leadership life story

If you have studied great leaders you will discover that their life story shaped who they became. They can describe an event, person or influence that helped set them on a path to leadership. In a recent article by Bernie Swain, Successful Leaders know what made them who they are, many well-known leaders all describe defining moments in their lives.

Understanding our life story is crucial to having good self-awareness and being authentic. These are two important traits for leaders. In Bill George’s book “Discover your True North”, he writes: “The journey to authentic leadership begins with understanding yourself: your life stories, crucibles and setbacks. This knowledge gives you the self-awareness to discover your True North” (George, 2007).

For me, my defining moment came back in 2005 when I moved to Minnesota from my home town of New Jersey. It was a challenging time. I began a completely new chapter in my life in an unfamiliar location and without the comfort of family near by.  It was a humbling experience, but I now can recognize that it was a growth phase and a defining moment.

What I learned back in 2005 was that if you put in the work, have faith, and surround yourself with the right people, great things will happen. To this day I surround myself with people who posses core values that align with mine and have qualities that I admire. Another way of putting it, I hang out with people who I want to be like.

I will always have that experience took look back and draw strength. It is what fuels me as a leader and gives me the motivation to grow and develop others.

Going through a challenging time is not required though to develop as a leader. Some had an event or person that helped set them on a course of leadership.

How has your life story shaped your leadership? Do you have a defining moment?

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