I have been fascinated with people who start things. It is embedded in my definition of leadership.
“All leadership begins with personal initiative …’
However, to start something is to recognize that there is a reason for doing so. Some things we start are experimental projects to see what works. Others are business ideas that we think will gather loyal customers. Then there are those people who love to solve problems.
To solve a problem is to respond to a creative drive that resides in each of us. Starting something new is the same impetus. We make a decision to resolve a question that we have in our mind.
Have you ever prepared to cross a street, and there at the curb is a big, deep puddle? You don’t want to step in it. So, you look for a way around, or you try to decide if you can jump across it. I believe this is where many of us are right now. We are stuck trying to figure out a way around the complexity of a global coronavirus pandemic, the swings of political ideology upon our lives, and what the future holds for you, your family, your business, the organizations you contribute to, and your community as your home.
Four years ago as I was preparing to publish Circle of Impact: Taking Personal Initiative To Ignite Change, I put together a set of five guiding principles that I felt were a simple summary of the book. Over the past several months, I realized that the time for a refresh of the principles was needed. Several new things had begun, and I needed to reflect it a revised Guiding Principles of the Circle of Impact.
CIRCLE OF IMPACT FIVE GUIDING PRINCIPLES
1. ALL Leadership Begins with Personal Initiative to Create Impact.
2. We are ALL in Transition. Every one of us. ALL the time.
3. Impact is the Change that Makes a Difference that Matters.
4. Impact Expands through Networks of Relationships.
5. Start Small. Act Locally. Share Globally. Take the Long View.
A number of people have spoken to me recently about the sense that they are in transition. They cannot articulate why. If you are having a sense of being in transition, then read on. This post should help.
We feel things before we know things. We only know things because we think them through. If we don’t think them through, we can easily become confused. We feel that our perception of the world has no logic, consistency, or means of making sense of it. As a result, we are living in a world that does not make sense.
What does making sense mean? Especially with this sense that you have is pointing you towards a transition in your life.
Making sense means that I understand the situation that I am in, that I have a clear idea of what my transition is leading me, and that I know what I must do now.
Do you understand the situation that you are in?
Do you know where your transition is leading you?
Do you know what you must do?
Two of Ai Wei Wei’s sayings I treasure because they so resonate deeply with my beliefs about leadership.
“Your own acts tell the world who you are and what kind of society you think it should be.”
“I call on people to be ‘obsessed citizens,’ forever questioning and asking for accountability. That’s the only chance we have today of a healthy and happy life.”
This is the spirit of personal responsibility that points to my conviction that “all leadership begins with personal initiative to create impact that makes a difference that matters.” This responsibility is not something imposed upon us. It is not an obligation or a requirement. Rather, it is the expression of our individual humanity.
Ai Wei Wei suggests that there is a transition in our understanding of leadership taking place. It is from a person being in authority to an expression of our individual humanity. This is why accountability is so essential to a healthy life for a society.
“I see myself not as a leader but as somebody who initiates things or finds the problem or provokes a discussion. You have to be always ready to engage, willing to participate. When events or history happen, you just have to be aware and respond.”