Lead Thyself- Cultivating Leadership from Within by Ann Griffith

I had a wonderful 25-year corporate career working for start ups to fortune 500 companies.  The last 12 years, I spent at Microsoft; a place which became my second home and where I had a large extended family.  I loved my job, colleagues, leadership, products and Microsoft’s mission.  I didn’t think I would ever want to leave!   With retirement on the horizon and a child learning how to live with Tourette’s Syndrome, change was inevitable.  I decided to retire early and refocus.

Never had I imagined myself as a true entrepreneur.  With the opportunity to spend a lot more time with my youngest son, an imaginative engineer, we set out on a journey to start a new business.  Tinkr, a business innovation lab for STEM students, was formed.  Shortly thereafter, a second business took shape and I found myself knee-deep in the thralls of entrepreneurship. Having led teams the majority of my professional career, I found leadership had taken on a whole new purpose.  I had to lead myself in new ways, coach my son and hone new skills working with a new community.  Through this journey, I have benchmarked 7 personal principles which, I believe, have become critical for cultivating leading from within:

  1. Believe in yourself.  Don’t let negative self-talk and doubt destroy your spirt.  Believe in your abilities, your experience and ingenuity to rise above obstacles and pave your own success.
  2. Face fear and get over it.  Fear is paralyzing.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone by setting small goals and staying focused.
  3. Be the absolute best version of you. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else. Make progress in getting better every day.
  4. Work hard and don’t expect others to hold your hand.  No one is going to do it for you.  Be proactive in establishing the resources to help you. Lend a helping hand to others and be generous in sharing your knowledge.
  5. Fail, learn and move on.  If it doesn’t work, learn from it and keep moving forward.  Don’t regress and dwell on the “good old days”. 
  6. Love deeply.  Open your heart.  Embrace family and friends with great fervor and undivided attention.  In this circle, you will lead and be led.
  7. Have crazy fun.  Need I say more?

This book had the most profound impact on how I embraced leadership

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