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Mary and I met at a Bible study through our church. We both walked in wearing Rolling Stones shirts— we’ve been friends ever since.
Am I Even Qualified?
First off, you are. You have no clue of the potential that’s already inside of you. Without you even knowing, you’re probably already leading in some capacity. You may need someone to bring out the leadership qualities that help you succeed, speak into you, and cultivate what you’re already doing.
Where Do I Lead?
When you think of something that you’re most passionate about and a fire is lit inside of you— start there.
If you’re passionate about the generation younger than you, go after them. Get into their world and serve at their outreach program or maybe in your sorority take some of the younger pledge classes under your mentorship. Wherever your heart comes alive, lead there.
And it doesn’t have to be people. You can lead people, but the passion doesn’t have to be behind them. Start with what makes your heart come alive.
I want to be what my younger self didn’t have.—Mary Hubenthal
Your impact may not be millions of people, but you could change the life of one person. That is just as fulfilling as changing the lives of hundreds of thousands. If it was put on your heart, it was put there for a reason.
You have Instagram, TikTok, a podcast, Twitter— speak to one person and you have a platform and the ability to lead.
How do you start and find confidence along the way? Find someone who can mentor you. Don’t wait for them to find you, seek them out. Be brave enough to message someone on social media.
If you want to become a leader, you have to invest. That might mean buying a course from someone who doesn’t have the time and energy to give you, but they’ve created a resource you can utilize. I’ve personally invested in my business. Sometimes the people you look up to most you may have to pay to access them.
If you can’t make a financial investment right now, YouTube it, go to the library, Google it— invest in yourself with time and energy. Books like Andy Stanley’s Next Generation Leader taught Mary how she can’t lead alone. John Maxwell can’t be taken to coffee, but I can rent a book for free from my library.
It takes 20 years to become an overnight success
The overnight success you see— there was so much that went into the highlight reel. We live in a world where we have access to everything that we think we want.
We don’t see it took 30 years, the door shut 101 times, and they cried themselves to sleep every night for 5 years. We just see that they’re a speaker or CEO. We only see the end result because no one wants to show it. We just see the final result, the pretty results.
Fan Your Own Flame
It’s so easy to have a spark inside of us that goes away for whatever reason. How can we keep the fire going?
The more you do that you’re not meant to do, the quicker you will burn out.—Mary Hubenthal
We have to fan our own flames. Not just mind and body, but mind, body, emotional, spiritual… all of it. When we compare and look at the highlight reels, it’s easy to burnout.
Distractions Aren’t Always Bad
How do you know when you’re being distracted from your purpose?
A distraction may not look like a distraction. Distractions aren’t always bad. You can have something good in your life that’s distracting you from your purpose. To identify that, do a heart check and identify your priorities.
Have people in your life that can call you out. Not the friends that go with your story, but the ones that ask the hard questions and aren’t blindsided. Are they speaking life into you? Are they making you are better person? Pushing you towards your goals? If you’re someone of faith are they pushing you towards God’s dream? Or are they sucking the life out of you?
You can even use your purpose as a distraction. Ask yourself if you’re doing this to make an impact or if you’re doing this to glorify your own needs? It’s like when you post about the good deed you did— if you have to tell everyone about it, how true and good were your actual intentions?
Thinking you’re a good person and being a good person are not the same thing.
You have to be real with where you are. Anything, good or bad, can be a distraction. But if you’re not recognizing that you’re distracted, you’re never going to fulfill your purpose. You know you better than anyone else knows you. You know what isn’t supposed to be your focus.
If you don’t know, it’s probably the thing that you’re currently trying to convince yourself that it’s not a distraction.
Good Leaders Have Leadership
Mary is a leadership junkie. If there’s a podcast or a book, she’s diving into it. But she also knows that a true leader never wants to be the smartest person in the room. And that wisdom may not even come from a “leader”.
The guy who invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos was a janitor!
Be humble enough to know you’ll get it wrong and need someone to help you change that. Your value and worth aren’t dictated by mistakes, but you’re correcting that action that you’re doing. Constructive criticism that helps you grow.
Leadership and Correcting Someone
If you notice that someone needs course correction, know your audience. Don’t go up to your boss and tell them off— you’ll get fired and we’re advising against losing your job.
But if you’re a chapter president of your sorority, you need to have a relationship with someone to help them fix an issue. If you’ve established a foundation, you can point out things. Anyone you’re leading, you should have a relationship with them in some capacity.
If you don’t have a relationship or there are a lot of people in your chapter or organization, it’s okay to make changes through someone else that is closer to them. Not that you should circumnavigate sending someone to Standards if they’ve done something wrong, but having someone closer to the person (if applicable) can address the problem to an extent.
To Be a Leader, You Have to Build Leaders
You have to be speaking into someone else. Delegate responsibilities and give someone the opportunity to step up into the plate! When you’re a leader, give someone more than what you were given. Want the people under your leadership to go further than you were able to.
Passing the Baton
You’ll figure out based on your leadership style what works for you, but for Mary that was giving away pieces of the puzzle without them even realizing it. And support them when they do it— love them and support them so that they can be equipped.
Advice to Your Younger Self
Be you. Be the real, authentic, weird, messed up you. People will relate to you when you’re not putting on a fake face just to fit in. Don’t change yourself and become something you’re not for someone else.
Mary Hubenthal of Shine Bright Impact is a spiritual and leadership coach. She has a heart for women in ministry and breaking them free of the expectation of people and focus on what God says.
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