Lead by Example

One of the hardest things about starting a company for me was the fact that my face is now out there. A lot. Admittedly, I was not very comfortable with this. If I’m honest, I’m still not. What brings me comfort, however, is that my face is the one that my new authors and staff see. Why is that important? Well, think about it. How many of you get to interact with your boss on a daily basis in a way that is encouraging, warm, and … dare I say it? Fun! It’s these aspects of what we do that I like to bring to the table every day.

Yes, we have a job to do. Yes, we have deadlines and it is stressful at times. At the end of the day I ask myself, “Do I love what I’m doing?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes.”

I’m sure you hear me say that a lot. Well, it’s true. It’s relevant to this post because that’s the exact same energy I expect from anyone that works for Stitched Smile Publications. The best part about that? I’ve never had to tell the team that.

I’m always greeted with happy “e-faces” in our messages. (We’re all spread out, so we use Facebook messenger to chat daily and conference platform to hold our weekly meetings). The team comes together like a large family at a dining room table. We laugh and play, we vent and support one another. You know what else happens? Magic. We brainstorm. And because everyone’s ideas are valued, I get some pretty fantastic ideas.

This post is about being an example to those around you. People don’t want to follow someone that is walking around with a dark cloud over their head. They’re looking for that spark of light. They’re looking for direction, and the confidence to get them there.

Before I get online every day, I make sure my head is in the game and where it needs to be. Of course, there are days when I’m a complete twit, or I lose things, or I’m running around like the white hare. I have a team that sees what I put into them and the company, so when those days come? They have my back. 

My previous boss was an amazing mentor. I learned from him without him having to teach me. Do you know how? I watched him, and I took my cue on how to be successful by his actions. He took care of the employees first, then himself. When we got new office furniture, he had an old desk from 30 years ago. When we had new chairs, he still had an old torn leather chair. When our offices were painted and looked shiny and new, his was dingy and had the icky scuff marks.

I wanted to do for my boss because he took care of us. When I became ill, he would check up on me. He worked with me because he valued what I brought to the company and to him (I was his Executive Assistant).

I’m saying “I” a lot right now, I know. It’s imperative that I paint the picture of my experience so that I can properly impress upon you how much I learned, what I took from it, and how/why I implement it now.

The example that I lead with is what I was given, and what I hope to reflect from my own mentor because he inspired me. He made me want to be better. If I can do that to just one person around me, whether it’s an author, an editor, or an illustrator… then there’s no telling how far we can climb.

Teaching another person is the ultimate stretch of the immortal thread. You’ll never know just how far your touch has reached, or what impact it has made on another life. It is also a sacred responsibility for that reason alone. Try to remember that when you’re looking at yourself, maybe wondering why you aren’t in a position of leadership (if that’s what you desire). Are you ready to harness that responsibility? Are you ready to be accountable?

I hope so, because that’s the next part of being a good leader. Holding yourself accountable is a hard thing to do. You have to be able to admit when you’re wrong but also to have a solution. No one wants excuses. No one wants to keep hearing, “I’m sorry”. They want to hear how you’re going to fix it.

Elevating others is the next step in being a leader. No one likes a glory hound. Give your team credit and let them shine. Note: In the darkness of space, it only takes a small amount of light for the eye to be drawn to it, and each orbiting body will reflect a certain amount of light. And so on, and so on..

The goal of this post is really to inspire your inner leader. Everyone has it in them. Control your path, and your future, by leading the way for yourself. Become a leader in any way you can; at work, at home, in sports, etc.. Give yourself permission to reach for whatever it is that makes you happy and pay it forward to someone else. Teach them something new (pitch a ball, play a game, fix a flat, publish a book!) and you may find that you’ve had it in you all along.

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