“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”
~Booker T. Washington
We often work with clients who tell us that they’re not leaders. “I don’t have anyone reporting to me,” they say. “How can I be a leader if I have no followers?” they ask.
Our first and final answer? You can lead from anywhere within an organization (or world). It doesn’t matter if you have direct reports or direct authority. We can lead simply by the way we live and the life – and work approach – we model.
One of the surest ways to lead – and to lead well – is to lift up others. To give our team members or colleagues a chance to shine. To see those who are hurting or struggling and to go out of our way to give them a hand, or at least some support and understanding. To focus at least as much on how we can help those around us succeed as on our own success.
It’s not always easy to do or to make time for. It’s easier to be as focused on ourselves, as our brains have evolved to be. We are wired to survive, and we are therefore wired to do whatever it takes to keep ourselves safe. To meet our needs and lift ourselves up.
At the same time, just to make this a wee bit more complex, some of us may need to balance lifting others up with making sure we take care of ourselves and honor our own needs as well. Those of us who keep ourselves safe by having more of a complying and “people pleasing” pattern, where we seemingly never focus on our own needs, may need to watch our tendency to ignore ourselves and our needs while we lift up others around us. (Ping us if you want to think this through further.)
That said, when we open our hearts to genuinely lift up others, we generally lift ourselves up as well. Research has shown that volunteers get incredible emotional benefits and greater life satisfaction and fulfillment from their volunteer work.
When we share, we often have more to give. When we lift up others, we often rise.
How have you been lifted by others or lifted others? What have you noticed?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.
For support in all rising up, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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