Growing up, I was always more inclined to respond to what I didn’t want to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I had heroes, people I admired, and traits/behaviors that I wanted to emulate.
But what really spoke to me, was watching how people lived their lives, interacted with others, and the choices they made and then being motivated to do the exact opposite of what they were doing. I was more motivated by not wanting to be a thing like them. The anti-hero.
Seeing people struggle with money. Not being able to afford things, always being under stress about how to make the next rent/car/house payment. Having to do without or take on a second job just to make ends meet. Racking up their credit, having to take hand outs from their parents, spending well past their means to impress others. Watching spouses scream at each other because they didn’t know where the rent payment was going to come from. No thank you. I would see examples of that and think “No way am I going to be like that.”
I do the same thing professionally. Sure, I have traits that I’ve adopted or cultivated from other leaders that I admire. But my list of things that I don’t want to be as a leader? That’s my motivation. Unapproachable. Unauthentic. Micromanager. Constraining. Complacent. Fixed mindset. Lacking in emotional intelligence. Unavailable. Stealing the glory for the work. Unable to take ownership of mistakes. Time and time again over the years, I saw these examples and said to myself…..”No way am I going to be like that.”
Personally, it’s even more so. I see the way people carry themselves. The way they fuel and care for their bodies. The way they talk about others behind their backs. The way they interact with strangers. The way they speak to others–in person AND online. The way they don’t clap when others succeed. The way they don’t offer a helping hand. The way they take and take and take but don’t take responsibility for their behaviors. The way they look at everything as a competition and look for ways to undermine and belittle others. The way they don’t look for ways to grow, develop, and chase big dreams. The way their loyalty is questionable. The way they treat people that are different than themselves. And those terrible examples? Those ways how NOT to be? Those are my motivation. Because I never want to be anything like that.
I want to be comfortable financially. Those bad examples motivated me far more than the Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Oprah Winfreys of the world. I was never chasing a dollar amount for my bank account, I was chasing a way of life. I never wanted to have those stresses in my life so I worked hard to make sure that I could get to the point where I didn’t have to. I didn’t want to have to worry about how I was going to put food on the table, pay for insulin, or keep a roof over my head. Instead of running towards riches, I was running away from the rubble I saw.
Professionally, I want to be a leader. I want to motivate, inspire, and light some hearts on fire. I want to make a difference–authentically. I want to be a collaborator, a thought leader, and a driving force for growth. I’m the first to raise my hand and the first to roll up my sleeves. I want to make my team BETTER so they can go out into the world and make a difference. I don’t just want to create a story, I want to create a legacy.
And personally, I know with certain who I want to be. I want to be your hype squad. I want to be the one reminding you that you can do anything you set your mind to. I want to be an exceptional mother and wife. I want to be a voice for inclusion, a dream caster, and an advocate. I want to be the person that others look at a say “Dang it she just never gives up.” I want to be someone that changes the energy in the room when she walks in. I want to be a woman that protects her peace. I want to be a woman who takes care of others. I want to be someone that gives back to the world–in small ways and ginormous ways. I want to be someone that my little girl can be proud to call her Mama. I want to be the first person you call with good news, the first person you call when your world falls apart, and the first person you think of when you need help.
All those anti heroes? They motivate the heck out of me. I watch them and take notes….of what not to do. Decisions not to make, actions not to take, and behaviors not to adopt. They are a crystal clear vision of what my life could look like if I made the same choices they did.
And that’s a hard no from me.