I was asked by a colleague, Jill Berquist, to be on her weekly community call and speak to “those in transition” about Inspired Leadership. Now, I’m used to speaking to entrepreneurs—and visionary ones, at that—so I had to take a few moments to consider what I could say to folks who aren’t sure where their feet will land next. They want some sort of direction.
What I wanted them to understand, first and foremost, is that they have it in them to lead. They’ve been around the block a time or two and have amassed a storehouse of knowledge and wisdom. My job was to help them see that there is a natural leadership role waiting for them. I ended up taking them through a series of questions that I believe will help anyone—an established entrepreneur, or you, if you’re not sure yet of your purpose in the world.
But first, we need to define “leader”—which everyone and his mother has done for the last sixty years. But here’s my definition—and note the four distinct parts: A leader 1) has something to say 2) that is unique, 3) relevant—and has 4) direction for people, a clear sense of the destination that would be most helpful for them.
An inspired leader has something to say that inspires others to a destination that has them aspire to something greater.
If that seems daunting–and I thought perhaps it would seem so to the audience on this call–it isn’t at all and I wanted them to know that immediately. So I told them that the fact is, all of us have opinions about what is most helpful for others. We all have a “destination” we believe is most helpful for others to get to. It’s just a fact. Even those of us who believe in “live and let live” and don’t like to put forward opinions…have an opinion about that, and probably believe that philosophy is a very helpful destination for everyone!
So, I had the attendees look at the idea of leadership and purpose with the following questions. Are you ready to take yourself through them?
- What area of life do you feel you have an opinion about? You have knowledge and wisdom because of some experience in it? The 6 areas of life are:
- Romantic relationships
- Health and wellness
- Mental/Spiritual Potential
- Now, in just 1 sentence: What is the most amazing or critical thing you learned about that area when you were going through your experience of it?
- What was the pain you had PRIOR to that realization?
What feelings did you have that hurt?
- How did you get out of that pain?
- Imagine having about twelve people with the same pain in a room with you. Answer this in one very succinct sentence: What opinion would you offer them about how to alleviate the pain? (One sentence.)
- If you could alleviate this pain for thousands, would this satisfy you profoundly?
- If not, what is missing?
- If “yes,”—What would you encourage them to aspire to? What “destination” (intangible, perhaps) would you inspire them to reach for?
- What vision comes to mind for the way that you would lead them there?
Of course, as I said, as a leader, you will have something unique to say (and relevant.) We’ve covered the “relevant” piece in these questions. Now, the final question—the BIG one—is what could you say to them that is provocative and fresh…new to the ears?
Good weekend thinking, don’t you think?
(BTW, that’s the work I do. You may always email me to find out more!)