If you’ve spent any time reading or researching the topic of what makes a great leader, no doubt you’ll find pretty everything much under the sun, from one spectrum to the other. Most likely you will find lot of contradicting articles, tips and techniques. One thing that I think is safe to say is that great leaders do ask for what they want. This is not rocket science and pretty easy to accept and not too hard to apply in your career. What is challenging is learning how to apply this concept in all aspects of our life.
I’m learning what this really looks like in practice. Once again, if you’re anything like me, I’ve made this practice so much harder than I believe it’s meant to be. Let me explain. By asking for what you want, you must first put yourself out there. Depending on your background and/or religious beliefs this may be the most challenging part. Many of my youth and formative years were spent being told that I was selfish, or that I needed to avoid being selfish. I don’t know if anyone every truly explained what they meant by these statements but I interpreted them as being selfish was something to be shameful about. Shame is bad, so avoid this at every cost, which equals don’t be selfish and what ever you do for the love of god, don’t ask for what you want.
Many of the last 40 years were spent avoiding, hiding and running away from myself. It’s only been in the past five years that I’ve been reconnecting with my authentic self. The only reason that this has been possible is that I was tired of the status quo and ready to step outside of the box, damn near busted that box to shreds, that the world has put me in. That box that everyone was so eager to put me in, the box of victim, small towner, mom, wife, and whatever labels you want to add, were not my able to capture all that I am. While, I’m grateful to be a wife and a mom and I’m proud of where I come from, I am more than those things, the roles I have served in my life.
Learning to ask for what I wanted meant that I’ve had to face some of my own demons. You know, the ones where I tell myself things like, “You can’t do this, you’re not good enough, strong enough, smart enough, fit enough, pretty enough”, to do what I have been called to do. I think at some point you get tired of the self loathing, at least I have. In my heart of hearts I know who I am, but accepting her, that has been my challenge. Believing that she and I are equally amazing beings and are here for a reason, well that too, has taken me some time to digest.
I don’t have all the answers, I’m going through life and transforming with you. What I have learned on my journey is great leaders do ask for what they want, and you know what? Often, they receive what they’ve asked for too. It takes practice, venerability, openness, boldness, faith and gentleness to ask for what you want. This applies from the board room to the kitchen table. We aren’t only leaders in our work, but in all aspects of who we are. Leadership isn’t something we can turn on or off when we step into our offices. When I share this advice with clients I do it in a way that makes it much easier to digest. Kind of like the spoon full of sugar approach.
If you were you’re own best friend. How about that, could you imagine? If you were you own best friend what would you tell yourself? What advice, support, encouragement, would you give to your best friend who was in a situation that they needed to ask for what they wanted? Chances are you’d tell them to do it, that they were worth it, they deserved to have everything in life they desired and they you were there on the sidelines to cheer them on. Yeah, that’s what I would tell my best friend. So there it is, be your best friend and lead from within. Ask for what you want and be prepared to have your socks blown off!!
If you are struggling with this concept, need help or simply tired of being stuck, reach out to me. I’d love to help get you past your road block and help get your transformation underway.