I have always thought that being a leader was an easy job, but before I became the one I am today, I had to make the hard choices that not everyone is able to make. When I started my career journey, I was a poor translator and writer cursed with fantastic leadership skills, but of course, no one noticed me. I realized it was not going to easy to become a leader in today’s interconnected world. I was ready for that challenge, though.
If you are anything like me and you strive to become a successful leader, I can point you in the right direction. However, you should be ready to take challenges and stay strong no matter the obstacles. I’m living and breathing proof that successful leaders are made, not born. I hope my example will inspire you to achieve your career goals.
Here are 7 choices I had to make to become a successful leader:
- I had to give up on my biggest hobby
When I think about the question: If you had a chance to get a promotion, would you be ready to give up on your biggest passion in life? I can now reply, “Sure.” Actually, this is what I did 4 years ago. I knew that I must have set a priority. But that meant giving up on my biggest hobby – dancing. My hobby took the majority of my time so I had no time for personal and career growth.
I felt lost, depressed and burned out. I was at the crossroads, without knowing what to do next. Fortunately, my dream of becoming a leader meant so much to me that I didn’t stop at anything. I don’t regret my choice. I’m definitely not suggesting you give up on all of your dreams for the sake of your career, but if you want to become a successful leader, it should become your priority.
- I broke up with the person I genuinely loved
I didn’t allow anything or anyone to stop me, including the person I loved. The truth is, I shocked myself at my ability to plow through a difficult situation. I had no time for romantic date nights and long road trips, so obviously my partner was never satisfied with my career goals.
He did everything to bring me down and prevent me from becoming a leader. All I needed was his support, but I didn’t receive it, so I decided that I didn’t need that person in my life. Maybe it sounds selfish, but do you really need a spouse who doesn’t care about your dreams and goals? Being a successful leader requires you to be strong and confident. If your partner is trying to blunt your self-confidence, it may be high time to say goodbye to him.
- I had to become a constant learner
Successful leaders never stop learning and it’s not about reading tons of books. They have to learn the correct body language, develop great public speaking skills and master the art of small talk. Moreover, they have to be excellent decision makers and problem solvers. The list of things a leader must learn is endless, especially if you don’t know where to start.
I had many insecurities, fears, and overall, I wasn’t smart and good enough to become a leader. I had to learn how to hold my head high, use my body language, speak professionally, walk confidently, use my time productively, and fight smartly. Surely, I had to read some books too. The key here is to find a good mentor. Be it your boss, manager or any famous entrepreneur, they can guide you through your leadership journey and make it a bit simpler.
- I had to swallow my pride and do the tasks and projects I hated
Swallowing my pride is still a problem to me. But my leadership journey has taught me to give in when needed. When I started working in the office, my manager and boss gave me the projects and tasks that no one wanted to do. I hated doing them, but I had no choice.
Now, I’m grateful for all those silly and complicated tasks because I learned the skills that helped me to get a promotion within a year. My coworker, who has been working in the company for over 10 years, is still trying to get a promotion but she does nothing to achieve her goal. If you want to become a successful leader, don’t fear to take the new responsibilities. You won’t regret you did.
- I had to ditch my healthy habits
I slept 3 hours, ate fast food and worked only when I was late to work. I knew it was bad for me. But I had to ditch my healthy habits to gain what I strived for most. As soon as I reached my goal, I tried to get back to my healthy habits. It was not easy, though. Today, I’m a healthy, successful leader who is ready to tackle any hard task and inspire others to do the same.
- I had to realize that I couldn’t please everyone
My parents weren’t satisfied with my job choice. My ex-boyfriend wasn’t satisfied with my career goals. My friends blamed me for not spending enough time with them. My boss was angry at me every time I made a mistake. I clung to other people’s opinions and tried to please all their wishes. I felt chained. But the worst thing is that they were still dissatisfied no matter how hard I tried to please them.
Regardless of how many people disagree with your choices and decisions, remember they will never be able to make them for you. You can’t make everyone happy. Don’t commit my mistakes. Focus on pleasing yourself first. It is a crucially and important step to take when trying to become a successful leader.
- I had to overcome my fears of rejection, failures, and mistakes
I had no room for mistakes, failures, and any rejection was like a death sentence to me. I was hard on myself and anything I did must have been perfect. Yep, perfectionism was my problem that I had to solve before it took full control of my career life. I learned to accept my mistakes and perceive failures as an essential part of my personal growth.
I spent half a year trying to overcome my fear of rejection, albeit I’m still trying to control that fear. The bottom line is to learn to focus on a positive result, not your fear. Stay optimistic and don’t dread to try again and again. Once you choose to reach your leadership goals, no mistake or failure will stop you, I promise.
Becoming a successful leader may be painful, but nothing in life is as painful as being unappreciated and undervalued. The only person who can prevent you from achieving your career goals is you. The winds won’t change in your favor until you remove all your excuses from your life. My leadership journey was not easy, but I don’t regret the choices I made 4 years ago, because they helped me become who I am today.
What sacrifices did you have to make to become who you are now?