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The Liberty of Letting Go and Leading Free

June 30, 2020

The value that you place on attitude in everyday life makes all the difference in your assertiveness and overall outlook. Being mindful of the way you perceive the world is pivotal. Do you engage in positive self-talk, or do you tend toward self-pity? Side-stepping your perceived hindrances, maintaining your enthusiasm, and empowering your ego are all useful tactics to practice.

Confidence at the Crossroads and Leaving Idealism in the Dust

Attitude is that magic point where self-assurance intersects with authority. When you can comfortably be your authentic self, commanding confidence can seem like you’re strolling down easy street. But for many, the journey to lead isn’t that simple. When we hold too tightly to the characteristics of other leaders, our viewpoint becomes skewed. Tunnel vision of what leaders do and how they act is limiting, and in that narrow perspective, you forget to make room for yourself.

Diminishing Self-doubt and Diving into a Realistic Reflecting Pool

Assuming that leadership is a fixed equation will only leave you playing the comparison game. Just like fingerprints, no two leaders are precisely the same. There is no rulebook that great leaders follow, no essential qualities you must possess, and realistically, no “right way” to lead. Believing that we know what a leader looks like only makes it more challenging to gaze into the mirror and see ourselves as one.

Competing with the characteristics of another person is a losing battle that allows false expectations to fester and puts your future at stake. By shedding the “I should be…” mentality, you strip yourself of the shackles that have hindered your success, allowing you to lead genuinely free.

Leading free is not for the faint hearted. It takes summoning strength and a call for courage. Leading free means forgetting the “could have, should have’s” and instead exploring the “what ifs.” It means embracing your experiences and education, capitalizing on your eccentricities, applauding your assets, recognizing your vulnerabilities, visualizing your victories — and emancipating those unrealistic expectations.

What Exactly Are the Liberties of Leading Free?

1. Letting go of your fear of failing. I have a Gaelic tattoo on my leg that translates as “my beautiful mistakes.” I carry it to remind me that it’s natural to make mistakes. If I start to see those mistakes as wrong, I become a victim of my own human experience, but when I frame those errors as positive possibilities, I am more prone to cherish the elite within every encounter.

2. Using your experience as expertise. Share your story with people who make you feel safe, as well as with strangers. Reflect on real-life circumstances and offer what you know to be true. Open up to others about the good, the bad, and even the embarrassing — the diamonds and the dirt. Don’t be afraid to dive deep and allocate all that you’ve learned in the marvelous moments and adversity alike.

3. Accepting that, at times, things will not be easy. Leading free means acknowledging differences in opinions. It means accepting others for who they are and letting your curiosity cater to the connection of humankind. Leading free means keeping a progressive perspective while maintaining a propensity to see another’s point of view. Leading free welcomes the possibility of positive conflict and using that friendly friction to propel forward.

4. Interacting and inspiring with intention. Leading free means pointing out the potential in other people, too. It means that the attributes and abilities of others are not a competition, but rather, compliments to the skills and sincerity they bring to a space. Leading free means focusing on and fostering others, intentionally encouraging the unique advantages of those around you.

Leading free is not impracticable or impossible. It is merely leading the best you can, beginning where you are, and moving forward. Leading free is graciously permitting yourself to contribute with direction and purpose. The funny thing about leading free is that once you give yourself permission to stay positive and pursue your passions, you inadvertently inspire others to do the same.

Sandi Coyne-Gilbert is an accomplished leader with experience in both the education and nonprofit sectors. Coyne-Gilbert specializes in working with adult learners and is enthusiastic about instilling a passion for lifelong learning in her students. Her work with at-risk and marginalized groups provided her with unique insights into the power of education for people in transition. Beyond the educational field, Coyne-Gilbert also has experience in marketing and nonprofit leadership. Most notably, she was one of the driving forces behind the development of the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield, MA. Coyne-Gilbert brings her experiences to the classroom as program director for the master’s degree in Organizational Leadership at Goodwin University. Are you ready to make a lasting impact? She’d love to hear from you.

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