Personal Leadership

 First and Foremost, Personal Leadership

Personal leadership is taking personal responsibility for one’s fate, course of life and consciousness.

Many people believe that there is some external force, arranging their lives for them. However, this belief – in destiny or in an external power that will come and save a person – is blocking them. It does not allow  them to act to advance themselves and their goals. They must know: salvation will always come from man himself – to himself.

Martin Luther King, leader of the African-American civil rights movement  said:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” (from his speech “What is your life’s blueprint?” for Barratt junior high school students in Philadelphia, 1967.)

One of the main ideas of the Age of Enlightenment, which developed in Europe in the 18th century, is that every person is responsible for shaping their fate, and the same goes for the nations of the world. This is a rational attitude towards life, which places full responsibility on man for his fate and life. And indeed, the keys to our lives are in our hands and not in the hands of others, the hands of God,  the hands of fate or any other external force, real or imagined. Even people who experienced the most difficult situations imaginable, like in the holocaust, testify that even in those horrifying times, they still had the free will to choose how to deal with the terrible and impossible events they experienced.

Venus Williams, the former world No. 1 American tennis player, said in one of her speeches:

“I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.”

Some people live in constant passivity. They allow life to drag them on while they only react to other people’s actions or to circumstances  forced upon them. They gave up their free will from the get-go. Other people sense that they are victims of life’s circumstances, and they will feel frustration their whole lives,which will affect their physical and mental health. Their passivity will weigh on them and their surroundings as well, and they will remain stuck and frozen in their life situation and won’t initiate change or take steps to improve their reality. Passivity keeps a person stuck, and in fact pulls them backward.

How does personal leadership manifest in our lives?

* Personal leadership is, first of all, setting goals. We will set for ourselves personal, professional and social (“lighthouse”) goals and destinations, and imagine ourselves as far out and as wild as possible. Because every action begins with a dream.

* Personal leadership means that we are the ones who determine our daily routine:

We recognize emotional and other types of manipulations that certain people place on us, and do not let anyone manage us, either directly or indirectly.

The writer Charlotte Bronte writes in her book “Jane Eyre:” “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.”

And yet Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the great Renaissance artists, said: “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

* Personal leadership allows us to navigate life through the entanglement of personal agendas, emotions and people, which include also complicated and unclear situations. It means taking responsibility for our connection and relationships with others, and also for the decision to lead and not be led.

* Personal leadership means that we will never be in the position of the victim. We will live a moral life that will include receiving and giving, and this giving and abundance will come back to us, because life has an internal truth of balance.

* Personal leadership demands that we try and understand the other, listen to them and know that we are thinking solely from our own (subjective) point of view. And we will always remember, that humanity will never be selective. It will  affect everyone.

* Personal leadership means that we will never need to use physical or verbal violence. We will know that we are part of the universe, part of the cosmic circle of life, and that the laws of nature apply to us. Our days are numbered, and so we must live life to the fullest and with the highest intensity.

* Personal leadership gives us the option of seeing beyond momentary distress. Thanks to it, we understand that failures and disappointments are a necessary part of the road to growth and improvement in all areas.

* Personal leadership is the realization that all solutions lay within us and that we do not need others in order to find the recipe for happiness. We must take responsibility for our happiness and for recharging our emotional batteries and we must identify the tools and methods we will use to do this.

* Personal leadership is setting our own goals and heights, and not those that were set by social orders and norms. We must realize our own uniqueness and not be afraid to be extraordinary.

* Personal leadership determines that we must place boundaries for ourselves and for others and be assertive with others about our needs and desires.

* Personal leadership releases us from fears and anxieties that are holding us back and allows us to observe life from a perspective of fullness rather than of lack. Thanks to it, we will be grateful for and appreciative of the gifts of life and give up suffering.

* Personal leadership is taking responsibility for our joy and conduct in life, and most importantly – it is the realization that almost everything is up to us, our consciousness, our persistence and willpower.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of The United States, embodied the definition of personal leadership throughout his lifetime. Lincoln was born in a rural and poor area to a family of modest means and studied in school for just one year. At age nine, he lost his mother, and since then he began assisting his father with all his laborious farm work, which toughened his personality. He excelled at having a thirst for knowledge and education, studied on his own and became a lawyer. Lincoln experienced many losses on his political journey and even suffered from depression, however, the great difficulties in his life strengthened his spirit. He was excellent in his reasonable and rational approach and was known for his calmness and love for mankind. His nickname “honest Abe,”  expresses the admiration he received from the people of his time. Lincoln is considered to be one of the figures who had the greatest influences on the history of The United States. He strengthened the Union of The United States and prevented it from splitting following the Civil War, and he is responsible for abolishing slavery.

Barack Obama, the first black president of The United States, said: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” (From a speech he delivered on February 2nd, 2008, to his supporters, as provided by the Federal News Service and quoted in the New York Times).

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James Dean, the American film actor who became a cultural icon, said: “I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

I wish for you all, to always adjust your sails in your desired direction, so you may reach the destination you chose.

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