Intentional Living for Women Leaders
No great achievement ever happened by accident. Great cathedrals weren’t built in one day, great companies didn’t just happen, and no woman became very successful by mistake. Major accomplishments, and even most minor ones, only came about through dedicated, focused, intentional effort toward a goal. Hard work. And, lots of it.
Whatever it is you must do to move forward, at work, at home, and in life, you must be intentional about doing it consistently. You don’t have to do it all in one day, (in fact, you can’t) but you must do it every day.
If you aren’t intentional you will find, if you haven’t already, that you never seem to quite accomplish any of your goals. Life just gets in the way. At some point, you simply settle for not reaching your goal, dream, or destination.
Some women are simply content to drift through life, settling on a career that doesn’t inspire them, settling on a spouse they are not happy with, or living an “average” life. We all have an opportunity to live a life of significance right where we are if we live life on purpose.
When it comes to stewardships, being intentional with your time, energy, talent, and your life is perhaps the greatest stewardship of all. It’s also key to becoming a very successful woman and a highly effective leader. You don’t have to be in a formal leadership position. In fact, most of the people who have made a huge impact on the world weren’t in a formal leadership position. Mother Teresa wasn’t. Yet even today, her legacy lives on. If you live with intention, you make a difference right where you are, and you will greatly increase your influence and leadership with others as you do so. To live a life that isn’t intentional is to throw away your God-given potential.
There are four key areas in which you must be intentional if you want to increase your influence as a leader and become very successful:
ADD VALUE TO YOURSELF
You must be intentional about developing yourself in order to continue to grow. Carefully consider the books you read, the mentors you allow to give you advice, the influences you allow into your mind, and even the people you spend your free time with. Are those things helping you grow? Are they adding value to you as a person and as a leader? You cannot give someone what you don’t have. Take every opportunity to add value to yourself, so you can add value to others. Part of my personal growth plan is reading 50 personal growth and leadership development books every year. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
ADD VALUE TO OTHERS
Be intentional about adding value to someone else each and every day. Volunteer to help someone. People always remember the first person who offers to help. Every encounter you have is an opportunity to build your influence. If you are adding value to that person, you are building your influence with them and increasing your leadership skills. You are also contributing to their success which will help build your success. Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
Be intentional about identifying what’s truly important to you. Then, say “yes” only to the things aligned with your vision and mission. Fill your calendar, schedule, and your life based on your priorities. Ask yourself what you need to do in order to develop and enhance your leadership skills. Then, say “yes” to those things. If your priority is to be a better mother, say “yes” to things that allow you to become a better mom. If your priority is to become a better team leader, say “yes” to growth and development opportunities in that area. What you say yes to defines your life.
If what you say yes to defines your life, what you say no to defines your legacy. You cannot do everything. Once you have determined what you will say yes to, learn to say “no” to everything else. Telling people “no” in a way that increases your leadership and influence with them isn’t easy. According to Tony Blair, “The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.” However, people will respect that you have priorities and aren’t willing to compromise them. Saying “yes” to everything will derail your leadership – and your life. Saying “no” creates the space to say “yes.”
Like many, Ria faced adversity in life. Ria was sexually abused by her father from age 12 – 19, forced to play the role of his wife, and even shared with other men. Desperate to escape, she left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma.
Today, Ria is a motivational leadership speaker, TEDx Speaker, and author of 10 books. Ria shares powerful leadership principles and tools of transformation from her journey to equip and empower women, helping them realize, optimize, and maximize their leadership potential.