The Quality All Great Leaders Have in Common – and How to Cultivate It Within Yourself

Guest post
from Christy Whitman

Above all other
qualities, vision is the most essential to extraordinary
leadership.   Throughout every era of time, and in in every
imaginable industry, the most influential leaders have been those who innately
understand that what has been in the past, as well as the circumstances that
exist in the present, do not have the power to limit the potential of what can
be created in the future.  Great leaders hold tenaciously to the reality
they envision in their hearts — even in the shadow of previous failures, and
even in the absence of tangible evidence that what they want is possible to
achieve.  In other words, a great leader is someone who gives more
credence to the vision that calls to them than they do to any voice of
disbelief or doubt.
 
Most of the
world is not living in a mindset of true leadership, but has instead fallen
into the habit of simply reacting to whatever is going on around
them.   And while it is very compelling to give our attention, our
focus, and therefore our powerful, magnetic creative energy to those things
that are not right now as we would like them to be, directing the precious gift
of our attention in this manner nails our creative feet to the floor and keeps us
from cooperating with our own desires.  Leadership requires us to launch
ourselves out of the very human tendency to allow other people, external
circumstances, and our own self-doubts to dictate what we believe we can
accomplish, and therefore what we allow ourselves to envision.  Posing as
the truth, these considerations are often camouflaged as legitimate concerns
that go something like this: I don’t have the money. It’s not the right
time. What will others think? If I go for my dream, I might fail. I should just
be happy with the life I have.
 
Considerations
like these may appear as formidable conditions over which we are powerless, but
this is both an illusion and a critical error in thinking. The obstacle that
stands in our way is not a money problem, a time problem or a people problem;
it’s a vision problem. When we are focused only upon the current
conditions of our lives, we deprive ourselves of our innate ability to create
anything different.  We simply cannot give our attention to things that
are other than we’d like them to be and create what we want at the same
time.    In every moment, we are either doing one or the
other. 

So for example,
if you, as the leader of an organization, are focused upon the weakness or
ineffectiveness of your team, you must understand that you are using your
powerful creative energy to contradict rather than support your own desire to
lead them to success.  But when on the other hand you go out of your way
to notice and then deliberately appreciate each person and aspect of your
business that is working well, your focus is aligned with your vision, and you
are nurturing its growth and ultimate fruition through the power of your
attention.
  
Some people
believe that being a great leader requires discipline – and it most certainly
does – but it’s not the “nose to the grindstone” effort and struggle that we’ve
been taught is necessary for success.   The most important discipline
that we as leaders can ever practice is that which takes place not in the realm
of action, but in the quiet of our own minds.  It takes great discipline
to identify a particular outcome and summon the intention to make it
happen.  It takes discipline to focus on a desire with enough clarity that
it begins to coalesce into a vision.  And it takes discipline to bring the
energy of our most frequent and consistent thoughts, feelings, moods and
expectations into alignment with the vision of what we do want, rather
than chronically noticing the absence of it.  Once we have aligned
ourselves with our own vision so completely that we are not simply willing to
entertain any other possibility, we unlock the secret to magnetism, to
charisma, and to seamlessly attracting those who want nothing more than to play
their role in the play that we are orchestrating.

Right now in
your own life, you are surrounded by conditions and considerations that may
have you convinced that you are powerless to become the leader you desire to
be, whether in your business or in your personal life.  You may believe
that you’re too old, that the odds are stacked against you, or that everything
you desire to accomplish has already been done before.  But however these
thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions show up for you, it’s imperative that you
begin to recognize them for what they really are.  They may be evidence of
what has been, but they don’t need to limit your vision of what can
become.  Once you understand that what you direct your energy toward is
what you will ultimately begin to attract, you will reclaim the power to create
your life on purpose rather than by default, and, by example, you will teach
others how to do the same. 
Christy Whitman is a
transformational leader and the New York Times bestselling
author of The Art of Having It All and co-author of Taming
Your Alpha Bitch
. Here new book is called Quantum
Success: 7 Essential Laws for a Thriving, Joyful, and Prosperous Relationship
with Work and Money.
  She has appeared on Today and The
Morning Show
, and her work has been featured in People, SeventeenWoman’s
Day
Hollywood Life, and Teen Vogue, among others.
As the CEO and founder of the Quantum Success Coaching Academy, Christy has
helped thousands of people worldwide to achieve their goals through her
empowerment seminars, speeches, coaching sessions, and products. She currently
lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband and their two boys.