Let's get down to business. How do you define a leader? Who are some leaders in your life? Would you consider yourself being a leader or having leadership qualities? All of our own interpretations of who a leader is and what a leader does is defined differently by each person. I define a leader as someone who is pioneering the growth, change, or development of a certain variable, whether that be a team, a company, a product/service, a club/organization, etc. To me, a leader doesn't have to be a CEO. Leaders are everywhere: children working their first lemonade stand, women leading group projects in class (while others slack and take credit), women leading a department in both the good times and the bad times, or the grandmother bringing everyone together for pozole. Anyone has the capability to be a leader because every individual is a leader of their own brand (a whole diff. topic, which I will def expand on in the future).
I've been surrounded by inspiring, strong Latina women since I was born,
beginning with my mom, grandma, aunts, and teachers/professors. I grew up with a large family of very strong, independent, and hard working women. From when I was a little girl my mom emphasized the importance of being a high achieving student. That type of encouragement was my motivation. I learned the concept of self-motivation at an early age. I learned to achieve things for the sake of challenging myself, overcoming an obstacle, and growing my skills. I think self-motivation is a key quality in leadership. Self-motivation is the main driver for persistence and resilience. If something doesn't turn out as you planned, then a successful leader can take a step back, admit fault, and try a different strategy. Motivation can be hard to find sometimes (especially when starting a diet or forcing yourself to workout #guilty). However, it's something we need in all aspect of our lives - from the office, to the scale, to overcoming a difficult time. A leader finds motivation in herself, she'll reflect on her past accomplishments and achievements (big or small, they ALL count). If you need help finding motivation, think of those moments when you led that group project in class while others slacked off and put their name on the paper. Think of a time when you volunteered to work the overtime shift when no one else would. Think of the times when you arrived early and left later than what was required. You are in charge of your own leadership development. Leadership isn't for everyone and not everyone wants to become a leader. You choose to be a leader, and that begins with self-motivation.
It truly is a blessing to live during this time period when more women are taking on leadership roles and encouraging younger girls to do the same. It's crazy to think this wasn't happening 100 years ago. Women probably weren't encouraged to lean in at board meetings in front of a panel of men. Women probably weren't given the confidence to know that they can do something with their lives nor given any resources to discuss growth and development with other women. This may seem like another blog post in a very saturated online market, but it's really an amazing opportunity to voice my journey and inspire others, a concept that wouldn't have existed years and years ago. Did my mom ever have the ability to talk about leadership development when she was 23 to an online audience in her own creative space? Probably not. I'm pretty sure texting wasn't even a thing back then, just to give you perspective. I'm using my mom as an example to explain the significance of online platforms- it's luxurious, fun, and expressive.
One day I decided this was my girl boss moment, I am going to own this hobby, and this will be my creative space. I encourage you to take on a project that will bring out your creative side, prompt you to ask questions, or help you find answers. For the sake of this being a blog post and not an essay, I'll end with some inspo and tips I think can help benefit you in achieving leadership success.
- You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -Gandhi
- Don't do the bare minimum if you want to grow or achieve something more.
- Wow people from time to time by going above and beyond your role.
- Don't have the mindset of only looking out for yourself. True leaders aren't greedy or self-absorbed. True leaders want to also help others become leaders.
- I recommend 3 books for self-motivation and leadership development: #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso (fun, easy read), HBR's 10 Must Reads on Leadership by Peter Drucker (If you are into business talk this is a must!), Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (a classic). Literally all three are hall-of-fame reads for millennial business women + you can buy them on amazon.
- Leaders are listeners. Listen and observe as much as you can.
Thank you for reading my blog! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.