Unlocking Your Leadership Puzzle: Celebrate Your Distinctive Role and Create a Powerful Legacy

Leadership – the whole, complete picture of it – is like one giant puzzle. And every leader is born with their own piece – no one person’s contribution is replaceable. When we put them all together, we see the grand design in its fullness.

I say this because as leaders, it is easy for us to compare ourselves to others. We have heard it said many times that comparison is the thief of joy, but we do it anyway – we undervalue ourselves because we do not have this experience, that education, those credentials, or something else or other.

But every leader has something that we offer our teams, our organizations, and our communities that no one else can. No one has lived what we have lived, learned what we have learned, led those whom we have led.

Comparison isn’t just the thief of joy. It is an arbitrary limit that we place on ourselves. The busier we are trying to make our leadership journey look like someone else’s, the less likely we are to develop our own to its fullest potential.

My own leadership journey began almost 15 years ago. And it has not been perfect, but no leadership journey is. On the road from technical team leader to leadership coach and consultant, I have seen many of Dr. John Maxwell’s teachings proven powerful. But as I consider my experience, five stick out to me:

1. Never work a day in your life.

In The Leadership Handbook, Dr. Maxwell writes,

“Find something you like to do so much that you would gladly do it for nothing; then, learn to do it so well that people are happy to pay you for it.”

Or in other words, if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

What do you love?

Many ask themselves this question as we are exiting secondary school, and then never again. But too many follow a passion all the way to a role that they were never passionate about to begin with. Organizations often promote great technicians to poor leaders.

So, what do you love? And do you feel you are where you are called to be?

2. Get in the zone and stay there.

If you’ve flown before or you’re in aviation, you might be familiar with the idea of a tailwind – a wind blowing at the back of a plane, helping to move it forward.

We all have our tailwinds. They are our strengths, the areas in which we are naturally gifted. And when we lead from those areas of strength, we get more done and have more influence. 

This was difficult for me to grasp as a young leader, but I have seen it time and again in my consulting experience: effective leaders know their strengths and utilize them. 

3. Keep learning to keep leading.

Leaders set the tone for their people. And teams know to value what their leaders value. So if an organization – and its people – are going to grow, the leader must model growth. Prioritize it. Put it on the calendar. Track and measure it. And put it on display for the rest of the organization to see. 

4. Balance connecting and climbing.

Often, there are ambitious leaders who climb the ladder without taking a look to see those around them, and there are relational leaders who influence others by focusing on intentional connection. Climb too much and you will pass people by; put all your energy into connecting and you will not be able to drive your team to the next level.

Where do you land naturally? Are you a connector or a climber? Click here to find out with a free leadership assessment.

5. People will summarize your life in one sentence – pick it now.

Last August, my first child was born. One moment I was Florin and the next I was Florin, the father. And since that moment I have wondered so much about what my son’s life will look like. Who will he be? What does he love? And what am I leaving behind for him?

Along with learning to raise a child I have learned that I must decide today what I want tomorrow to look like, and act accordingly.

I’ll leave you with one final question: what do you want your leadership journey to look like? Recall the unique, irreplaceable value that you add to your people, and start thinking about what you can do today to solidify your leadership legacy.

That’s all for now.

Become your best version,


P.S. Looking for a thinking partner to help you map out your leadership goals? I have some availability on my calendar for strategy calls and I would love to help.

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