«I don’t have a role model. I am my own. » I was watching “The Voice of Germany” the other day and this is a 17year old’s reply to a question about her favorite singer.
Her confidence blew me.
She is voicing what I also say to my clients: Don’t look for a leader role model, create your own.
The problem with role models is that we easily start imitating.
We try to behave like them, use their words, the same approach.
This is highly inauthentic.
And rarely successful.
Imitating, or its stronger version pretending, is a lot about “should”. I should do this because someone who is confident and assertive is doing that. It’s defining yourself from the outside in: You behave and lead according to what you see in others.
It’s a lot about controlling your own behavior, it’s the mental agenda running the show.
The energy is forcing, it’s a strong energy of needing to make it happen.
You are fully focused on this, even to the extent that you might feel your life, your happiness, or your success in your job depends on it.
When we absolutely want it to happen, we easily overdo it. We go over the top.
It becomes inauthentic, it’s not inspiring or attractive anymore.
Everyone around us can feel the pain and stress. The need to control. The pressure.
It feels no longer flexible, flowy, natural, and organic – it’s forced.
We force ourselves to be a certain way because we strive to be like someone we are not, but that someone is so successful that we are led to believe this is the only way to do it.
I see that very often in my female clients who try to imitate their successful male colleagues. They pretend to be tough and aggressive because they see this behavior working out successfully for others.
I work with them on creating the version of a leader they truly want to be. And can be.
And then support them in living and being that.
Creating your own version and living up to that is different from pretending: It’s about owning who you are – and that’s highly authentic. It’s your very personal, very unique way of leading and doing business.
It’s natural, it’s organic. It’s not coming from the brain, not from the mental agenda, not coming from absolutely needing to be and lead a certain way.
It’s not pretending, not copying, not faking.
Instead, it’s real, honest & maybe even raw. It comes easy, it’s a light energy. It’s what attracts the people around you, what inspires them. It’s very calm energy as well – very unagitated.
It’s what feels right, what feels correct for you. What you don’t need to describe, maybe you even lack the words, because you feel it. It’s being you. It’s living from the inside out, from your values, your core, your mission.
If you recognized yourself in the first part and noticed that you tend to imitate your role model, don’t worry. It’s normal.
And there are five easy steps to go from trying to be like your role model to living up to your leader vision:
Get familiar with your vision.
The following questions can help you:
- What do you want to be known for as a leader?
- If you could teach your team only 1 thing – what would it be?
- What is your motto?
- CEO World is interviewing you. What’s the headline of this article?
- Look 5 years into the future: Your team/department is throwing you a party and someone is giving a speech to honor YOU. What would you like to hear?
Write down everything without judging or evaluating. It’s about getting your juices flowing and gathering as much as possible.
Don’t worry about repeating certain words over and over again. On the contrary, that’s great, you will work with that later.
Review for resonance.
Look at your notes and circle the words that stick out and resonate with you, e.g. “confident”, “assertive” or “caring”.
Do that for all questions you have answered.
Which of them are recurring most often?
Condense your list.
Write all of those words on a separate sheet of paper.
You can also write down how often you’ve written them down, e.g. “inspiring (5)” or “visionary (3)”.
Go through that list again and find the top 5 words that resonant most. These can be the ones you’ve mentioned most often – but don’t have to.
Go for resonance, not quantity. Read through the list, listen to what’s coming up inside you and pick based on your gut.
Create your vision.
Write these 5 words on a separate sheet of paper and give it a smashing headline, e.g. “Sarah, the Confident & Caring Leader” or “The Best Leader I Can Be”.
If you want to, build a sentence out of these 5 words or find a metaphor or an image that represents it.
Live your vision.
Use your picture, your list, your sentence every morning to set your intention of the day. Ask yourself: “How can I be more like this today?”
Use it during the day, when you feel down or overwhelmed. Remind yourself that this is the version you can and want to be.
Consult this version of yourself when you are struggling or need to find a solution – what would she do?
Just like the 17 year old girl, be your own role model.
Be inspired by yourself, empower and encourage yourself to be more of this inspiring, attractive leader every single day.
You don’t need a role model – all you need a vision.” It should read “You don’t need a role model – all you need is a vision.
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