1. Build Yourself Up
  2. Know Thyself
  3. Grow Together

Leadership is a process, a philosophy that you learn through reading, listening and living. To pinpoint an exact moment when leadership presents itself is rather difficult. That’s because leadership is first rooted within you as the individual. A real leader puts others first before themselves. Leaders do not back down from adversity. They remain calm and confident when facing confrontation, and they know how to win and they know how to lose.

Firstly, leadership is a mental game where you need to “build yourself up.”

The challenge or problem is that we are bombarded with 360 degrees of negativity. Negativity can come from several sources: family, friends, work, the media and even daily interactions with people. It’s a daunting problem that every leader must face. But there’s no magic wand to encourage negativity to disappear, and that is why you need to build yourself up.

Building yourself up is an ongoing process. You need to constantly reinforce your mind and heart with positivity, which may be harnessed through The Bible, Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich, and Tony Robbins’ podcasts. Negativity such as: fear, anger, and guilt are emotions that ferment within you first. The bottom line is that you are the root of your own problem. It’s up to you to remain even keeled and balanced.

Once you build yourself up, the second phase to leadership is to “know thyself.”

At one point in my life, I started questioning everything I had done, where I was in life and even the meaning of life. Again, leadership is a process. How can you ever lead others if you can’t even lead yourself? That’s why you need to constantly read books on positivity, listen to positive podcasts and surround yourself positive people. However, it is difficult to do so; life gets in the way and you feel as if you are barely surviving. At some point, you feel as if 99.9% of your day, your week and even your year is filled with negativity.

I went through years of self-imposed depression.

I thought leadership meant to blame myself for life going awry. I believed that leaders achieve goals and losers did not. I found it difficult to snap out of the depression and that’s because negativity multiplies faster than positivity. That’s why building yourself up is the foundation to leadership. You need to build character and let go of the old you — to realize that the new you is smarter, better and faster than ever before. By knowing who you are as a person, you gain the knowledge, wisdom and maturity to succeed as a leader.

The third phase to leadership is to “grow together.”

Once you build yourself up and know who you are, you can actually start to become a real leader. You need to have a big vision and a big dream. You need to be willing to take risks and learn that you’re not alone. People will naturally join you and your organization when you clearly define where you are going.

To build a big vision or a big idea, you need others to help you. You can’t do it alone. You need to form a mastermind team that is aligned with your values and personality. It’s important to figure out what motivates your teammates. Are they motivated by fame, money or their family? Then you need to harness their motivation and use their energy to build your dream together.

As the leader, you are the boss and you are in charge of your organization’s success. You need to be willing to take risks and constantly improve. You need to learn the qualities that makes each individual in your team special.

Remember that you are not there to boss people around. Most so-called leaders jawbone their ideas through so they can get their way. Your team can see right through that; they know that you’re on a superficial power trip.

Leaders know their own capabilities and limitations. They also recognize these qualities in their team. You need to point out their self-imposed limitations and believe that they can push through them. But sometimes, they doubt themselves or get sidetracked and distracted. You need to corral them and be patient with them. They might not realize that they are doing it, but as the leader, you realize it before they do. That’s why leaders see every interaction with their team as a touch point to grow together.

Edited by: Chris M.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” — Marcus Aurelius