The first spark of my inspiration stuck when I was a kid, I had a monthly subscription to a Magazine named “GEO”. Well, it was a Photography Magazine and my interest only laid on the last page of that magazine which always had an interview of a person who was not rich or famous but simply a common man or “just an average human”. The theme of that interview was “I’m One in 7 Billion+”.
As the world population hit 7 Billion at that time. So, it was the GEO’s way of appreciating each life. Those interviews were about the person’s inspiration, dreams, struggles and voice, the one voice that mattered, the one voice that combined to form the voice of our Planet. Even though it seems quite mundane to speak about that now, but that was my first spark of inspiration. Whenever I thought that my existence was not significant enough I always read that last page of that magazine. And that always cheered me up.
And that was old tales of old times, but since childhood, I was always attracted to Leaders and inspirational tales of these great minds. And when I say, Leaders, the first person that comes to my mind is Swami Vivekananda, perfect definition of leaders for modern India. A man who had no desire to rule, just to lead the youths of the country in the path of knowledge and education.
Recently, I had an amazing opportunity to read a book about Swami Vivekananda. It was a gift from a Business Partner. The book was about his morals for the leaders of this sacred nation and most of his teachings are very practical if we ignore the strong metaphors of course.
To be a leader all we need to be is an example, a living inspiration to the people we are leading. Becoming a leader is a journey, a path of life, not a destination. Experiences, discipline and true knowledge can transform a normal person into a leader. Young Narendranath was just like us, experimenting with everything good and bad, gaining experiences from every part of life. But one thing was very rare in him that deviates him from a common young man, and that was burning desire for Knowledge that never died down.
As I was reading the book, I came to know more about his nonrestrictive self-criticism and self-analysis. Such a great man he was, still he always checked on himself, about what he said, how he reacted and if his thinking was in the right direction. According to him, we all should have a firm hold on our inner self so that our outer-self doesn’t turn chaotic. And this is so true; one should always keep the trail of our inner thoughts or our inner self so that it doesn’t affect our actions. Because only two thinks decide our karma and that are our desires and our reactions. These two are interrelated as our desires drive our actions and reactions which make our life completely upside down.
To be a true leader one must not have any shade of jealousy or any desire to rule. If any hint of this two aspect is present in a person then they could never be a true leader. A true leader needs to be selfless and disciplined to achieve his goal which is to lead the organisation to a rightful path. A true path to lead is a unique blend of divine love and self-discipline. These are some basic truth, although these are not very easy to cultivate and sustain. The one who could sustain compassion, discipline, honesty, self-sacrifice in their character only those could be the pioneers of this sacred nationhood. Only they will be the legacy of this nation and Swami Vivekananda was one of them.
So, I’ve always been researching how to be a great leader, a true pioneer. And going through my research I’ve found out that one of most important thing a true leader could possess in this modern world is the connection. Every leader needs a connection with people. But if you need a connection with people then you have to have a connection with yourself. You have to know yourself fully.
Self-reflection is one of the cornerstones of great leadership. Understanding yourself, knowing what makes you happy or sad, what makes you motivated? What gives you those negative feelings that sometimes have a negative output? But self-reflection is nothing without Self-regulation. If you can’t regulate your response when your emotion is telling you something else, then we have a problem. So, self-regulation is very important.
Nowadays, everybody’s got an ego. But sometimes it’s essential to take a tactical bruise on that ego for the betterment of an organisation so that we can perceive ourselves better. Therefore, three key points of modern-day leadership are:
- Self Reflection
- Self Perception
Your perception of yourself has to be as close to other people’s reality. If you think you are open and honest and your team doesn’t think that way then you’ve got a disconnection. If you think you are not something and your team does, then you’ve again got a disconnection. So, self-perception is very necessary to be a successful leader. And with this connection comes creativity.
Now, speaking of creativity I remember a quote by Nelson Mandela, where he said,
“Action without vision is a passing time, vision without action is daydreaming. But, vision and action can change the world.”
So, to achieve something you have to create a destination because you will get lost if you are driving without a destination. Therefore, give a vision and make it compelling, exciting & challenging for your followers. Design some stops and celebrations along the way, because it’s hard to stay motivated.