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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