It’s guest post Monday! This post is written by Vincent Nguyen who writes about self improvement at Self Stairway. You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook. If you would like to have a post featured on my site then click here.
I was a follower, once upon a time. No shame in that. I’m not afraid to admit it.
I used to just do whatever the old group would do without any questions asked. There was nothing I could offer them because I was a lowly peasant in the eyes of these great kings.
So I stayed in the background for years.
I watched with admiration as these great leaders in my life won everyone else over. Oh, how young me wished he could follow in their footsteps.
I was quite content as the follower for a few years so it wasn’t an issue for a while. Then one day I thought to myself, “Why am I not a leader too?” So I became one.
The transition from invisible shadow to influential leader figure didn’t happen in the course of one day, month, or even year. It happened gradually and through many years of finding myself, losing myself, then once again finding. It was a painful journey, but I’ve gone out on the other side a million times stronger than Past-Vincent.
Looking back on Past-Vincent I can see how much I’ve grown and it just makes me incredibly excited for Future-Vincent’s arrival. Maybe he’ll be President of the United States. No probably not either; future-Vincent doesn’t like politics. Maybe I’ll be a priest that makes a seven-figure salary from blogging about life.
I find that I am a wonderful leader now and these are the steps I had to take to become Present-Vincent.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone
There were so many things I was deathly afraid of. Other than “Bloody Mary,” the dark, and wetting my bed, there were things that were very much real in the fact that I had to face them everyday.
I didn’t have very many friends after I switched elementary schools and so lunchtime and breaks were miserable. Every day I wasn’t sure where I would hang out or who I’d be with because it was like I wasn’t even there to them.
Then one day I figured it out. I had to step outside of my comfort zone and strike up conversation with the people who seem like strangers.
I think my first closest friend since moving schools hated me before we met. Oh well.
I mustered up the courage to talk to him about the cartoons I watched, the games I played, and the sports I was terrible at. For the first time in years I conversed with someone while having the intent of spending time with him during my free time.
The feeling was overwhelming and the results equally as much. Many years later and we still keep in touch even while I’m almost 400 miles away, all because I stepped out of my comfort zone.
This taught me a few things about leadership:
1) Sometimes the things we want require our initiative
2) Leaders often do things they don’t want to do, but they do it anyway
3) Action leads to results
A leader needs to step out of his comfort zone and expand it if he wants to be in control of his life.
Learning from my real-life mentors
Although I may be able to count on one hand the amount of leaders in my life, the ones I can count are outstanding.
They all had characteristics worthy of me consciously noting down, so I did. I broke down what made others gravitate towards their authority.
I’ve befriended all of them and emotionally invested in them as they did with me and I learned their secrets. I applied most, if not all of what I’ve noted down and rose up in the ranks as a great leader. Confidence, body language, and even usage of certain words, all things I’ve never thought of before. I absorbed all of this and became a leader myself now with others looking to me for guidance because I emit this aura.
Now I try my best to be a teacher to others as well. A lot of times I’m the teacher to the people who previously were my teachers. It’s an amazing relationship when two people can feed off of each other. This is what makes a great leader, one who isn’t afraid to learn and imitate those greater.
Questions: So what is stopping you from becoming a leader? What boundaries of comfort are you still not willing to cross? Are you willing to seek out the leaders in your life and learn from them?