There is a leader inside of you. Yes, you! In spite of any shyness, or feelings of inadequacy at a task as large as leading others, or doubts and questions like, “How can I possibly make a difference in the world?” you can learn to inspire others. And that’s what true leadership is all about.
Too often we think of leaders as people in positions of power: presidents, CEOs, managers, directors, kings. While it’s true that one definition of a leader is someone who is in charge of others, another, purer definition is someone whom people follow. If you can inspire people to follow your lead, you are a leader, whether you are a CEO or senator, or not.
Inspiration comes in many shapes and sizes, and anyone can be a leader. A leader is simply someone who has done the requisite work to get to know themselves, has thoughtfully and consciously formed their core values and beliefs, and is fully committed to those values and willing to stand up for them. Who can you think of who fits that description?
You’re probably thinking of people like Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Jesus, or Mother Teresa, who were all, of course, great leaders who prompted changes that have rippled out through generations. But there are lesser sung leaders, too. Think of a man who organizes his entire neighborhood together to build a community garden, or a little girl who campaigns to convince the school board to donate all leftover cafeteria food to the local homeless shelter. Everyday people can become leaders and effect change in large and small ways, and you can, too.
The first step to finding your inner leader is to find your true self. This requires some self-discovery. You must delve into your soul to fully understand who you are and what you stand for. What is your higher purpose? What are your core values? Why are they important to you? The better you understand your belief system, the easier it will be to ensure that your actions match your words. No one likes a dishonest or hypocritical leader.
Because you are the only person who can define your personal convictions, take some time to get to know yourself! Journal each night before you go to bed and write out all your deepest fears, your greatest joys, your hopes and aspirations. Meditate daily and open your consciousness to your highest self. Meditation not only calms the mind and spirit, but allows us access to our higher selves and the unified field beyond. If you have trouble connecting to your higher self or purpose, there may be blockages in your chakras that need to be dissolved. Healing courses or working with a spiritual teacher can help open the doors to your true self, and clear any obstacles between you and your inner leader.
Once you are attuned to your higher self and purpose, you can begin to inspire others by exhibiting your passion. Suze Orman, financial guru, has said that you can’t inspire others if you’re not inspired yourself. You have to care about your mission deeply. Perhaps you want to effect change on a personal level with a goal like losing weight; or maybe you’ve set your sights on starting a business or running for local office. I gave up practicing law when I realized my passion lay in energy healing, and even after assisting in the transformation of tens of thousands of people over the years, my desire to continue this work has never waned.
Whatever your ultimate purpose, passion is a key ingredient for leadership. How are you going to motivate yourself to exercise each day if you’re not passionate about feeling healthier? How can you expect your townspeople to vote for you if you’re not showing your enthusiasm for the betterment of the city? In order to be a leader who inspires others to action, your actions must inspire them, or yourself as the case may be. Without passion there is no inspiration, and without inspiration there’s no leadership. But if you’ve connected with your authentic self and are truly committed to your goal, your fervor will no doubt get people moving.
Your inner leader must also demonstrate unwavering intention. Did everyone listen to civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Ghandi the first time they spoke out against injustice? No. Leadership takes more than a fleeting impulse—it takes a solid commitment. Ghandi and King both spent time in prison, and were verbally and physically attacked for their convictions, but they did not respond in kind. Instead, they continued to practice their protests with grace and demonstrated forgiveness for their assailants. Hardship is a test of a leader’s dedication, and great leaders like King and Ghandi don’t compromise their values even when things get tough. That’s why thousands of people trusted and followed them. Each man’s commitment to his authentic self and higher purpose could not be derailed, and they inspired thousands of people.
Inspiration brings transformation, and true leaders know that. With a firm foundation in your authentic self and higher purpose, a passionate attitude, and commitment to your beliefs, you can awaken the leader inside you and make significant changes in your life, your household, your community, and beyond.