embrace who I am.
I don’t have to be ashamed that I am wired differently from more stereotypical leaders. I am unique and bring talents, skills, and perspectives to the table that are valuable and worthy of consideration. I cheapen my value to myself and to others when I pretend to be someone else.
While my energy may come from within, my sense of purpose as a leader is built upon equipping others to be successful. I will draw others out by asking insightful questions and really listening to their responses, helping them draw connections and conclusions that spur their personal and professional growth.
I will prioritize “pre-thinking,” so that I can speak early in a meeting about a planned topic. I will give myself permission to talk before my thoughts are fully formulated. I will not assume that others who talk more than I do know more than I do and will professionally insert my own thoughts and questions into the dialogue. I will not wait for others to create a “safe space”; neither will I wait to be invited to speak.
In professional settings, I will wear splashes of bright color that will help me stand out in the sea of gray, navy, and black. I will arrive early, sit in front, and smile and make eye contact with others. I will be the first to reach out to newcomers and others standing by themselves.
Whether I am by myself or in a crowd of people, I will periodically close my eyes and take deep, cleaning breaths to re-center my thoughts and renew my energy for the task at hand. Better yet, I will take a walk, allowing my thoughts to wander and my mind to recharge.
I will strategically and with intention sing, dance, belly-laugh, yell, or pound my fists to make people reassess their perceptions of me. I will passionately express my thoughts when I speak in front of groups, small or large, and will show my vulnerability by being able to laugh at myself.
I will surround myself with diversity so that I can understand different perspectives and make better decisions. I will celebrate failures, seeing in them an opportunity to learn, and will surround myself with people who challenge me by being better than I am in areas and who will provide me with authentic feedback. I will intentionally expose myself to new ideas.