Research Paper By Simon Larouche
(Executive Coach, CANADA)
How to become a leader in your life
The lack of personal leadership is often the cause of our difficulty in moving ahead and thriving in our lives. It manifests itself in many forms:
- The lack of motivation and the feeling of doing things out of obligation.
- The feeling of missing out in one's life or turning round,
- The loss of direction.
- Lack of self-confidence
- Accepting an unhealthy lifestyle or that does not suit you
We are sometimes lost in our lives because we have not yet developed the Leadership in us, this ability to give one’s self direction and to move towards it powerfully. Those who succeed in life know the recipe and know that we can all develop it if we want to.
That is why I take the time to share with you my vision of personal leadership. I want to start by introducing my analogy between the leader and the tree. Then I will give you the basic steps to develop personal leadership in yourself. We all have the potential to be strong leaders and to live a life we love.
Being a leader is to be a strong tree, with a solid and flexible trunk that allows the sap flow between its roots and branches. A human being with integrity who is well connected with his potential and to what he aspires.
The roots of the leader are his foundations, the more they are deep and healthy the more he can grow, thrive and rise.
A leader is well rooted in himself and his potential. He is aware of his strengths and values. He knows where he comes from, knows his purpose and knows what nourishes the life in him. With his roots, the leader draws his strength from his knowledge of self and its environment.
The branches of the leader represent his aspiration towards his ideal, towards his vision. The more the branches rise and flourish, the more he has the energy to carry out his projects and live his life powerfully.
The leader carries a vision that inspires action. He knows where he is going and what he wants to manifest in the world. This vision may take the form of personal or professional goals or an ideal for oneself or the world.
The strength of the leader depends of course on the balance between his roots and branches, his potential and aspirations. It is this balance that allows him to face the wind and the storm and find his place in the sun.
A tree whose roots are weak cannot carry large branches without being uprooted by the first storm. A leader must be rooted in himself and tap into his potential if he wants to carry large projects and realize his aspirations.
Conversely, a tree with small branches and little access to sunlight may well have a good root system, it will grow little and some roots may rot. Someone well rooted in himself and aware of his potential that has no vision of direction or ideal will eventually die slowly. Without a goal, a vision, growth is difficult. That is why the leader reserves moments of meditation and working on his real aspirations and what he wants to do with his life. It ensures to keep his vision strong, flexible and alive.
Like a tree, the strength of the leader also relies on his ability to stay strong and flexible. The leader stands firmly, lets circulate the life in him and takes action to achieve his objectives and goals. The trunk symbolizes the structures and action plans the leader puts in place to achieve his vision and his projects. The leader shows the way forward by setting goals and means in the short term and then he takes action. He must be disciplined, make certain privations if he really wants to achieve his objectives, and therefore his purpose. If he wants to achieve his goals the leader must know himself, know where he is going and have a plan to get there.
Finally, a good leader gives fruits by sharing his vision and inspiring others to take action in their lives. He is able to mobilize people around his goal or just inspire people to follow their own purpose in life. Thus, a leader sows the seeds by what he emanates; he inspires others to also become leaders in their own lives. The leader is generous and shares his victories, wins and visions with his entourage.
Several definitions of leadership focus on this quality of influence and mobilization. But personal leadership is also about becoming the conductor of one’s own life. Once we have well-placed feet on the ground and we have a clear direction where to go, one can only have a strong influence on his entourage.
When his purpose is bigger than him, a leader can thus generate a forest of leaders and his goal will continue even after his death.
When a great leader dies, he generates enough wood to light the sacred fire in thousands of hearts.
I hope this analogy will inspire you and help you understand what a leader is and how to develop personal leadership in you.
I also want to specify that this analogy can be applied to specific areas. You can become a leader at work with a professional goal, by drawing on your strengths and creating an action plan and structures to achieve your goals.
The approach can be summed up in 4 easy to follow steps referring to the roots, trunk, branches and the fruits of the tree.