Simple Truths for Being a Great Leader – That Caring Introverts Are Great At.

Hey, leadership is not just extroverted male territory. Introverts and women make great leaders too. Some people know this but it bears repeating. This is proven by research. Many cultures, especially in the U.S., are still stuck in an outdated stereotype that leaders are extroverted men. Let’s look at the reality.

I’ve collected some of my favorite resources for effective leadership here. They are based on real-life stories and research, and they happen to be entertaining too. In each case, you can see what actually works.

It so happens that caring introverts are naturally great at the things that really work. Don’t worry extroverts, you can be good at leadership too. We need each other.

We all have natural gifts for leadership and we can all develop our talents even further. I hope these stories help.

women leaders collage

In any of the resources here, you’ll gain some inspiration for becoming (or allowing) the kind of caring and effective leader you want to be. These are some of the resources I have shared with my leadership coaching clients. Psst, you don’t have to have a leader title to be a leader.

 

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The Joy and Challenge of Finding Your Purpose

I love this article (below) on the secret to a long and happy life… which, to paraphrase the article, is…. To do what you love, or more specifically what brings a sense of meaning and purpose. It seems like a simple equation: Do what makes you happy in order to be happy.

But somehow this gets all complicated for us, doesn’t it? Worrying what others will think, how to find what you love, how it all fits with making a living, and all that practical stuff.

The article has some good hints and inspiration. They talk about a Japanese philosophy called “ikigai” which loosely translates as sense of purpose, or doing what you love, or following the call of your heart. The article contains some fruitful yet simple questions to ask yourself to help you find your purpose in life. I’ll provide some tips below too.

A helpful excerpt from the article:

It’s not as easy as that sounds, of course. ‘Modern life estranges us more and more from our true nature, making it very easy for us to lead lives lacking in meaning,’ García and Miralles write. ‘Powerful forces and incentives (money, power, attention, success) distract us on a daily basis; don’t let them take over your life.’
Instead, they advise, follow your curiosity and intuition, which are the paths back to ikigai, as is self-awareness. Find the activity you love, surround yourself with people you love, and stay true to that internal compass.
~ David G. Allen, CNN, in “Ikigai, the Japanese path to live longer, happier”

I know what they’re saying is true. But it’s not so simple, is it? “Internal compass,” huh? I’ll explain. That’s one of my favorite topics.

image - happiness

Happiness is not all about rainbows. But in this case, a rainbow did make me happy, and I danced with it. For me, following the happiness that appears is so key. Those moments of trusting and following instincts add up.

“How do I get one of those Internal Compasses?”

From what I’ve seen up close and personal as a coach, most people, in Western cultures, have a very hard time understanding what is their internal compass and how to hear it.  Continue reading

Self-employment Myths and Reality. It’s OK To Be Wobbly.

When the topic of self-employment comes up, I hear two common responses:

  1. “That’s too hard so I won’t even try.” or
  2. “I should be able to get something going within a few months, or else it’s a failure.”

Neither is grounded in reality. There’s such an odd mythology around self-employment, perhaps because people don’t talk about what goes on behind closed doors.

Here’s what I think is true about self-employment, in a nutshell.

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What If You Don’t Know What You Want?

I’m realizing how common it is for people to think there’s something wrong with them if they don’t know what they want, in their work, their business, or their life.

I often hear things like this:

  • “I don’t have a clear goal or vision for my future, so I might be a hopeless case.”
  • “Other people just know what they want, but I’m not one of those people.”
  • “I’m trying to be self-employed but really I need to figure out what I actually like.”

I feel sad when someone thinks she is “a hopeless case.” In reality, lack of clarity on what you want is super common. It’s probably the norm!

But then, what to do?

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What If Your Career Ideas Feel Impossible?

Feeling stuck between staying or going, like the classic cat in the doorway syndrome? It doesn’t have to be so hard.

I hear people all the time stopping themselves from wanting what they want because they think it’s impossible or think it will be too big of a leap for them.

In essence, they are thinking the devil they know is better than the one they don’t know. Think about that. The logic is flawed. It’s just that you don’t know yet.

That idea to stay with the “devil you know” comes from an inner fear voice that wants to stop you from trying anything new. It thinks it is keeping you safe. But it is just keeping you small… and unsatisfied.

Wavering between what you want and what you’re afraid to check out is a place we could stay stuck forever if we don’t take some conscious action.

It’s like that funny thing cats do when they cry to go outside, but when you open the door to let them out, they freeze in the doorway, wondering whether to stay or go. We laugh at them, or even get frustrated at them for not getting going on what they said they wanted. But isn’t it just like us when we stop ourselves from checking out what’s out there?

I know I’ve done that. Yes, no, maybe, but yes, but no…. on and on. It’s classic human stuff, not just cat stuff.

How do we get out of that doorway when the unknown feels so daunting?

I’ll explain what I’ve discovered, and what many others have discovered, about how to move past the doorway, even when it feels scary.

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