Recently, I moderated a panel of successful women leaders, including two Latina Congresswomen, at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Leadership Institute.
I asked each woman to think about the moment she’d first FELT like a leader.
Turns out this is a tough question and inspired me to recall MY first “moment.”
It’s 1971. I’m 12 and, thanks to Title IX, I’m playing Little League.
It’s the “big” game: After sitting in last place for a long time, my beloved team has clawed our way to second place. Today, we face the first-place team for “the title.”
We’re up by a run. The other team has a runner on first and second, no outs.
About to throw my next pitch, I scan the situation. There’s dust flying everywhere. My otherwise unflappable coach is pacing. My teammates look dejected.
And it occurs to me that I need – and can – do MORE than just throw good pitches.
So I take a BIG step out of my comfort zone, turn around to face my teammates and give the 12-year-old version of a pep talk. I want them to know that I believe in each of them and in us, as a team.
We won that game and moved into first place, something that had only been a fantasy the month before.
Then, “the moment” that empowers me still: with all of my teammates gathered round, my coach hands me the game ball and – a man of very few words – mutters, “You should have this.”
I like to think that he was telling me I’d LED that day; that I’d made a difference for the team. The team.
And, yes, I still have that ball.
Leadership Reflection for YOU: Let yourself go back to the moment that YOU first felt like a leader. Reflect. Let yourself feel those feelings all over again. And then go tell someone the story.
Let me know how it goes.