Since becoming an Entrepreneur I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know myself and what I can offer individuals, teams, and Companies. It’s not just about “Being my own boss and working my own hours”. This is the fantasy everyone has when dreaming about starting their own business, but the reality is the complete opposite.
Along my journey of self-rediscovery, and I say self “rediscovery” on point, because just when you think you have your shit together when you’re creating your own brand it is all about Who you are as a person not just the services/products that you offer. All your “inner monsters” resurface as metaphorically coined by Business Coach “Rosemary Shapiro-Liu” who I had the honour of meeting just a few days ago. How can you understand your Niche Market’s Pain Point(s) when you have to understand and conquer your own first?
Earlier this week I had the privilege as being one of the Expert Speakers at a Women’s in Operations Leadership Summit. I met so many wonderfully diverse powerful, down-to-earth, game changing women across many industries. It was really humbling to share the 2 days with them, get to know many on a deeper level, and to learn what it takes to be an authentic leader from their perspective.
It got me thinking more about what I stand for and who I am, not only as a marketing-brand for my Business but also who I stand for as a person. My brand is all about “Creating Limited Edition Leaders”. Market Pitch: Happy Leaders, Happy Teams, Happy Cultures!
You may be curious to know who and what constitutes a Limited-Edition Leader on a deeper level, here let me unpack it for you. I believe Limited-Edition Leaders should encompass the 3Cs – Courage, Compassion and Connection.
Courage: A Limited-Edition Leader, is someone who lives their highest Values. Has the courage to stand for something, and not to fall for anything. Too many times in Leadership I’ve seen Team Leaders, Directors and even HR turn a blind eye to derailing behaviours in the workplace and it makes me wonder if they spend their whole lives, not just in the workplace, turning a blind eye? Are you one of those types of Leaders? I challenge your thinking, about why you do this? Are you aware of doing this? If so, why: Is it out of fear of retribution, rocking the boat, being judged, or you are just not sure what strategies you need to have to create a win-win outcome so you feel helpless/paralysed to do nothing?
A Limited-Edition Leader has to believe in themselves, and has the courage to take risks and be not afraid to fall forward. Show your team what’s possible rather than what’s impossible. Having the guts, grit and determination to put yourself out there, despite the majority. If you see something wrong in the world don’t just be a spectator believe in your core values and positively impact the people around you. What is the legacy you’d like to be remembered for? Be a Champion of your Values and your Companies Values, as they say, employees leave managers not companies. So, make sure your values are aligned as this is where your strength of conviction will come from and give you the reason for you to have courage. If you haven’t read your company values in a while, I recommend you refresh your memory and reflect on whether you’re an ambassador or not? If you’re faking it till you make it, then you are not living your values, you will be spending all your time in “Fight and Flight Mode” until you’re discovered, and that is not a resourceful way to spend your energy. Spend it on self-improving as a Leader, on your teams performance and even mentoring a high potential instead. You’d be surprised how much you learn about yourself by mentoring others.
Compassion: A Limited-Edition Leader, demonstrates a sense of compassion, kindness, and empathy. Someone who can meet someone at their bus stop coined by Expert on Influencing and Persuasion “Shelle Rose Charvet” and ride with them to their final destination. That’s Leadership!
A Leader also needs to have compassion for themselves. Leadership is not easy. It is a difficult, challenging yet can be a rewarding if you are playing to your values, strengths and creating the right attitudes to work. Leaders are the face of the Company and with it can be a huge burden to carry, which can result in Leaders being their worst critic when things don’t go according to plan.
Leaders are the Role Models for their direct reports/teams which at times can create the illusion of always being Perfect! I know for me as a Leadership Coach, Mentor and Profiler I place added pressure on myself to strive for perfectionism. My Brand is all about the experience that I bring to my clients through the value that I add. A Leaders role is to model excellence and be a champion of the company’s Vision, Mission and Values and sometimes shit happens and you have to deal with it. You can coordinate things, rehearse to a T, but at times no matter how prepared you are, things don’t always go according to plan. Having the greatest sense of self-compassion will create resilience and allow you the stamina and determination to keep going no matter what.
Connection: A Limited-Edition Leader, enjoys getting to know their people on a personal level not just completing tasks, KPIs and ticking boxes and ensuring that everyone is following Company Policy and SOPs. Leadership is much more enriching than that! Establishing solid relationships by being authentic as a Leader, treating each person as an individual not just a function can be a transformational experience. By re-framing your perception on Leadership, you can re-frame entire attitudes and behaviours within the teams and departments that you manage. A little shift in mindset, can create the right motivators for building trust, rapport, and camaraderie. When this happens, it creates a Catalyst for catapulting Companies forward to create the disruption needed to foster innovation, creativity and in turn achieve the results and ROI needed.
Lastly, Vulnerability “Keeping it Real” this is the highest form of Leadership. Without allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you will not have the courage, compassion, or connection that you need to create a Happy Leader, Happy Team or Happy Culture. During my presentation I showed true vulnerability and was lifted up by the wonderful women that were in the room. It was a real blessing to be surrounded by such Inspirational Women. All on their journey to make a difference in the work that they do and to create a genuine impact.
Starting my Business has been such a real blessing, I had never intended to go out and start something on my own. My intention was always to be the best version of myself, be the best damn Manager I could be, and create that positive impact with the individuals, teams and cultures in which I worked. If I was making a difference, then it was serving one of my highest values.
Turned out, the best impact I could make was founding “No Limits Consulting”. The personal growth has been insurmountable to anything I’ve done preceding that. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about starting a business, is being Vulnerable to be ME which leaves you open to trolling, judgement but also attracts the right people and tribe around you. Having Courage, to believe in what you believe regardless of the naysayers. Taking daily action, even if you haven’t got everything figured out perfectly, sometimes you only need to know the next step to move forward. By taking action, it allows you to create that Growth Mindset, flexes the mind muscle for alternatives and opportunities and getting out of your comfort zone. Having Compassion for self that things will not always go right, and being ok with it. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is a HUGE asset to have as a Leader. Connecting with others because we’re human, nothing is ever achieved by doing it alone and we need to have that sense of belonging in order to Thrive.
There you have it! The essence of a Limited-Edition Leader! How does that sound to you? Can you picture it in your mind? What does it look like to you? How does that make you feel to be a Limited-Edition Leader? For me, it’s a pretty damn good place to be, any thing less that than that is, well just average!
Paula Dunn is the Founder of No Limits Consulting who creates Limited Edition Leaders. Life was not meant to be lived in a Box, nor should you be expected to. To learn more about Paula sign up to her Newsletter to keep up to date with the latest information, workshops and upcoming MeetUp Groups around Sydney.