Levelling The Playing Field: The Unconventional Leader. Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have it all together? They are the first to get promoted repeatedly, while others stay seemingly stagnant in their career. They can avert crises and rise above them, even when it seems like all hope is lost. What is with these people? They make great first impressions and are likable by their peers. They seem like they have one step ahead of everybody else. These leaders are daring.
They live life by their own rules and are guided by innate wisdom, even if it means that they go against the grain.
Things are not always rosy for these leaders because they dare to be an outlier. For many people, including some leaders, change is hard. Even when faced with objective facts that the current status quo isn’t as efficient or ethical as once thought, the majority prefer to keep things the way they were done before. Change requires getting out of one’s comfort zone and accepting the challenges. Change requires one to accept that growth requires compromise, learning a new skill, and assuming that methods and processes once thought of as ideal is no longer that way.
In the book, Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill illustrates the stories of these renegades or mavericks who dared to try something new and speak about it. Henry Ford, who was once thought of as being deranged and out of touch with reality, is now regarded as the father of modern-day society. Going further back in time, Galileo believed the world was round, which caused a massive uproar in society.
Now fast forward to modern-day mavericks, like the late Steve Jobs. Although a high school dropout and dirt poor, he revolutionised technology and communications. He lived on his dreams and was persistent.
These people are clear manifestations that once you keep your dream alive and you put your belief, hard work, determination, and dedication into it, you can achieve anything. As the famous saying goes, “all things are possible for those who believe.”
I consider true leaders to be maverick leaders. They are sometimes recognised as rebels because they are different than their peers and do not follow the pack but instead, they lead. They lead by example and have an emotional appeal to their followers. They can ignite the passion in their followers to get the job done.
Maverick leaders can predict the future. What do I mean by that? They can anticipate a future need for society and be able to create something new. Graham Bell anticipated the need for faster delivery of messages instead of traditional mail. He was known and recognised for the creation of the telephone.
In order to be this type of leader, you must be able to think outside the box and be original. These people are passionate about their pursuits and are often seen as inspirational. Maverick leaders encourage others to the possible instead of focusing on the impossibilities. They believe that the best is yet to come. Mindset is fundamental in this type of leadership. They have a growth mindset that doesn’t stop creating. They are energised, and they work smart to achieve their goals.
To leave a legacy and have personal and professional success, one must learn this fundamental basis. I call this the unfair advantage, as the magic happens in one’s mind. Credentials, titles, and prestigious schooling are exemplary, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that having one means you are a reengage leader. History has proven that by sheer determination and courage, individuals who came from relative obscurity could have huge marks in the world.
I take an approach to health and wellness, which might be different from the traditional medical model. It’s a system-based, holistic approach to challenges. I do not believe our lives can truly be confined in man-made silos. Instead, our life and response are a combination of our collective life experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly. To deal with life challenges, one needs to take the time to dig deep into one’s past, to understand our beliefs and identities. This way of thinking of one’s self comes from early childhood experiences. For me, mental health challenges like anxiety and depression are symptoms of other underlying root beliefs again, which are based on our mindset.
This approach, where I refuse band-aids and take the time to connect with the client, has helped the client rise above many life-health challenges and experiences.
My friends, consider the mental game. Your mental health is something you must guard and work to improve on every day. The mind is amazing, and quite frankly, we only use a small fraction of it. Imagine the possibilities if one would lead by example, from the belief that all things are possible. This is how I chose to live my life as a leader, dancing to the beat of my own drum, in my unconventional way. Mental wellness is your “secret weapon” to level the playing field, that transcends education, titles, and heritage.
Until next time …
Dr. Tomi Mitchell