When I was looking to advance my career a few years ago, I was told I need to demonstrate leadership. I had no idea what that means. Do I go look for some underlings so I can lead them? How does one become a leader?
Surprisingly, I found my answer in public speaking.
When I became independent, I decided to be more visible by sharing my knowledge on stage. I applied to many CFPs, and get accepted to quite a few conferences. However, without a corporate budget, getting to the event is often a challenge. I really appreciate conferences that state upfront that they are covering travel expenses, but most don’t.
Since I really wanted to speak, I forced myself to ask for help. I explain my situation to the conference organizers, and they often have a limited budget to help those who ask. I have also approached individual companies for sponsorship, and surprised myself when they said yes.
That is when I realized what leadership means: To make things happen.
Public speaking pushed me to be creative and look for a solution when there is none on the surface. While I am no longer seeking that elusive promotion in a corporation environment, I am applying this skill everywhere. “Make things happen” has become my motto, enriching my life and those around me.
This is leadership.