Leadership Is by Choice, Not Chance

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We live much of our lives with society telling us what to do, people telling us how to think, technology and the media telling us what to buy, and the culture telling us all the ways we need to make ourselves better.

The last of our freedoms lies is in the choosing for ourselves who we are in the present moment.

Choice is freedom. It’s about knowing what we excel at, what we are strong at, in what our heart inclines us to, and it leads us to carry those things forward and share them with others—not by compulsion, but by our own inner inclinations.

It’s choice, not chance, that will determine our leadership.

Leadership begins with taking response-ability—responding with our abilities and with our choices about how to use those abilities.

It’s our choice to make a difference with our gifts. And that choice is composed of the smaller choices that we make every day.

Choose self.  When we spend time learning, discovering, exploring, engaging in self-development—we are choosing leadership.

Choose purpose. When we align ourselves with our purpose and values so we can be of service—we are choosing leadership.

Choose skills. When we contribute our talents and skills to bring value and support others—we are choosing leadership.

Choose vision. When we articulate a vision and work to get people to move there—we are choosing leadership.

Choose courage. When we look fear in the face and demonstrate courage and tenacity because we believe in the greater good—we are choosing leadership.

Choose results. When we conceptualize solutions—maybe even before others are aware there is a problem—and we are able to articulate an action that needs to be taken—we are choosing leadership.

A leader is not born; a leader makes the conscious decision to lead.

A life of leadership is not a once-in-a-lifetime decision—it’s one that you make over and over again. It grows out of a simple realization:

Things do not just happen. They are chosen to happen.

I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime—and by doing so, we make the impact we are meant to make.

 Leaders try to be the best person they can be by making the best choices they can to bring the best of their talents to the service of the world.

Lead from within:  Right now, you have a choice about what you are becoming. Believing in yourself, knowing yourself, wanting to be of service to others, having vision—these things are at the root of all leadership. What will you choose?



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Martina

    29. Apr, 2014

    Leadership is a choice, whether it comes with a title or not. It is also a choice to commit to being a good, responsible and responsive leader.

    Leadership is being the best that we can, and being responsible for adding value to the lives of others.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Terri Klass

    29. Apr, 2014

    We do have the choice to be leaders and share our gifts and dreams with others.

    When we lead and share our narratives and lessons with others we are giving them the opportunity to be leaders and grow.

    The choice of leadership is not to be taken lightly as it comes with importance. Above all we must remain authentic, honest and loving.

    Thanks Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Garren

    29. Apr, 2014

    …and so it is.
    Excellent post Lolly.
    Thank you…Garren

    Reply to this comment
  4. Ruth Schwartz

    29. Apr, 2014

    Lovely. I also believe that while we chose all the above, when we have it in our bones and aren’t ultra aware of it, we are the embodiment of leadership. Small l not big L. Thanks again Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
  5. LaRae Quy

    29. Apr, 2014

    This post really hit home, Lolly.

    “The last of our freedoms lies is in the choosing for ourselves who we are in the present moment.”

    So true…we are empowered moment to moment by the ownership of who we truly are, in our circumstances and with others.

    Thanks so much for sharing. And have an amazing day 🙂

    Reply to this comment
  6. Beth Tabak

    29. Apr, 2014

    Another quality piece, Lolly.

    I am looking forward (as my role as a single mom of 2 busy kids shifts – now 17 and 20) to the new leadership choices ahead. It is a very exciting time!

    I especially connected with ‘who you are becoming’ as I feel something percolating inside. Yet it also feels like getting back to who I have always been, if you add in extensive and continued growth.

    Thank you for continuing to share your wisdom. It always stimulates a good pondering session.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Tal Shnall

    29. Apr, 2014

    I agree that leadership begins with a choice to lead. I like how you added the actions and behaviors into each choice because once we choose, what action are we taking toward it?

    Reply to this comment
  8. Steve Bell

    29. Apr, 2014

    Truly enjoyed this post!

    I plan on using this for my employees that think they want to be leaders (by title or not).

    Reply to this comment
  9. sridhar laxman

    29. Apr, 2014

    Love the title of this post, simple and powerful
    The quality of choices people make determines the quality of their lives. Leaders can choose to inspire or dictate , choose to empower or lose employees, to stand for something or become obsolete, I believe choices makes the man (or woman) and not the other way around.

    Reply to this comment
  10. IME

    30. Apr, 2014

    Very good read on the fundamental choices we make to be leaders. Especially where you say “Things do not just happen, they are chosen to happen” I think it’s important to understand the power our choices have in terms of leadership.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Bill

    30. Apr, 2014

    When I read your words – the words as to what society, people, the media, our bosses tell us what to do, I cannot help but think of what separates the truly great leaders. They are the ones who always do the right thing rather than just doing things right, which as you know is not always the same thing.

    Thank you, Lolly

    Reply to this comment
  12. Dan

    01. May, 2014

    “Choice is freedom.” Well said, Lolly. In many ways we can distract ourselves from the the critical choices that reveal our true selves and our leadership. And yet, freedom lies just before us, a red carpet once we choose to walk it.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Panteli Tritchew

    02. May, 2014

    We tend to have a complex relationship with the notion of Choice. What should be a liberating concept can be a constraint and a boundary for some. I struggle with balancing the tension between the freedom to choose and familial, professional, and cultural expectations.

    “The last of our freedoms lies is in the choosing for ourselves who we are in the present moment.” A powerful and liberating thought, Lolly. I plan to make this last of our freedoms the first of my Notes-to-Self. Grateful!

    Reply to this comment
  14. Chery Gegelman

    15. Jun, 2014

    Lolly, My cells were dancing as I read this post!

    Partially because the longer I live as an expat the more I see great wisdom and confidence flowing from leaders that encourages others to think and to choose.

    …And partially because I am more and more aware of the unconscious choices that I have made and increasingly determined to make conscious ones!

    Reply to this comment
  15. Dave Brinkman

    01. Oct, 2015

    Great post Barry. For what its worth you were a great leader.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Rajesh Chura

    04. Jun, 2016

    Great .

    Leadership ,of course,is once internal quality to visualize and deliver to the world at large or to a country,a society or a cluster of people the path ahead .Its a continuos process and is the outcome once efforts. Rajesh Chura,Kolkata,India.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Sanaul Haque

    07. Jan, 2017

    Avail all Chances : Successfully

    Reply to this comment
  18. Bryan Lutz

    12. Mar, 2017

    Lolly, I appreciate that you’ve said choosing self is a leadership choice. Sometimes I forget about this but it ends up creating “mission drift” in light of others purposes. Self-improvement is important I think. And I spend a bunch of time learning how to listen. Perhaps listening is a courageous?

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      15. Mar, 2017


      Listening is powerful, courageous, profound and most of all a choice.

      Thanks for your comment. It made me think about listening on the another level.

      Reply to this comment
  19. Raghunandan SV

    06. May, 2018

    Leadership is about leading and inspiring the team proactively. Awesome thoughts Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Andres

    12. Dec, 2019

    I love this! In fact, I wrote a book called “Leader by Choice”. Everything starts with a decision even the decision to lead.

    Well done!


    Reply to this comment

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