Leaders are Born…or Made?

The old saying goes that great leaders are born, not made.

What. A. Crock.

Needless to say, I completely disagree.

See, I was not born a leader. There was not, for nearly 29 years, a single bone in my body that ached – even a little – to lead others.

Not that I wanted to follow, per se. Though that’s often what we find to be the easiest path, isn’t it?

You follow. You work for others. You concede to your friends and family. You smile. You hide your quirks.

I was a follower for many years. This included the first two years of running my own business. I allowed my ideas to be stolen and steamrolled, my schedule to be determined by the client, my limitations to be tugged and poked and prodded until I stepped into unfamiliar, unwelcome territories.

That last one was when I finally said “enough is enough.” Not that I’m against learning or change. I’m all for being shoved out of the nest. I’m not a fan of being shoved off the cliff.

Something occurred to me: I work for no one but myself.

Suddenly, it was like all of these doors swung wide open. I don’t rely on my clients, my clients rely on me. Sure the money that they send me is great. It pays my bills. But no invoice amount is worth my sanity. I can find another client. I can find another job. I can do something that makes me happy, not crazy.

So I fired a bunch of people. I’d never fired anyone in my life. I didn’t know how. I poured over books and blogs and how to manuals. Nothing I read made me less uncomfortable about what I had to do.

That’s the thing I’m realizing about being a leader as I find myself warming to the role.

I might be uncomfortable firing people or interviewing potential clients or asking for someone to pay their damn invoice, but at the end of the day, I’m all I’ve got. I am…a leader. And I wasn’t born this way. I made myself.

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Absent

Oops. Well on the plus side, I will NEVER not write for this blog. I feel like it has a little too much “me” to ever not just start over even after a long period of neglect (sorry!) On the other hand, the Project 365 blog is pretty much dead. That’s okay. I’m not a quitter, but life did get crazy in an overwhelming sense. On the plus side, I have a few new clients for Curly Q Media which is amazing! If you need help writing anything for your business (content, posts, tweets, brochures) just contact me and we’ll see if we’re a match.
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Grabbing Life by the Ba- urm- Horns!

Well, if you hadn’t head through Facebook, I have become the very person I used to be jealous of. Yes, I quit my 40 hour a week job and have revved into full gear as a (remote) freelance writer/social media specialist for Curly Q Media (and part time server in downtown and Zirtual Assistant.) 28. Up to my ears in student loan debts. No 401(k), no benefits (unless I buy them) and no bi-weekly paycheck with my taxes neatly pulled courtesy of Human Resources. Some people would say that I was stupid– frankly, I can’t really argue that fact. I have no business background, I was making stupid money for an easy job (where I was very unhappy) and I have an iron clad lease for which I owe rent through February. Oh, I also have a long distance relationship- we fly about 2000 miles each way once a month- gets pricey. It’s enough to make you vomit a little in your mouth- actually; I did when I reread all of this.
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I Can

There are days when the world makes absolutely no sense. Where you have tried and failed so many times at your dream that you are at serious risk of giving up. I don’t know how you all react to such depression and pressures. My old reaction was to curl up and cry for a few days- “no, world! I can’t handle you anymore, just leave me alone. Go bother someone whose dreams you haven’t stepped on!” Once all the tears were out, I’d usually mill around like a zombie for a few days, deep in a fog of mixed emotion- angry, sad, depressed, exhausted, alone, the only person to ever have issues…that kind of thing. What do I do these days when defeat keeps kicking me down? I sign up for another marathon.
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Awkward and Introverted

Business is all about networking and I will be the first to admit that I suck at it. Fellow introverts will understand- going to conferences, jumping into young professional events, talking to someone you’ve never met- whew- my heart rate just skyrocketed. Anyone else?
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Writing Machine

You may recall that I wrote a post awhile back about my inability to learn from the mistakes and/or the advice of others. This has happened yet again in recent days and I wanted to share- not to guide you away from mistakes that I have made or consequences that I have suffered (you stubborn mule) but rather to warn you that stubbornness can and will make your life a living hell. If you can’t trust anyone else on this point, trust someone who can out stubborn her own mother.
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