That Scary Thing Just Beneath The Surface…

by Michelle Acker on April 23, 2012

in Inspiration,Learning the Art of Living

I have a friend, who has long inspired me, even before we became friends.  She has 3 kids, all younger than mine, and was the chair of a local charity event, Relay for Life.  I was a new team captain, just getting some friends together for a night of fun and raising money to fight cancer.  I don’t know that we even had a real conversation that year.  But Aubrey? She inspired me…

We’ve since become good friends, we text or email daily, and try to get together for coffee or a walk when we can.


Recently, I told her about an idea for a book I want to write.  I was more than a little surprised when she said my dream had totally inspired her.  She said the conversation in her head went something like this:

Wow, that’s so cool!

I should do that.

Do you want to write a book?

No, not really.

Well, then what DO you want to do?

I want my own line of t-shirts!

 

Aubrey is now creating her own line of sportswear.  It’s crazy awesome.  She had the idea in her head.  She told someone.  She contacted a graphic designer.  She’s got a logo now, and is working on the shirt designs. Does she rock or what?

Aubrey is a leader.

 

I am just learning  starting to embrace the idea, to claim: ‘I am a leader’. I’ve been hiding behind being quiet and introverted all my life, but I now accept I’ve always been a leader.  After senior year in high school, I went to a National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C.  I remember being so excited to go… but thinking it was such a joke that they thought I was a leader.  Or even a potential leader.   Now, 22 years later, I get it.  I can give a long list all the ways I’ve been a leader all along, going way back to high school. I didn’t see it for all those years. I wish someone had pointed this out to me.  (Maybe they did, and I was just too stubborn to accept it.)

I didn’t accept the role of leader, because my personality didn’t fit my idea of what a leader looks like.  Aubrey, I thought.  Now, she’s a leader. Strong. Outgoing. Talkative. Fun. Optimistic. Encouraging.   And she IS a leader. Those qualities, however, aren’t what make her a leader.  Recently, Michael Hyatt posted 12 Ways to Know if You Are A Leader.  Go read it, then come back. It will only take a minute.  I’ll wait.  🙂

Did you notice? Nowhere on that list does it say you have to be extroverted, outgoing, or talkative.  Yeah, I noticed that too.  I also noticed I fit almost every single item on his list.  Even being introverted, quiet, and  reserved.  Huh.  How about that?

I‘ve been hiding behind being quiet.  Refusing to acknowledge that I’m a leader.  Well, no more.

I (quiet, calm, introverted me)…

 

I am a leader.

 

How about YOU?

Are you a leader? Do you have a dream?  Have you been hiding a part of yourself because you don’t fit the image in your head of the kind of person who fills that role, does that thing? Knock it off! If you have a dream, a desire, something so big it seems impossible… Go for it! (see #3 & #4 on Mr. Hyatt’s list).

Go for it!  Stop waiting. Start now.

What’s already there, beneath the surface, just waiting for you to claim and embrace it?

 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorea April 23, 2012 at 6:58 AM

Michelle—it is an interesting topic in that introverts are quite capable of big influence and in some ways their quiet natures can enhance their ability to build credibility and trust! After all, they typically think before they speak and avoid stepping on toes etc…a bit better than those who think out loud all the time. My team at work will be reading up on introverted leadership in the next few months. There’s a book we’re interested in that I thought you might like as well. You can check out the author’s website at: http://www.theintrovertedleader.com/

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

Michelle April 23, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Lorea,

Thanks for that insight! I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but you’re right. Thanks for the book recommendation. I will definitely be adding it to my reading list. I’ve also seen ‘Introverts in the Church’ and ‘The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’…. they both look intriguing as well.
Have a beautiful week!

Christine April 23, 2012 at 8:13 AM

Such a good post! And lots to think about. I was trained as a music teacher, conductor, and leader, and my spiritual gifts are in teaching and pastoring, but I’ve always found it difficult to think of myself as a leader in anything but music. Leading is about so much more than telling people what to do. I am almost always inspired more by quiet strength and integrity than overt, powerful leadership. Love this!

Michelle April 23, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Thanks, Christine! I didn’t know you were a teacher too…. (I was an elementary teacher before kids.) Being a leader is so much about teaching more than telling people what to do, I agree. I’ve had it defined incorrectly in my head for so long… It’s funny how I can be so stubborn when I think of myself as flexible. 🙂

Tim April 25, 2012 at 9:27 AM

I was watching a Tony Robbins youtube video today. He said that a leader is someone that changes the emotional state of someone else. You can’t get someone else off their butt and take action until you change their emotional state. But there is more to it than that. You have to also persuade them to take up the “cause” that will help them succeed in life. The persuasion part is just as important.

Tim Van Milligan
http://customersecrets.com/how-to-know-if-youre-a-leader/

Tereasa April 26, 2012 at 2:09 PM

I think it’s funny how many bloggers call themselves introverted or timid. I mean, really? Here we are on the world wide web spilling our guts for all to read! I guess speaking from a keyboard is quiet and safe. There are many bloggers I would call leaders based on the content they published and I would be even more surprised to learn that they are timid. I guess I am guilty of equating leadership with extroversion. Guess what? I’d call myself an introvert, too. Maybe, I should start seeing myself as a leader.

Michelle April 26, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Tereasa, yes, you should start seeing yourself as a leader. Good for you! Figure out what your strengths are, and focus on those. Don’t worry if your strengths aren’t what fits your image of a leader…It’s all a matter of perspective. People are just as influenced by subtle examples as by extroverted ones.

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