to stop waiting to be in a leadership position before we start becoming a leader. To him who has no destined port, no wind favours him.
Old Dad once asked me a question as a kid. Five birds are pitching on a tree. Four of them decided to fly off. How many are left?
I quickly answered “One”. He smiled and said “No. There are five of them left. Remember that they only decided. To decide is not the same as to do”. I have come to appreciate the fact that Dad was right.
Most people do not act because they think there is a better time in the future when they can act. They surround themselves with the litany of excuses why they will not act at this moment.
“I am just 18, it is not the right time to begin”.
“I am still a high school student, it is not the right time to begin”.
“Oh, I need to graduate from the University before I start”.
“I am from a poor family background, I will start when my finances change.”
These are some excuses many young people give why they are not intentional about growing their leadership potentials. In the end, they fall victim of the law of diminishing intent. A law which states that the longer you wait to do something which you ought to have done immediately, the higher the probability of you not doing it at all. My granddad taught us that, “any call which you know that you will surely not avoid answering when you are called the first time, just answer it”.
You may have financial or professional inhibitions why you are not becoming intent with your growth. Yet you have to look beyond those inhibitions and grow after all. Once you start growing, you will keep growing.
After the fear of the unknown, the second greatest fear of most people is the fear of mistakes. Unfortunately, growing up involves making and admitting mistakes. Making mistakes may make you look foolish in the sight of people, but it sure helps you to grow. If you want to grow into authentic leadership, you must be ready to ask questions and even to make mistakes. You learn from your mistakes and begin to get better after each – that is growth. Welcome mistakes as signs of growth.
The problem is that many people suffer from perfection syndrome. They want to get everything perfect even before they start. Perfectionism inhibits growth. Growth is like driving at night. You cannot see the entire road ahead as you drive. The road unfolds gradually as you progress. If you want to see the entire road, then you have to keep driving ahead.
Many people wait until they feel inspired before they begin to pursue growth. Some others say they have to read motivational books in other to start something. That is fine. But then the bad news is that motivation is just a trap. Yeah, it is just a transient feeling.
Forget motivation. Just do it. Whichever area of life you want to grow in, do not wait for motivation. Just go ahead and pursue that growth. Do not wait to be inspired before you start. Just go ahead and start something. You will discover the reasons to continue in your growth plan when you start something, and not before you start. So just make a commitment today to start something. Begin from anywhere, you do not have to get it right all at once. Get into the gym if you have to. Attend that seminar and coaching class if you have to. Just do it.
Do you think growth would be easy? Then you are day-dreaming. I have not seen a successful person who just wakes up to become successful. There must be hours and days of hard toil before they achieve that height. Climbing to the top is not an easy feat that you get by merely eating candy. You have to create your own luck, probably using John Mason’s formula:
Preparation (growth) + Attitude + Opportunity = Action (working towards it) = Luck
If you mays have an expectation, then your expectation should be that growth is not an easy process. Just as gold passes through a series of fire processes to become pure, so also shall we pass through though training to reach our desired height.
In sum, if you want to be an authentic leader, you have to become intentional about it and then work towards it. You cannot buy it nor can you inherit it from your father or whoever. You have to toil to towards it.
Remember also that Leadership is not a destination.