Finding Leadership Identity, Part 2

Last week I posted about the process of defining who we are at our core, by looking closely at the elements that make up our past and creating a timeline. Digging in and figuring out what brings us joy, (and what doesn’t), helps us make decisions about our future. It gives us a clearer understanding of the culture and context in which we can feel like ourselves, do our best work (and play), and thrive.

If you are choosing between two opportunities, a timeline like this, and the information you gather from it, will help point you toward one choice or another. If you are trying to dream up a future, the timeline will remind you of what situations in the past felt most “right” to you. This week continues that theme, this time looking at what is happening in our lives now. Here are some questions we can ask ourselves about our lives right now that can help us to define–and, if we choose to, redefine–our leadership identity.

Questions for the present:


What are you most joyful about in your life and work today? What brings you joy every day? Every week? Every month?

Pay closer attention to a particular moment of joy. When you are feeling joy in the moment, what does that moment look like? What does it feel like? Who is there? What are your surroundings like in that moment?

Can you come to any conclusions from these moments? What do you need more of? What do you do? What are you good at? What impact are you having?

How can you create more of these authentic moments for yourself?

Identity to others

What is your leadership identity right now?

Why are people are drawn to you?


What do you stand for? What matters most to you and why? What difference do you want to make in the world?

Contexts and situations

What contexts do you love most? Which people do you love to be with? Who brings out the best in you? Who do you depend on?


What gets in your way of being your best?

When have you struggled?

What situations are hard for you?

And, looking at how you have answered these questions about the present and past, does a picture emerge of who you are and what steps you can take to have a more joyful and fulfilling year?

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