On January 21st, millions of people rallied in support of the Women’s March. While the ‘official’ march in Washington, DC drew a crowd of 500,000 people, it is estimated that 673 similar marches were held around the world.
Regardless of politics, this is a great example of personal leadership.
Personal leadership is about leading our own lives.
It’s knowing who you are, living by your own values, being intentional in your choices and taking responsibility for your actions and consequences. Not only is personal leadership about being a role model for other people, it’s about being proud of yourself and your actions at the end of the day.
It’s not always easy. As our world and workplaces continually change, who we are and what we stand for can be challenged and even threatened. This means that we may have to make tough choices when standing up for what we believe in is uncomfortable, unpopular, unwanted or dismissed.
Personal leadership requires courage and commitment.
You need the courage to stand in the fire. You need to be willing to brave the storm for what you think is important. This applies on a small scale and a large scale:
- Will you stand up for your unpopular project plan because you know it’s the best idea?
- Will you take responsibility for impacts of your actions you didn’t even intend?
- Will you hold firm to the life choices that make sense for you despite judgement and criticism?
"Why bother", you might ask? Why take risks and make compromises that may jeopardize relationships, promotions, opportunities and decisions, just to hold to your own beliefs? Fair point. You do it because it offers you the greatest sense of fulfillment to know that you live on your own terms.
Personal leadership isn’t something you’re born with – it’s a habit. You have to build your courage by living your values consistently.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
How you can action on this:
- Ask for something you want.
- Have that uncomfortable conversation that you’ve been delaying.
- Put together a proposal for that risky project.
- Admit to a mistake that you’ve been trying to hide.
Where’s the opportunity for you?