Leadership is necessarily a matter of growth and learning. You cannot become what you need by remaining what you are.
Your personal growth and development as a leader will likely be the highest and most difficult challenge you face.
True leaders know that if they don't push forward they will always be in the same place. If they don't go for it, they will never have it, and if they don't face down the darkness, they will always be scared of it.
No matter what position you are in, what you do, or where you come from, you can always grow. You can always develop. You can always become a better version of yourself.
Here are six warning signs that you're in a holding pattern--no longer engaged, and hiding from the best part of yourself.
1. You've become complacent and stagnant.
Growing leaders are those who explore and take risks. Risk is the bedrock of progress; without it, your development will get stuck. Sometimes your leadership has to push you out and engage you with more challenges. If you find yourself settling for what you already know rather than developing into new, unknown territories, your growth has been halted somewhere. When you are complacent, you've made friends with stagnation.
2. You concentrate on failure more than on success.
When you're so busy counting up your failures and are not mindful of your successes, it's hard to move forward. If you look at a situation and see failure with nothing positive, you've lost your way.
3. You take more than you give.
Leaders work for a cause, not the applause. They live to express, not to impress. They strive to serve, not hit a nerve. Leaders who are takers are not making room for the heart of service. Great leadership requires gracious taking and generous giving--of your words, your deeds, your money and things, yourself.
4. You make your mistakes feel more significant than your lessons.
Mistakes play a vital role in success. Many great leaders make mistakes but instead of making excuses or covering them up, they learn how to correct them--and they learn from the circumstances and the consequences. Correcting your attitude and learning you're more than your mistakes will make you a better leader--one who leads by example.
5. You seek easy instead of challenging yourself.
Because we live in a quick-fix society, people seem to be always looking for an easy way out. But to cultivate your leadership, you have to maintain sustainable growth. You have to challenge yourself and learn to thrive in those challenges. There is no easy way out of the doors of ignorance or mediocrity. Challenging yourself means succeeding at every milestone you reach.
6. You hang out in your comfort zone, instead of learning and growing.
The most successful leaders know that leadership begins where comfort ends. If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got. The best way to move forward is to learn and grow. If you find yourself stuck, remember how to push yourself past it. A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
If even just one of these warning signs rings a bell, it's time to take a good long look, discover where you've gone off the path, and find a way to push yourself back on track.