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The Reluctant Leader (Blog Post from LeadStar)

The Reluctant Leader
by Angie, LeadStar On Our Minds

My parents had a huge family 4th of July picnic at their home in Northern Michigan. Since they live on a lake and have tons of water toys, aunts, uncles and cousins flock to their house so they can swim, water ski, and go for pontoon rides.

It was great being with my family this holiday, especially seeing all the toddlers and preschoolers splashing around in the water. Though the water was chilly, the kids didn’t mind. I, however, did. I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to cold water and on that day I had no intention of getting wet. That was, of course, until my younger cousins wanted to go water skiing and needed someone to help them out.

Ugh. I knew this was a moment when I was being called upon to lead – this was my opportunity to influence outcomes and inspire others. I’d have to get wet and walk in the freezing water past my ankles and I didn’t want to do it. I asked a few of my cousins if Jenni (my sister) wanted to help them. (Leaders do delegate, after all.) Nope. They wanted they wanted their “Aunt Angie” to do it.

In a moment I analyzed my choices:
I could say “no” and hope that someone else would help them.
I could say “yes” and help them water ski for the first time.

What I wanted to do and what I actually did were two very different things.

As I pushed past the pain and walked into the water, and then succeeded at getting my cousins up on water skies, I suddenly thought less about me and started rejoicing in their success. After all the kids had their chance to ski, I swam back to shore to share in my cousins’ enthusiasm.

This all reminded me that being a leader is often about choice, selflessness and can require some discomfort. But the joys of leadership are great when compared against the alternative. The alternative keeps you inside your comfort zone and limits your life experiences. Being a leader allows you to get beyond yourself and create positive experiences that will make a lasting impression on your life.

So the morale of this story is simple: the next time an opportunity comes across your plate and you immediately think “no way,” give the idea a second thought. You never know what you’re turning down until you challenge yourself to explore what’s in front of you.

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Categories: leadership
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