How to Lead From Where You Are

Young man sitting at a table facing another man whose back is to the camera.

A lot of us have been told to dream big and to reach for the stars, amazing platitudes that help us shift our thinking to something bigger than ourselves. But how do you really take ownership of where you are right now and actually reach the stars? How do you use your power not only to get to the next level, but to help those around you get to their next levels and their big dreams?

A lot of people write about leadership in far-flung, high-falutin, big-paycheck kinds of ways. But when you’re just starting out, it’s hard to see yourself as a leader, especially when there are many people above and beyond you. However, if you can change your mindset to a leadership one, you will amaze yourself at how quickly you grow and achieve those dreams.

So what is the leader’s mindset and how do you develop it?

The Leader’s Mindset
The leader’s mindset is a mindset of change, specifically the ability to get other people to create change. If you know that where you are right now is not where you want to be for the rest of your life, or even for the next six months, then you know that you’re going to have to go through a lot of changes to get to where you want to be. As you take steps in the direction of where you want to be, however, you quickly realize that you can only go a certain distance before you need help.

And this is natural. As humans, we are creatures of community because communities create changes that last longer than what any single human can do on their own. The leader’s mindset allows you to engage a group of people in the work of change because you realize that you can’t do it all by yourself. The leader’s mindset harnesses people’s ability to create change to actually create change.

So how do you take the lead from where you are, especially if you are reporting to someone else, or lacking in a specific skillset, or just starting out with a dollar and a dream?

First, of all understand who you are.
Understand that you are full of infinite potential right now, right where you are. You may be looking around your environment and be seeing things that don’t reflect that potential, but those are temporary things. Your potential, however, is infinite, and it expands with the people you meet.

Understand that you are full of flaws, as well. You can’t do everything well, and there are things that you can’t do at all. Know those things. Name them. Be clear about them so you can find people who can actually do them to help you out.

Finally, understand where you want to be. What exactly is the change that you want to see in yourself? Do you want to become a better public speaker? A better writer? An owner of a business? An owner of a bigger business? Do you just want to get your job done right? Understand what you’re working towards so that the people you come along can get in on the vision and excited about helping you out.

Be Ready to Be Wrong
There is a hidden misconception that leaders need to know everything all the time and nothing could be further from the truth. As a leader, you need to embrace being wrong about things so that you can have a deep knowledge of when you’re right about things. That means that you have to keep trying different things, different methods, different questions, different tools, until you find the ones that solve the problems you’re trying to solve in the best way.

The truth is you’re going to be wrong a lot of times on your leadership journey, so the sooner you accept this, the sooner you can get on with the work of creating change. When you allow yourself to be wrong, to fail, you create more opportunities for learning not just within yourself but in the community of people that you are working with.

Ask for Help
As you encounter wins and losses, you will quickly realize where you need help. As a leader, asking for help is a two fold strategy. First, it gets you to where you’re going quicker. Instead of staying stuck in one problem for hours, days, months on end, you take the shortcut by asking for help. The sooner you ask for help, the sooner you get help; the sooner you get help, the sooner you can move forward on your journey.

Second, you get more people in on your vision. Asking for help gives people opportunities not just to learn with you, but also to improve their leadership capacity with you. And those people become great team members as you move through your mission.

Help Other People
As you’re asking for help, you also need to be investing in people. No investment in any human is too small, so start where you are, with what you’ve got and it will come back to you with interest. People are the ones who create change, we’re the ones who power the systems, institutions, businesses, and governments of this world. So, if you’re trying to get something done for yourself, the quickest way to get their is with people. And the quickest way to get people in on your journey is to invest in their journeys as well.

It feels really really good to help other people, so don’t get discouraged if you feel like you don’t have enough to give. There is always enough to give and when you give out of a state of abundance you will receive in a state of abundance. Trust me. I don’t make the rules; this is a universal law!

Check in With Yourself
As you step into this leadership journey, your most important asset is your existence, so make sure you’re aware of how you’re doing on a regular basis. Schedule daily meetings with yourself to take inventory of your mental and physical health, your emotions and your goals.

The first person you must show up for is yourself because if you can’t do that consistently how are you going to do that for the people you’re leading? So don’t be afraid to be selfish with your me time. Make sure you listen deeply to yourself just as you would with anyone on your team, and advocate for your needs, just as you would with anyone on your team.

At Kabuvu, we believe everyone is a leader already and has the potential to become a powerful leader. Leading from where you are, though, requires an understanding of where you actually are. Are you at work? Are you organizing your neighborhood? Are you a business owner? Are you trying to launch your business?

Wherever you are and whatever you have the capacity to do right now are the things that will get you to the next level. And Kabuvu is here to help you. Head over to the tribe and sign up for our mailing list to get access to a community of change makers working to create something amazing right from where they are.

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