Don’t assume that everyone is going to follow you just because you have a leadership title

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There are many challenges that come with leading others, especially if you don’t know your authentic self. Without that knowledge, you may find yourself struggling to overcome challenges, achieve goals and get results. It also makes it quite difficult to find work:life harmony.

I believe that it’s important to know yourself in order to be an effective leader. Without that deep connection to your true and authentic self you end up running the risk of feeling like you need to put on a persona or act a certain way. 

You start to feel like you need to be someone you’re not in order to be successful. It can also be extremely detrimental to staying connected to your core values. 

People want to feel like they are being led by someone who has their best interest in mind, not someone who is just trying to “get the job done”. You are much more likely to lead from a place of integrity if you really know who you are. 

You might not even know what your authentic self is, let alone how to act on it. So what does knowing your authentic self really mean anyway? 

I believe we can get closer to finding what this is for ourselves by exploring the Japanese philosophy of ikigai. 

Now, you may be familiar with the Venn diagram that was made popular by Marc Winn but what I have found is that really isn’t what ikigai means from a Japanese cultural context. 

The Venn diagram originally had the word “purpose” at the center and was created by Andreas Zuzunaga. That isn’t at all what I am talking about when I refer to ikigai. 

When you unpack this word and try to find an English definition is quite difficult so let me instead try to give you my interpretation of this word instead. 

Ikigai is made up of two different words; ikiru: to live, and gai: value or worth. When you put the two words together you end up with “what makes life worth living”.

When you look at the Venn diagram, it can seem quite different from that interpretation and tends to direct you to looking for a big goal or life ambition. And, although that is important, that is not what ikigai means in the original Japanese context. 

Discovering you authentic self is about discovering the things that get you out of bed in the morning. They can be as small as looking forward to having your cup of coffee with a book you are reading, or can be much bigger such as looking forward to working with the group that you volunteer with or spending time with a loved one. 

The one thing to note is that ikigai has nothing to do with getting paid for anything. It is more accurate to think about it as a reason for being. 

I believe that when we get in tune with our authentic selves and live from that place, we can be much more comfortable with the outside circumstances that seem uncertain or unclear. 

And when you can find comfort in uncomfortable situations you position yourself to be a much stronger leader and can help others feel more comfortable as well. From this place I believe that you are able to truly look out for what is in other’s best interest. 

However, being in tune with your authentic self is vital to being an effective leader but it is not the only thing you need. In order to effectively lead, you need to know where you are going, the heading you are following when you glance at your compass, your professional pursuit. 

So, if you feel like no one is following you, even though you have a title of leadership, perhaps some self-reflection is in order? Take some time and get to know yourself and learn to lead yourself. People will naturally follow someone who is in tune with their truth.

#ikigai #leadership #leadyourself #authenticself #worklifeharmony

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