The past few years leadership has been the buzzword, and everyone seems to have an elaborate opinion about ‘what it takes to be a leader’. The best definition that I’ve heard and that resonates with me most is ‘be first’, quite simply, lead. Leaders lead. It’s simple and really drives home the point.

Everyone can be a leader, even if they are not aware of it. Parents are leaders for their children. What parents say, and how they act around their kids seems to have the biggest influence on the traits and beliefs that their children will develop.

How this relates to exercise and living a healthy lifestyle…

I often hear people talk about the fact that they are worried what others will think of them for trying a new exercise regime or, a new diet. Or, that they don’t think their husband, wife, kids, colleagues will be ‘on-board’ with the approach and therefore, they won’t take any action. 

If you are motivated by a particular lifestyle choice that seems to make sense to you, then I encourage you to do it anyway. Prove to yourself, not to anyone else, that it is either good or not good for you. Either outcome will inform your next step and empower your decisions around what is best for you. Our health and lifestyle should be approached as a long term journey. We must never stop or reverse, but rather learn from experience and course correct along the way.

If you’re already doing something that is working well for you and you want to inspire or inflict a change in your social circles, then simply lead by example. I recognize that that seems cliche, but the practice of influence is much more challenging than some believe it to be. Generally we have good intentions; and seek to help the people we care about. This however, can very easily be perceived as preaching, usually with the opposite outcome of what we intend.

Instead, invite those you wish to influence to observe what it is you do. If they show interest in your approach and the success you’ve had, then share with them the positive outcomes it has awarded you. This is true influence in my mind, and should prove to inspire people more than telling them your opinion about what you think they should do.

Take care of yourself

Take care of yourself to the best of your ability. Make some lasting, positive changes and your success alone will likely influence others. At the very least it will spur curiosity about what is making you so thin, strong, healthy and vibrant. 

I think this can have reciprocal impact as well. If someone is inspired by what you are doing, and they jump on board and have success, it reinforces your actions as well. Win win. 

Most people don’t like to be told what to do, but everyone likes to be inspired. Go forth and inspire. 🙂