How Becoming a Leader Affected my Self-Confidence

It’s guest post Monday! This post is written by Onder Hassan who is passionate about building Self Confidence and has since started Dawn of Change to help inspire others do the same. His FREE YOU 2.0 course provides a simple strategy to overcoming fear and creating direction in your life. You can connect with him on Twitter and Google+.

Being a leader was perhaps one of the most difficult decisions I ever made in my life. I was scared and unprepared. I’m not afraid to admit it.

Before making that decision, I would try and comfort myself in the blanket of my parents, the government, school, corporations and other means of security laid out before me and for all of us who decide to take the conventional route.

For years I would do this, until I realized that something was missing.

I seemed unfulfilled and felt there was untapped potential that my current lifestyle was robbing from me.

They say change happens the moment we begin to realize where we are in life, and through either pain or regret, force us to take action. And I really believe in it.

But little did I know what was ahead of me once I had decided to take an alternative route.

The problem with leadership is that it takes great courage and blind faith to walk, with no guarantees of whether you’ll succeed or fail.

Because of this, I was terrified and my self-confidence had taken a massive plunge.

“Who am I to lead?” I thought, having no experience or even the wisdom to guide anyone let alone myself at the time.

Even people around me start to doubt me and discourage me from doing what I had planned for myself.

But over time, something began to happen.

Fear transformed to courage

Being a leader in my own life had taught me a lot of lessons, which also gave me wisdom in understanding the true facts of life.

All of us have to lead our own lives independent of everyone else. It’s required because it allows to not only discover who you are as an individual but to increase your sense of power and worth to the world in order to face it with complete conviction.

I knew instantly that walking the path had given me the courage, not because I had it from the start, but because I was willing to face my fears directly and be willing to fail.

There really is no easy way around it.

To sum up why leadership is required and what it taught me, it’s essentially three things:

1)      It teaches you humility and the strength to face adversity.
2)     It helps you discover who you really are.
3)     It allows you to discover your true calling.

We need to step out of the box and from the confines of conventional society in order to discover who we are.

Great people are rarely ever born by following conventions.

No one wants to live a life of mediocrity, but aren’t willing to pay the price.

Understanding this will help give you the courage and motivation to get started.

Questions: What has leadership taught you? How has courage helped your leadership?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Thanks for sharing your story Omar about going from fear to courage, and become the leader you’re capable of.

    Leaders welcome failure in their lives because when we’re failing, we are learning! And many leaders treat failures as life and business lessons. The more we fail and the quicker we do it, the nearer success will be to us.

    Courage has helped me in leadership to take actions that were not popular at the time. It was facing detractors and negative personalities and forging ahead with the group’s decisions.

    • Thanks Vishnu,
      You’re absolutely right. Failing is a part of any leader’s life and is what’s required to become the strong person you have to be to lead a successful life.

      That’s why courage is valued so highly because it requires the ability to face your fears.

      Life requires you stay courageous. If you live in fear, you’re not really living life the way you should be living :)

  • Micky Diaz

    Great post Onder! All of us can relate to how fear can spur us into courage. Thanks for sharing my friend!…:-)

    • No problem Micky,
      Glad you liked the post. Hope it helps you take action :)

  • The three points you mention at the end of the post explain how I feel about writing. It’s interesting: great leaders need to have good writing skills. But sometimes great writers find that they have influenced masses without being a traditional leader.

    • You make a great point Dan,
      It’s something i’m trying to embrace at the moment in that great leaders don’t try to lead verbally, but through the actions they take.
      They lead by example and are positive role models. A quality that would be awesome to have and develop.

  • You make a great point about first learning to lead yourself. This is essential because in doing so, you become more self confident in your ability to lead others. As I learned to lead myself, my courage to lead others grew. I don’t focus on changing others because only they can do that for themselves. Instead, I focus on setting a good example. That is what I find most important and effective in leadership.

    • Absolutely Kari,
      Dan brushed on this as well, which you’ve expanded. The best way to lead is by first living a great life and a life that inspires others to do the same.
      Some of the greatest leaders in the world didn’t have a goal to dictate. They simply had a vision and a higher purpose that was far greater than themselves that motivated them to keep going, which once achieved lead to others following in their footsteps.
      Definitely a lesson all of us can learn from.

      • That’s so true about great leaders. Abraham Lincoln is probably one of the best examples of this. I’m sure there are modern examples, but his is certainly one of the most iconic. And, of course, the best example of this is Jesus.

  • Excellent post Onder. I believe the statement you made ‘The problem with
    leadership is that it takes great courage and blind faith to walk, with
    no guarantees of whether you’ll succeed or fail’ is the reason we fail at some leadership aspects. There is no guarantee that you will succeed when you step out and lead. I have bogged myself down worrying about succeeding or failing. Now I am learning to move forward even in the face of fear and lead anyway. If I fail, I recalibrate and try again.

    • I think something that helps us move into and be successful within a leadership position is being prepared and ready before hand. To start leading and growing our self’s before we start to lead others. Though still no amount of practice or preparation can fully determine if we will be successful or not. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

    • Thanks Bernard, I really appreciate it :)

      And I completely agree with what you said. Making mistakes isn’t a bad thing and often leads to even bigger success. I interviewed a famous author about that very topic not long ago :)

  • Great post Onder. Leadership has taught me that life is bigger than me. No one ever became great by looking out for themselves or being self-absorbed. I like what you say about mediocrity and paying a price. i think that’s what separates people that actually do great things and those that merely think about it..that ability to walk out in faith, to risk and stretch makes all the difference

    • Great thoughts Ngina. Great and successful leaders know the importance of making it about their team and not themselves. They put others above themselves. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

    • Appreciate your thoughts Ngina.
      I suppose that’s why they often mention it in biblical scriptures about how faith is so powerful.

      Faith is what gives you the strength to persevere despite the pains you’ll be experiencing along the way. But it’s always worth it in the end. :)

  • Great post, Onder. I was immediately intrigued by the title. Leadership (in the form of blogging) all but destroyed my self-confidence, but God has been using it to teach me some lessons He wanted me to learn. I love the conclusions you came to and hearing about the journey that brought you there. I could relate! I have been learning how to persevere when the work is difficult, how to not to worry about what other people think, and how to focus more on loving and serving others rather than on being loved by others. I love what you said at the end: Great people are rarely ever born by following conventions. It’s been scary for me to not follow conventions, but it’s also been an incredible growing experience.

    • Thanks Barb!
      I can relate to you completely, and am in fact going through the same thing myself having been out of work for almost a year.
      I haven’t had much luck in the work environment, which was what eventually lead me onto starting my blog and taking a different path.
      I have to say, it’s very scary because I have nothing else to fall back on besides my faith and hard work to make something happen.

      When I put that alongside the fact that I have a bank account that’s rapidly diminishing, it adds to the pressure. But it’s all for the best.
      I know things will work out in time.

      • Wow, Onder. This sounds like one of those “opportunities” you’ll look back on and be grateful for at some point – but maybe not quite yet! I respect your perseverance and drive and willingness to work and to be uncomfortable. It’s inspiring!

  • Well said. Interestingly, fear can pave the way to lead and probably does in more cases than not I suspect. I agree that it can be a habit learned over time. All of us have had to face fears our entire lives. It’s when we get older and decide that we don’t have to be or want to be uncomfortable that fear wins the battle. Being uncomfortable and losing sometimes is part of the consequences of being a leader… but with the game on the line and a few seconds on the clock, do you look to pass or shoot?

    • Thanks Floyd.
      What’s often beautiful about it is that it gets easier over time as your experience of hardship increases and your self-confidence improves.
      That’s why I often value people in hardship a lot more than people who had it easy. It’s something I was never able to understand until now.

  • Wow! What a story. You hit the nail on the head Onder and then you kept hitting it until you drove your message home. When you can take that fear and make something positive out of it, that is when the magic happens because we are all afraid at some point but its the people like you that keep pressing forward and turning fear into something more.

    • Exactly Lincoln,

      Perception is really important and can affect your success. Took me a while to change my mindset from negative to positive, but once I did, things started to change.

  • DS

    Leadership has taught me that it’s not about me.

    When we discuss stepping out of the box, or for that matter paying the price, what are we saying? Is it being a non-conformist? Is it being an entrepreneur? Or is it a matter of following what is bouncing around in our heart that we know we should be doing, but aren’t yet?

    • I think, being a leader is someone who leads a life that’s in line with who he/she is.

      This can change over time as we get older and more mature. But ultimately, its all focused on us and not in our ability to directly influence others. It’s all indirect and a result of how you live your life.
      Many Olympic athletes and successful people are leaders, without wanting to be. It’s due to their excellence that has gained them a large following.

      • DS

        In the past I’ve kind of looked at it as default leadership. Sometimes an organization needs a person to step up as a leader, and no one does, which creates the opportunity for anyone to do it. Great point about the fact that it’s not always a deliberate effort to be a leader, it can be a by-product of what you do. You simply become a leader.

    • I agree with you, David, leadership isn’t about me at all! I learn that more and more with each passing day.

  • Leadership has shed light on strengths and weaknesses and is one of the most important things I do and ever will do. Great post!

  • Adversity helps shape us and helps us learn who we are, it also helps others know who we are and that we can be trusted to handle tough situations (or not handle them in some cases).

    All leaders will face adversity, some rise above the challenges and some fold. The key is to keep moving forward no matter how you feel.