This is a Guest Post by Anni Keffer.
If you’re in your twenties or early thirties, here’s a tip: you are hard-wired to be a leader. A recent article in Forbes crystallized your generation’s mindset as one that craves freedom, seeks service, and backs causes: “[It’s] a world view that focuses more on individual expression and a sense of disruption rather than following rules defined by preceding generations.”
This kind of mindset can change the world, and it’s the perfect soil in which to plant and build the leadership skills you need to be a difference-maker. But media, culture and society have cultivated leadership lies that are stopping you from being the leader you were born to be. You may not realize how these myths hold you back or prevent you from making a difference. But you have the ability to change all of that — and start your leadership journey right now.
How? Three simple strategies, all based on one acronym: W.H.Y.:
Strategy 1: W. We — Versus Me
Old-world leadership is often Me-centered. W.H.Y. leadership is WE-centered. True leadership is about serving others through your purpose, and helping them get to where they want to go. As you help others achieve their dreams, you achieve yourdreams. The late, great Zig Ziglar, a powerful motivational speaker, had this famous maxim: “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”
Strategy 2: H. Hang Tough When You’ve Had Enough
Our “Have It Your Way” society has taught us to quit when the going gets tough, and look for an easier way. But an ‘If it’s hard, it’s not the right thing’ approach to challenges couldn’t be further from the truth! Making a real and lasting difference in this life is filled with trials, frustrations and failures. That is the true path that leads to the understanding of your WHY, and true leadership. So do the things that frighten you. Within them, you will discover your purpose. Take inspiration from this immortal quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” And to that I would add, “Hang tough when you’ve had enough!”
Strategy 3: Y. You Are the Glue
You have the opportunity to change the change the world — to make a drop that becomes an ocean of change. You can make a real and lasting impact. Many times, we look at problems and feel overwhelmed by them, whether in our lives, the world, our our workplace, our family, our community. Oftentimes, all it takes is one person. One choice. One action. One person willing to take one step to begin an avalanche of impact. Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” What’s your one step? Finding, understanding and living out your WHY often begins with that step.
Finding your W.H.Y. is discovering your unique purpose. It’s an incredibly powerful concept that has the ability to change the entire trajectory of your life and your world. And it will change you.
With as many choices and options that you have, your WHY is the destination in the Google Maps of your life. It will help you when you make decisions about where to go and what to do when you get there. So if you’re looking to serve, and make an impact that helps leave this Earth better than you found it, start with these three simple, powerful steps — and you’re on your way.
About the Guest Post Author:
ANNI KEFFER is a nationally recognized educator, speaker, author, and entrepreneur who is passionate about youth leadership. She has been featured on CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX affiliates and in a number of publications, including Yahoo, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, New York Business Journal, Miami Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, and more. She’s the founder of the Young Women of Influence Conference and an in-demand leadership speaker. Anni was nominated for WHIRL Magazine’s Women In Business 2016, and is a co- author of Girls Lead.
Her new book is Leadership Built On Why: A Guide for Young Adults.