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Life Leadership: Mastering the Art of Success

I did not intentionally set out to be a leader, nor did I consider myself a leader, but the body of evidence I have in my life tells me otherwise. In every organization I have been in I have risen to leadership positions very quickly. I used to attribute it as not being able to say no or, “Drawing the short straw,” however, because this has been a repeating pattern in multiple organizations, and throughout my life, I started wondering why I was always president or chairperson over and over again. Why did people see me as a leader? I did not study leadership, nor did I seek out leadership positions. The opportunities just kept presenting themselves and I always stepped up to the challenge, even if I had no idea what I was doing.

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Mastering the Art of Success

The formula I came up with for mastering the art of success and unlocking leadership in ourselves and others applies to both leadership and to life in general. My formula is Sawubona +Ubuntu +Vision = Inspired Leadership.

Sawubona is an African word which means, “I see you. I value you. You are important to me.” Sawubona is essential for leadership because it acknowledges the inherent value and dignity of every individual. When leaders embody Sawubona, they create an inclusive and respectful environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. This fosters trust, builds strong relationships, and enhances teamwork, as individuals are more likely to contribute their best efforts when they feel recognized and appreciated. Ultimately, Sawubona in leadership leads to a more harmonious and productive culture, where diversity is celebrated, and everyone is empowered to reach their highest and greatest potential. When people feel seen, valued, and important, they are inspired to believe in themselves. I think every soul in this world is elevated when they feel like they matter. It is also imperative that we practice Sawubona with ourselves as well.  We are important and the world needs what we have to give.

The formula I came up with for unlocking leadership in ourselves and others applies to both leadership and to life in general. My formula is Sawubona +Ubuntu +Vision = Inspired Leadership.

Ubuntu is another African word which means, “I am because we are.”  Understanding the universal connection to everything, encapsulated in the concept of ubuntu, is crucial in leadership for several reasons.  First, it fosters empathy and compassion, as leaders recognize the interconnectedness of all beings and the impact their actions have on others. Secondly, it promotes collaboration and teamwork, as leaders appreciate that collective success stems from supporting and uplifting each other. Finally, it cultivates a sense of responsibility and stewardship, compelling leaders to make decisions that consider the well-being of not just their immediate circles, but of the broader community and environment, fostering inspiring and ethical leadership practices.

And vision comes from being the change we wish to see in the world.

Steve Jobs is quoted as saying, “Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

A leader's vision serves as a guiding light, inspiring and motivating both the leader and their team to work towards a common goal. It provides direction, clarity, and purpose, helping to align efforts and resources towards a shared objective. Additionally, a compelling vision ignites passion and commitment, driving individuals to overcome obstacles and pursue innovation in pursuit of the desired future state. Ultimately, a leader's vision not only charts the course for success but also instills confidence and optimism, fueling momentum and progress even in the face of challenges.

When we embrace the formula of Sawubona (I see you), Ubuntu (I am because we are), and Vision, we unlock the essence of inspired leadership that transcends professional realms and permeates every facet of our lives. By fostering genuine connections, embracing collective humanity, and charting a clear path forward, we not only lead with purpose but also elevate the human experience. Let us continue to embody these principles in our leadership journeys and beyond, for it is through this compassionate approach that we truly can be the change we wish to see in the world.


Meet the expert:

Dr. Dawn Airhart Witte, a visionary leader and catalyst for change, is known for her expertise in unlocking leadership potential both within individuals and communities. As the driving force behind transformative initiatives, including the Desire to Inspire Foundation, she empowers others to realize their innate leadership capabilities, fostering a culture of empowerment and growth. Through her inspirational guidance and unwavering commitment to service, she ignites a ripple effect of positive transformation, leaving an indelible mark on those she touches.

Dive deeper into her wealth of knowledge:



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