As I prepare to guest teach the Advanced Leadership class at my alma mater, my mind takes me down memory lane opining on the leaders that have provided inspiration.
Who do you think of as pivotal leaders from your past or present? What qualities do these leaders have? Why do they stand out to you?
There are countless leaders that have inspired me from the past and present.
The leaders that come to the forefront are those that know how to motivate others to be their best, they lead by example, and are keenly astute in their personal awareness and honest about their daily challenges. The three leaders below stand out because their lessons are a part of why I am passionate about inspiring others to make the most out of each day and guiding them to their highest potential.
1. My great-grandfather Cecil Stowers. His passion for educating children left the legacy of the Cecil B. Stowers Elementary School in Anaheim, CA. I was blessed to have spent summers under his guidance through high school.
He taught me to respect everyone. Walking by his side I witnessed him thanking every person he encountered at each establishment. Each person as important as the last; none labeled as less than or more integral than another. I saw his gratitude towards teamwork as he discussed how each person is necessary on a team.
He took me to the library. I cherished our quiet time at the library where we read together. What made it special was that he never told me I had to read, we just did. He truly led by example.
He gave me the gift of confidence. I believed in myself because he believed in me and asked me about my dreams and passions. He demonstrated this with effective listening. He was fully present, asked me sincere questions, and asked how he can support me to achieve my goals.
As he was giving out awards, he spoke of a natural leader who inspired and lifted each of the team members up. I thought to myself, I want to be that person. As he called my name, I was in shock, yet felt responsible to continue being that person he described. From that day forward, I have been passionate about lifting others up to see their best qualities as he saw something I did not see in myself. I felt the value of being appreciated.
His class and book were the start to the realization that professionally I wanted to inspire teams. I recall sitting in class dreaming that someday maybe I could have my words in a book and stand before a group; inspiring others. His passion for leading by example inspired me to be my best.
Stepping into a new role, it is important for me to take a moment and honor those in my life that placed a piece of themselves into my heart. My emotions are fluctuating from feeling “I got this” to “am I good enough” to share with these impressionable students?
I am humbled by the opportunity to teach and share from personal experiences how I choose to lead from the heart and aspire to build a cultural legacy on the greatest renewable resource of all: love. And focus on the wise words of Maya Angelou, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
How can you lead from your heart in your day-to-day to inspire those in your path?
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