I recall my days as a young Leader when I was as a Corporal of Marines serving as a Marine Security Guard at one of the United States Embassies in a beautiful country within Southeast Africa called Malawi. At the time I was fairly new to the environment and often looked to my superiors for guidance.
Upon arrival I was 1 of 8 Marines that had been assigned to this particular post. Counting from 1 to 8, 1 being the most senior I was number 5 in seniority at that time. I don't know if any of you have ever served in the military or an organization like it, but there is typically no time to get comfortable.
Leaders are Chosen by Circumstance and Developed through Experience
In the span of about 2 months I went from number 5 to number 2 in what seemed like an instant. Marines were rotating to their next post and rotating in from others. I was essentially thrown into a leadership position due to circumstances that would exceed the scope of this post.
Lets just say that around this time I had my work cut out for me. Due to the change I was forced to take charge of the Marines under my charge and make impacting decisions on the fly that not only affected the detachment but our relationship with the host nation as well. Needless to say I encountered an extraordinary amount of challenges to overcome, however I learned an equally significant amount about myself in the process.
You see, I originally joined the Marine Corps in hopes of one day becoming a leader. In fact not just any leader, I wanted to become a great leader. At the time I didn't understand the scope of my potential. I was already an outstanding leader, the problem was that nobody else knew including myself. That is, until the opportunity to prove myself came into fruition.
"The most uncomfortable situations in life hold the greatest potential for growth" - Panache Desai
Leadership Begins with the Mastery of Fear
Now keep in mind that I've always had the ability to pass on the responsibility to another. I simply CHOSE not to. Yes I was worried and afraid that I wouldn't be able to measure up to those who came before me, but I managed to control that fear and use it as motivation to grow.
To be a great leader, it starts with want. You must have the dedication and perseverance to accomplish whatever task may be before you.You may be thinking to yourself, "but I don't like talking to people, I'm shy".In my next article, we'll take a closer look at one of our most respected Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and how we overcame this obstacle in his career.
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