Unhinge Your Leadership From Perceived Constraints

This story originally posted on The Lead Change Group Blog:

About the time that Steve Jobs died, I received this message from Erin Schreyer:

~Steve Jobs~ Born out of wedlock ~ Given up for adoption at birth~ ~ Dropped out of college ~ Then changed the world~ What’s your excuse? ~

Instantly inspired I shared it with friends.  

  • Their responses made me think about how often we put limits on ourselves based on our history, the title we have, the mistakes we’ve made, or our present circumstances.
  • They also highlighted the need that each of us has to be reminded that we don’t have be a public figure to make a difference.   

So here’s your reminder:

Seemingly ordinary people in ordinary positions are impacting our world right now.

And YOU can be one of them!

P1020955Meet Madeline:  A tiny great-grandmother with a love for people and a gift for encouragement.  For years, she was a stay-at home mom and a full-time care-giver for her own mother.   During all of that time her deepest desire was to do more for her Heavenly Father and for the people in her community. 

Shortly after her mother passed away, her husband lost his short-term memory and needed much more of her time and focus.  Once again limiting her ability to do something for others outside of her home.

Madeline had options:

  1. She could have acted like a victim and been bitter or angry.
  2. And she could have given up on her dream.

Instead she willingly and patiently chose to be there for the love of her life and found a way to do something for others from home.  During the months that followed, she made it her personal mission to call every family in our church, to tell them she loved them, that she was praying for them and to ask if there was anything specific she could pray for.

Many months later her beloved husband passed away and as she began the grieving process, she quickly realized that there were many women were walking a similar path.  Within two weeks she began inviting those women and their friends to a monthly event that is intentionally filled with fun, fellowship and inspiration.

Several years have passed since her Care & Share Group began and as each year passes the group grows.  Today Madeline is 89 and although she has had some of her own health struggles she continues to connect with women that are sometimes forgotten and often alone; offering friendship, encouragement and hope.

She would tell you that her contributions have been small and insignificant.  Those of us that know her would tell you that she consistently finds a way to meet needs that are not being met and that she has breathed love and grace into the lives of everyone that knows her.

She reminds me of  a quote from Viktor Frankl, 

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be  repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.

YOUR Leadership does not hinge on:

  • What your history is.
  • What your title is.
  • Where you are.
  • Or how old you are.

Leadership is simply sharing who you are, where you are, in spite of what life hands you.  

Your Turn!  iStock_000009905754XSmallPLEASE SHARE:  …What are you doing unhinge your leadership from perceived limitations? 

Special thanks to Tristan BishopMike HenryErin Schreyer for thoughts that inspired this post and to Madeline Waiser for giving us a vision of what we hope to become.

Image credits: iStock

President, Giana Consulting

Chery believes that:
• Anyone can be a leader.
• Everyone knows something that the rest of us don’t.
• We all need to leave our workplaces, communities, nation and world – better than we found them.

Those beliefs caused her to instigate change from every position she ever had and continually provided opportunities to lead system-wide change from the middle and the edge of organizations.

Her faith and my firm belief that leaders need to walk their talk were the reasons she agreed to move to a part of the world that she once feared. As an expat she embraced daily opportunities to meet and learn from people that represent the nations in our world.

Today Chery is The Founder of Giana Consulting, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

She leverages true leadership stories and expat experiences to inform, inspire and emphasize life skills that cause her clients to be more energized and productive.

THANK YOU for commenting and sharing!

YOU ARE INVITED: To add your comments and to share your professional, personal and faith-based stories. Diverse opinions, compassion, and inspiration are welcome! (I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.)

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