Want to Become a Leader? First, Find Your Cause.

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” — Margaret Mead

Leadership starts with you caring about a cause. This caring is what moves you to action and as you try and fail, you’ll either realize that this is not the cause for you or your determination will strengthen. Should you continue trying, you will reach the unthinkable and the new. At this point, others will notice. Some will be inspired by your actions and will join you in solving your cause because it will become their cause, too. Leadership is felt first.

My mission is to expand humanity’s abilities by forming the human-computer symbiosis in which people guide the machine’s processing power with their creativity. Walter Isaacson’s “The Innovators” inspired me to my present mission statement by showing me the daring ideas and failures that shaped the history of computers to the incredible tools they are today. Before this, I only had my collection of activities which I enjoy immensely: building mechanisms with Lego blocks, psychological analysis, and organizing my knowledge to see new patterns and speed up learning new concepts. But these were disconnected and the book appealed to them and oriented them toward a common goal.

First, Find Your Cause.

So what do you truly care about? Start solving a world problem related to the cause you care about. You may care about many things. Go through each cause and think of problems, then think of solutions to these problems and then actions to implement these solutions. Don’t restrain your imagination. If these solutions seem out of your reach, scale them down, to the point where you can do something about it. Then pick one and make someone’s life better. That’s how it starts.

The cause you care about springs from your very core and it fuels you throughout your life, giving you purpose and energy. Productivity, competence in your field, soft skills, etc. are tools for you to make your cause a reality. However, without your cause figured out, you will feel lost at times. Here’s how to proceed:

1. Figure out your cause as you go through life while learning the tools. Don’t be afraid to switch between causes until you find your true one(s). Choose early, start local and practice.

2. Develop your productivity since you’ll have work to do and no time to linger.

3. Ask specific questions that clear away the confusion. Find out as fast as possible what you don’t know you don’t know so that you know where to explore next.

4. Scale the passion for your cause by pulling others up. Don’t go alone in the projects that matter.

I strongly recommend reading Stories We Need to Know by Allan G. Hunter, Chapter 18: “What the Literature Has Shown: Stages and Sub-Stages” for complete details on this process.

“When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.” — Unknown

Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
Maria Stoica

Maria is a Software Engineer at Microsoft and a mentor for young women in computer science via the Grace Hopper Conference. She loves taking ideas apart and putting them back together in new ways to create useful tools. Maria is a multipotentialite who seeks to bring together all her wild interests in her mission to create the human-computer symbiosis.

Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Follow by Email
25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

Be Leaderly Wins Gold & Silver at the 2019 Stevie Awards
Be Leaderly Wins Gold & Silver at the 2019 Stevie Awards

Be Leaderly, a globally recognized provider of women’s leadership development and inclusion solutions, was recognized

15 Questions to Ask Before Taking a Stretch Assignment
15 Questions to Ask Before Taking a Stretch Assignment

Stretch assignments are like the Instant Pot of career development. An intensely challenging, ambitious, go-big-or-go-home

How Can Pay Transparency Make a Difference for Women?
How Can Pay Transparency Make a Difference for Women?

It’s well known that women still deal with a pay gap relative to men. But

5 Things to Know About Your Coworkers with Kids
5 Things to Know About Your Coworkers with Kids

You might’ve attended a baby shower in the break room, or maybe you caught a

4 Underrated Elements of a Career Advancement Plan
4 Underrated Elements of a Career Advancement Plan

A vice president of a financial company once told me, “Make a plan—or someone else

Negotiate Through Your Next Performance Review
Negotiate Through Your Next Performance Review

With performance reviews around the corner, I wanted to write a how-to post on negotiating.

Why Companies Should Give Women More Stretch Assignments
Why Companies Should Give Women More Stretch Assignments

Landing a coveted stretch assignment is a proven shortcut to a top role. Does your

5 Ways to Shine as a High-Potential
5 Ways to Shine as a High-Potential

There’s never been a better time to develop your leadership skills. According to Deloitte’s 2014

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

On a regular old day, you’re plugging along, attending to the work tasks in front

You Wouldn’t Stay in a Thankless Job. So Why Accept a Thankless Stretch Assignment?    
You Wouldn’t Stay in a Thankless Job. So Why Accept a Thankless Stretch Assignment?   

Four Rules for Accepting a Stretch Assignment Want to connect to a bigger, bolder vision

Ask Jo: How can I thank my mentor?

Question: I have an incredible mentor. She ...

Teamwork is a Skill. It Takes Practice!

Everyone wants to lead, or be a ...

It’s Worth the Risk (I promise)

This is Sarah. She’s one of my ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a ...

Leaderly Quote: Great Leaders Know When to Step Aside

“Great leaders know when to step aside.” ...

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Copyright 2019, Be Leaderly