Young: Discovering the leader within yourself

Entrepreneurial columnist Joel Young on unleashing your inner leadership qualities.

In forming the Okanagan ValleyEntrepreneurs Society, the focus was on three levels of entrepreneurial status—budding, aspiring and existing.

But there was one ingredient the society that was missing.

What that was came to me while I was reading a book about  entrepreneurial leadership written by John Maxwell.

That’s when an epiphany hit me like a racquetball in the head—leadership.

Each of us is born into genius. Sadly, most of us die amid mediocrity.

First, there is really no magic to leadership.   It’s very real and an enormously practical way of conducting our ventures and living out a life.

This world of ours is going through profound change. We’re living in a time of extraordinary uncertainty and exceptional turbulence. What used to work often  doesn’t any more.

The solution, I am now convinced of more than ever, is leadership. It’s the one ingredient that  any new business venture will need to win in the new world we’re faced with.

Growing and developing the leadership talent of every single person in our organizations—companies, societies, teams, even families, governments, universities, professional bodies, factories—is the only way to avoid being eaten alive.

We must seriously act on strengthening the capacities, for example, of employees at every level to lead in everything they do. What I’m preaching here is how we all need to start demonstrating leadership, regardless of the titles society bestows upon us.

It’s no longer an excuse to say one doesn’t have a high rank in an organization and therefore doesn’t have to take ownership for the results.

To succeed, everyone now must see themselves as part of a leadership team. You don’t need formal authority to lead anymore—only an honest desire to be involved and the commitment to make a positive difference.

So for each of us to show leadership, we need to start being truly excellent in our current role in our lives no matter what it may be, and for organizations to embrace revolutionary change to a new model where everyone needs to show leadership.

It gives me shivers just thinking about how fantastic our everyday world would and could be if we adopted this theory. Everyone needs to take responsibility for results in everything we do and walls we are faced to climb. Everyone needs to be positive and become devoted to expressing our absolute best.

It seems to me that our work offers us a solid platform to discover the “leader within” each of us, an opportunity to  express more of our latent creativity and a whole lot more of our precious humanity which often gets sadly misplaced.

Leadership within has so much to do with perceiving our conditions and circumstances clearly. Everyone of us has flaws in our perceptions. Every one of us has a natural tendency to see through our blind spots and limiting beliefs.

Often we see situations through eyes of fear versus the eyes of opportunity. And so, these funny little flaws keep us stuck at average.

I guess what I am suggesting is that we each have areas where what we think we see or feel is not actually the reality before us. We see the world not as it is but as we are. My absolute favourite declaration which many valley people have heard me shout before is: “People don’t know what they don’t know…”

So taking on real leadership from within involves breaking through the limits of your mind so that you can step into the higher strengths of your entrepreneurial spirit

The great and glorious legacy of a human life is to live with purpose.  It would be a deep loss to this world of ours if we refuse to accept the call to lead and present our absolute best to the lives around you.

Joel Young is the founding chairman of the

Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society.














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