Written by Darla Harms
“An influential woman of character who understands the value of her position.”
“An influential woman” is no ordinary woman. This gal knows to lead well she must influence herself first. John Maxwell says, “You can’t lead others until you lead yourself.” He’s absolutely right. To lead yourself means to love yourself, to take care of yourself, to nurture yourself, and to develop yourself. Leadership is simply an overflow of who you are. If you aren’t growing, developing, changing, nurturing, and getting better as a person, you will find that your leadership capacity will run dry, and you will be operating out of lack. You can’t go far on an empty tank of gas. The key to influencing yourself is knowing when your “leadership meter” is running low. If you will take the time to fill it up every day, then this is never going to be a problem for you. Over the last few years, I have met thousands of individuals who say they are on a leadership journey and who have leadership “positions”. (Which basically means they just have a title.) When I ask them what books they are reading or podcasts they are listening to, to become a better leader, and they say, “I don’t have time to read or listen to podcasts.”, I know their leadership tank is running low. Common sense alone will not make you a good leader. Going to one leadership conference a year, will not fill your tank. You must enter a daily regimen of growth for you to influence yourself well.
Once this woman has started the journey of influencing herself, then she can begin to influence others effectively. The confidence this woman has in herself will be inspiring to everyone who meets her. Our influence is simply an overflow of the work we are doing on ourselves. It helps us see the people we are influencing much more clearly. Our ability to communicate and deal with conflict comes much easier. The most effective leaders I know are committed to a personal and professional development process that serves as a catalyst of influence in the lives of others.
Who would you rather be influenced by, a woman who is constantly reading, growing, and receiving coaching and/or counseling? Or a woman who never works on her life and binge watches Netflix?
“Of character”. When we think of character, we may think of honesty, integrity, leading by example, etc., all of which are good and spot on. I would like to take it one step further and say that character is also taking the high road, listening to multiple perspectives, not judging people for what they believe, setting appropriate boundaries, and learning to develop thick skin. In my book, “Small Town Girls Play Big in Business”, I share the stories of several women who are learning to “play big” in the organizations they have created. You will find a common character thread among these powerhouse women. The characteristic that binds them all together is resiliency and grit. Their determination to keep going after failure, after criticism, after naysayers, etc., is nothing short of inspiring. In a country that is politically divided and very harsh on opposing views, we need to filter who we take our character ques from. It takes strong character to sit in a room with people who think differently than you and listen to what they have to say without tearing them down. Character is also being kind, patient, compassionate, and loving. It is possible to be a woman of character with a strong back bone, who values herself and values others.
“Who understands the value of her position”. I am a human being, wife, mother, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, neighbor, friend, volunteer, business owner, speaker, author, trainer, cook, dishwasher, housekeeper, laundry master, teacher, bill payer, dog owner, etc. Before I can possibly know the value that they hold, I need to know my value as a human being. The success of any position is directly related to the value I place on myself. If I don’t know my value and my worth, how can I possibly understand the value of being a wife and mom? The value of my work? The value of what I offer to other people?
“We lose our capacity to lead well when we don’t value ourselves well.”
If you fluctuate on your value and worth, then all the other positions you hold in life will fluctuate as well. Once I understand my value as a human being and stand strong in it, then I can tackle the other positions I hold like a boss. I can delegate them without feeling insecure and if I fail at one of them, I value myself enough to get back up and keep trying. I’ll know that not all my positions carry the same weight, and I can prioritize accordingly.
As women striving to be, “influential women of character who understands the value of their position”, let’s also not forget that learning to “lead like a BOSS” is a marathon, not a sprint. No one has become a great leader overnight. Great leadership is the result of process, awareness, growth, challenges, mentorship, coaching, growing, learning, reading, etc. If you are going to “lead like a BOSS”, then you will have to live your life like a boss.
Here’s to becoming the best “influential women of character who understand the value of our positions” and taking this journey together.
Small Town Girls Play Big
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