Most people have been conditioned in our society to follow the herd - do what is safe. It can be compared to cattle, who spend every day of their lives doing the same thing, eating grass, and doing what all the other cattle do. Cattle don't think for themselves, they do what they are led to do - they would never consider going outside the pasture, it is safe there - within the pasture - and has everything they believe they need. Unfortunately, many people go through most of their lives like the "cow in the pasture", living a "conditioned" life. This conditioning contributes to a feeling of lack of control, stress, unhappiness and depression, yet many haven't identified why they feel this way. This affects us in all aspects of our lives.
What are the ways a lack of leadership and personal responsibility can affect us?
- Unhappiness - if you are unfulfilled in your work or in your personal life, you cannot possibly be happy - and, you cannot make anyone else happy. Leaders understand that their happiness is up to them to create. It is not dependent on a good boss, good job, good relationship, good family, good government, etc to make you happy. Leaders find and create their own happiness by making powerful choices that support what they want.
- Fear - the media feeds us all kinds of fear, a common one being the "flu shot" every year, and the "need" to get the shot. Fear is instilled by media, doctors, etc, so people will line up for hours to get their shot because they are so fearful. Friends, family, and co-workers who all bought into the fear, are shocked if you haven't had yours. If everyone is doing it, it must be right is thought that justifies it. A leader trusts their own decisions.
- Settling - working a job you hate, but stay there because you have been conditioned to believe you you have "job security". Leaders do not settle. Leaders go out and find what they want and if they can't find it, they create it.
- Not reaching your full potential - this goes hand in hand with settling - when you are in a job you hate, chances are that you would like to accomplish more, but there is a ceiling on your income and advancement potential. We are not meant to stay the same - if you are not learning and growing, you are regressing. Leaders are always striving to reach their full potential, knowing that when you have made an achievement, it is time to stretch for something new, something bigger. Leaders compete against themselves to continually take their lives to the next level.
- Stress, even illness - it has been proven that stress leads to illness, and much of the stress people experience is within their control - but most don't realize that they have choices in their lives. So, they keep following the herd, and many do not know that they can make different choices and by doing so will eliminate much of the stress they experience. Leaders understand that they do have choices. If life isn't going in the direction they want - leaders understand that they must make different choices to course correct and get better results - this eliminates stress when you are in positive action.
So, how do you leave the herd, and become a leader in your own life? How do you stop buying into the "norm" which is really complacency and mediocrity?
It starts with learning to think for yourself. This is not something that most people are accustomed to doing. People follow leadership. But, most people are the followers and don't have the knowledge or courage to be a leader in their own life. Most people get up in the morning, go to a job they don't really like, come home, watch TV and go to bed - and do this over and over, every day. If you ask someone in this pattern, why they are doing this every day, most wouldn't have an answer because they haven't really thought about why they keep doing it. When asked, most would say, "they have to pay the bills", or "what else would I do", or "that's what everyone does". Go for a walk at night, and just observe how many people are sitting, staring at their TV - for hours - being brainwashed into believing what they hear and see.
It's time to get out of the trance that most of society is in - to be a leader in your own life and start directing the way you want it to go. You can do something as simple as turning off the TV or stop reading the news. Will that seem odd to everyone around you? Most likely! What would you do with your life? Read something educational, learn something new, start a business of your own, go to the gym, go for a walk, visit friends or family, live your life, rather than watching other people on TV living theirs! This is a really basic way to make dramatic change in your life. When you are not being fed all the nonsense and fear from these negative media sources, you learn to create your own results and start thinking for yourself. New and interesting things start to happen. You learn more, you grow more, you have new experiences, you feel better, have less stress and start seeing things in a different light. The walls of the "cow pasture" start coming down, and you start to realize that you can actually go into another field and there are new things to experience there. You learn that you can be more like a "rhino" and not wait for all the cows to follow you - you can venture out, do new things, learn and grow and live into your potential, into your own leadership.
People are hungry for excitement, adventure, fulfillment, and change. Leaders take a stand for what they want in their lives and then make powerful decisions that lead them towards their goals and take bold actions to get there. Leaders do not settle. Leaders do not limit their potential, they live into it. Leaders still experience fear but in a much different way - when fear shows up, they push through it, make powerful and bold decisions. Leaders show people what is truly possible. Leaders inspire others. Leaders create new opportunities. Leaders are needed. Everyone is looking for leaders. It is the most powerful commodity on the planet - YOU have the choice - are you going to be the leader or the follower?
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader