When you look in the mirror… what do you see?
Do you say to yourself… Hmmm I can see a leader.
I suspect maybe not. How often do you baulk at suggestions that you should ‘be the leader’ because you’re fearful that you don’t have the goods?
I had a chat with a mother of 2 young boys just recently and she was reflecting to me that she felt she wasn’t ‘amounting to much’. Her experience as it turned out was just like my own. I had children in my early 30’s and prior to that I was happily and confidently ensconced in my role as an emergency nurse and midwife. You would think that would prepare me for raising children but to the contrary. I found myself all at sea. Any confidence I had seemed to vaporise. I could run a cardiac arrest but I couldn’t successfully feed my girls solids without tears and snot!
It was in the midst of those uncertain days that someone said… “I think you should be the leader”. I’ve never been so terrified. What followed was an experience that has served to grow me and develop the skills and qualities that I failed to recognise in myself.
In my young friend I had seen a woman who gave what she could, cared for others and engaged in projects as her time allowed her to. She contributed with enthusiasm and excellence. She left a positive trail behind her. I have seen in her what others saw in me all those years ago. It took someone outside of myself to point out what I couldn’t see so I said to her… “you are a leader”. She cried, as us girls are prone to do when someone sees more in us than what we even hoped was there.
There are seasons in our lives when it can feel like we’ve lost our usefulness, that we are not amounting to much. But whether we have a badge or a title after our name or not, we can be leaders and influencers within our sphere. Is that sphere home, community, work, business, an organisation or government?
I have seen it play out in my workplace that there are people who, by their commitment to excellence and care for others, have a greater impact than those who are designated as the leaders. There are people in the community who get involved because it’s what they are passionate about, and they become leaders and influencers not because they are paid but because they use what they’ve got for others.
If you’re lacking confidence, it may take someone else to give you the push you need. You may not see a leader when you look in the mirror, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one there.