Far too often I listen to the voices inside of my head. You know the ones – they tell me my limits instead of my potential. I get so wrapped up in my shortcomings that I can’t see where God has gifted me. For years I struggled with the voices that told me “you can’t be a leader”. I listened to them for too long, but I’m grateful that I stopped. Maybe you’ve heard some of these whispered to you as well:
You don’t have enough experience to be a leader.
The truth? I don’t have to be an expert to lead. I do have to strive to become an expert in my area, though. Because without continual growth, I can’t lead effectively.
No one will want to listen to you.
The truth? Some people won’t want to listen to me. But that’s ok. I also trust that if God is calling me to lead, He will send people my direction who have been waiting to hear what I have to say.
You don’t have anything to say that someone else (or 100 someone else’s) hasn’t already said.
The truth? There is nothing new under the sun. But there is no one who can tell my story – only me. So the voice that I’ve been given needs to be shared!
You can’t lead people who are older than you.
The truth? It can be intimidating to lead people who are older than you. When I started leading, I was in my 20’s. And it seemed like everyone was older than me. But I quickly learned that age has nothing to do with the ability to be a good follower. (I wrote about being a follower HERE)
You don’t have any formal training.
The truth? I don’t need to be formally trained to start leading. Training, however, is essential. You may have a combination of on the job experience, self-taught skills, and mentorships. All of those may turn out to be much more valuable than a formal class. Seek out training that fits your situation.
You’re not outgoing/persuasive/strong enough to lead.
The truth? There’s a myth that you have to be aggressively outgoing, able to persuade a penguin to buy ice cubes, or have superhuman strength in order to lead. But it’s just that – a myth. Moses, a leader in the Bible, begged God not to make him lead when he was first starting out on his career. He stuttered terribly and had a history of not being able to persuade anyone. But he said yes to God, and yes to leadership, and as a result, a new nation was birthed. God can use you exactly as He created you to be.
Someone else can lead better than you can.
The truth? That may be true! And part of your job as a leader is to be looking for those on your team that you can pour into so that they can and do surpass your leadership abilities. I want to be the best leader that I can be, but I also want to grow new leaders who are far better than I am.
Do I have limits? Yes, absolutely. But they no longer define who I am as a leader.