Your life is the result of the ongoing process of creating who you are every single day. All too often, people wait to find out who they are as a result of the many trials, experiences and lessons they experience from day to day, assuming that they must passively accept and be at the mercy of whatever life has in store for them. This attitude is the opposite of leadership and it makes us a victim. It gives us a justification for not doing what it takes to proactively bring about the results we desire—for failing to take risks, to design and redesign who we choose to be.

We certainly experience growth and acquire knowledge from the process of daily living. The point is, all too often we go through life tentatively, waiting for the next trial or problem to be dealt with, like it or not. This is not leadership.

Continually Reinvent Yourself

Leaders live life from their declaration of who they choose to be, continually reinventing themselves along the way. When you design your life on purpose, your actions will be in alignment with your declared image of how you envision yourself.

Ask yourself, “Now that I’ve declared myself to be a leader, what actions could I take that are consistent with this declaration?” This is the first step toward acting courageously in the direction of honoring your values while simultaneously inspiring others.

Leaders get to make up the principles they support, the causes they champion, the people they choose to lead and the values they adhere to. There is no arriving… only the constant process of being and becoming. That is, the process of creating who you will become out of your new, empowering and constantly evolving declaration as a leader.

Put Values into Action

The primary difference that separates leaders from followers is the decision to act courageously in pursuit of a dream, a vision, a cause that serves a purpose far beyond the self-serving needs of the individual alone. Effective leaders are charismatic and inspirational. They are adept at framing their missions in such a way that others are moved by them and want to join in its realization. True leaders contribute to others and inspire their involvement, rather than dictating their actions and applying force or coercion.

Living your declaration as a leader is simply a matter of concept evolving into experience. Take any value you hold in high regard, such as the ability to motivate and inspire others: until this quality is practiced and experienced, it exists only as a concept—a “nice idea.” When you decide to actually experience your values through action, they take on a whole new meaning. Until you do something that actually inspires others, you have only the concept of leadership, not the experience of it. You have not yet become the value you seek to experience.

From Experience to Mastery

Just as knowledge of a value can evolve into experiencing, so can experiencing evolve into being. Being is the ultimate result of “getting it”—experiencing a quality until you actually become it. This is what mastery is all about—taking a concept beyond experience into total embodiment of the value. That’s why successful leaders are often associated with the causes they champion and the values they represent.

Just as you cannot experience that which you do not know, you cannot be that which you do not experience. Leadership cannot exist in isolation. It is more than an intellectual exercise. It is a dynamic, ever-evolving, people-impacting stand that we take when we believe in principles worth pursuing. Leaders risk failure. Leaders know that all leadership decisions will not be popular. Leaders embrace problems rather than running from them. They know that each challenge holds within it the seeds to future breakthroughs.

Leaders would be well served not to pursue perfection, as such a goal is an illusion. Instead, true leaders seek excellence in all they do. When they make mistakes, they admit them, clean them up, recommit to those principles most important to them and refocus on their next goal on the way to bringing about their vision.

Power in Deciding

Leaders realize that they do not have all the answers and cannot possibly be prepared to deal with every challenge they will face. Rather than wait for the perfect time to take action, they realize the power of being decisive. Leaders realize that we attract all experiences to us—often for reasons unknown to us. It is through these experiences that we continually grow in knowledge, empathy and effectiveness.

All of life’s experiences present themselves as tools for our own creation. It is entirely up to us to decide how we will experience any aspect of life as it presents us with an opportunity to choose who we want to be in those circumstances.

Analyze the following areas to determine which ones currently support the definition of the leader you have decided to be and which ones detract from it.

• Your integrity level

• Your ability to make and keep commitments

• Your willingness to tell the truth no matter what the circumstances

• Your commitment to being punctual and reliable

• Showing respect and appreciation for others

• Being grateful

• Taking initiative

• Living passionately

• Trusting your intuition.

Instead of being a victim at the effect of whatever is happening in the moment, step into leadership and choose to be the source, the cocreator of how you will respond and be affected by what life throws you. In your response lies the opportunity to define the leader you choose to be.

DR. JOE RUBINO is a network marketing and personal
development trainer, transformational success coach and author
of eleven books and audios available in nineteen languages.
He is CEO of the Center for Personal Reinvention.