I was having a conversation with an awesome student-leader the other day and he asked me a question out of nowhere.
“What does it mean to be a leader?”
Here is my response:
“A leader is someone who seeks to make a difference.
They seek to improve themselves and those around them.
They seek to help whatever organization or team they are a
part of improve, and doubts, fears, and limits don’t stop them.”
Leadership is not about positions or titles. Leadership does not only come after graduation or when we have been hired in our first job. Leadership is a lifestyle, where you stand up for growth and progress for those you are around. Don’t underestimate your power to make a difference, simply by pursuing your passion.
Below is one of my favorite Ted Talks ever. Take a look, and then below the video are a few strategies you can start leading today!
Start Interacting with Everyone Around You
Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t. So go out and find out what it is! I have learned some incredible things about people and their interests simply by asking questions like “So what’s your story?” or “What do you know?”. I once learned that a Student-Leader I knew was at that time ranked 8th in the world at League of Assassins. I am not a gamer, but wow that was a cool conversation! When you start approaching people, your influence grows. As you reach out and communicate with those you are around you, they feel validated, loved, appreciated, and important. That is one of the greatest things you can do as a leader, and that importance only increases as you move into the workforce and your career.
Start Showing Appreciation
Millennials are more criticized than probably any generation ever. It is widely assumed that no millennial will ever show an ounce of gratitude or care for another. You and I both know that is far from the truth, and you can also use this to your advantage. When you do something that no one expects of you, you break through a limit. You Nix it! That is the most simple of examples of the Nix Your Limits mindset. Start showing appreciation! Say thank you more often. Go up to your Advisor, Teacher, or Coach and say that you appreciate the work that they do, and that though it isn’t communicated most of the time, you are grateful for the opportunity. You will floor people. You will also inspire others to do the same.
Just Get Things Done
The best correction I have ever received is when I didn’t receive any correction at all. That is how powerful an example can be. You can learn from every single person you see, just look at what they do. I have never been more motivated by someone else than when I am hesitant or avoiding a responsibility, and I see a peer just go do it. Be the person that people have no doubt that things get done when you are involved. This doesn’t mean you are popular, this doesn’t mean you get your picture in the paper, but it does mean that everyone around you trusts you, respects you, and is changed by your example for the better.
You can be a leader every single day. In fact, you are. Own it! Rock it! Nix Your Limits and go acknowledge and thank the leaders in your life.