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How To Go From A Follower to a Leader – The Art of Team

A few weeks ago I was asked to speak at the Annual Aviation Leadership Forum. The theme of this year’s event was Followers to Leaders – The Art of Team, which highlighted how efficient and successful teams all have successful leaders at their helm. Needless to say, I was honoured to be asked to present.

One of the take home messages from the forum was that true success ultimately comes from a leader, or a cohesive team of leaders, who strengthen their team(s) by putting forward their best leadership qualities. In other words, in order to be a successful leader, one must have the ability to highlight the strengths of their fellow team members, as well as recognize their weaknesses so that their team can work together to overcome them.

I jumped at the opportunity to speak at this forum because I was excited to have the chance to explain what BIM’s REALLY all about, and what leading a team means to me.

The best part about this experience was that it forced me to take a step back and realize how lucky I am to have such an inspiring team surrounding me. I am truly privileged to work with these amazing people everyday, and dedicate this post to my awesome staff: Chad, Jen, Kelly, Nicole, Meghan, Andrei, Kalen, and Leo. I mean it when I say that BIM would not be what it is today if I didn’t have the support of this incredible team of talented individuals.

Have a read through my talk below to learn exactly what I mean by this. 🙂


My Aviation Leadership Forum Talk


Balance In Motion is a 2,500 square foot gym where we specialize in injury rehab, general fitness, and athletic performance.


But what is BIM… actually?

It’s where passion meets purpose: for my clients, my staff, and myself.

My studio is a where goals are set high, dreams become reality, and everyone goes beyond better.

Go Beyond Better is our mission, and my mission to anyone that enters my life.

Building my company has been the most rewarding, yet toughest thing that I have ever done in my life. People often think that opening a business is hard because of the long hours, the risks involved, and the seemingly endless piles of tasks to be done – which can be draining. But for me putting in the work to build my business wasn’t the hardest part. What I found most difficult was coming to terms with my own self-doubt. With the help of some truly amazing people and a lot of self-reflection, I realized that I was the only person stopping me from achieving the success that I truly wanted. I had to learn to look past my self-doubt and fear, and become comfortable with pushing myself outside of my comfort zone… and most importantly, I had to learn how to ask for help. No small feat, I assure you.

Learning how to ask for help made me realize the potential in other people. It also gave me a new appreciation and gratitude for the people who were helping me. I know I would not be the person I am today, nor would BIM be the gym that it is today, if it wasn’t for the amazing team that helped me get here.

I make a point to tell my team, annoyingly often, that I appreciate them and value their dedication to me and the business they’ve helped me grow. This mind-set led me to the biggest turning point in my life. It allowed me to stop running my business on desperation, and sit down and write out what I REALLY wanted out of it.

I took the time to write up my vision, set some big goals, and outline exactly how I was going to get there. This made me realized two things: who I needed to become, and who I needed to surround myself with to make my goals a reality.

My greatest inspiration has been my staff, my clients, my business coaches, and my 3-legged dog, Ellie. Each has taught me to take action on my passions, and has shown me that you can make an impact, whether it’s in your own life or the people around you by doing so.

These individuals have taught me that we are stronger together than we would ever be apart. I have also learned through experience that whatever you define as success becomes more meaningful when you can share it with those who are a part of your vision.

My dog, Ellie has shown that being strong in the greatest moments of weakness takes moving forward with everything that you have, in that moment, instead of looking back on what you had at one point.

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For me being a leader has nothing to do with leadership, and everything to do with surrendering. When you think of leadership you often associate it with power and strength. But really being a leader means that you are willing to embrace all of your weaknesses, and ask for help when you need it.

The best leaders are able to admit what they are not, and committed to doing whatever it takes to become a better version of themselves. Leading from the front enables you to inspire people to set goals that are not dictated by their fears and self-doubt, and to ultimately give people the opportunity to excel at what they are most passionate about.

A true leader supports others and see’s potential. We all have self-doubt, and often are the only person holding ourselves back from accomplishing the things we really want in our life and our careers. A good leader recognizes strengths and is willing to believe in others when they don’t believe in themselves.

Being successful for some is characterized by making it to the top of their company, or achieving a monetary goal, or perhaps being able to excel at a skill they’ve worked really hard to obtain and become proficient at. For me success is more than that – it’s about being authentic at accomplishing the things I’ve determined are really important to me.

If there’s one thing that being an entrepreneur has taught me, it’s that my weakness are my biggest opportunities to find strength in others—because when you do that, great things can happen.


I stay accountable to my own definition of a leader by following this self-checklist:


1. Stop making yourself a victim.

It’s tempting to blame others for the things that have wronged you, but most often you are the one to blame for the things you’re not happy with in your life, and your business.

So if you don’t like something in your life, change it.


2. “XYZ” won’t make you happy.

If you are living your life in such a way that you think you will be happy when you make ______ amount of money, lose _______ number of pounds, are in a relationship with ________ , you risk never actually being happy, no matter what you have.

Learn to be happy with who you are and what you have RIGHT NOW.

Let’s be honest, what is success without happiness?


3. Live EVERY day like it’s a game day.

Life is your performance and it’s your job to dominate it.

  • Prepare for IT with your mind-set
  • Fuel for IT with your nutrition
  • Train for it with movement
  • Rest for IT by making time for recovery


4. Are you “interested” in your goals or are you committed?

When you are interested in something you will do it when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to it, you will do it no matter what.


5. Stop hitting the snooze button.

What if you got up 30 minutes earlier every day? This alone can change your life.

Morning is the time when you have the most control, and can have a compound effect of how the rest of your day play’s out.


6. Cut out or cut back on the rift raft.

Quite simply: surround yourself with people who inspire you and challenge you to be a better version of yourself.


7. Stop being afraid to go all into something.

What’s the worst thing that can happen from not holding yourself back? Half efforts don’t produce half the results. In fact, they don’t even produce results.


8. Do one thing at a time.

Stop multitasking. It doesn’t work. Do one thing at a time and you will be 100% more successful than trying to do everything at once. Trust me.


9. Do things in spite of fear and doubt.

By acting in spite of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions you will be able to get that much closer to where you want to be. Within reason of course. Be smart about it.


10. Believe you deserve your success.

This is hugely important. Understand and find comfort in the fact that if you didn’t deserve it, you wouldn’t have it. If you don’t believe in yourself (I mean, truly believe) you will find a way to sabotage all that you have achieved, every single time.


11. Be proud of the person you have fought to become.

I don’t think this one requires any further explanation.


12. Be okay with doing things that make you feel uncomfortable.

If you’re not doing things that scare you a little bit, then you’re not pushing yourself anywhere close to your potential. Pushing through resistance is how you will grow.


13. Remember that the world is a mirror.

When people annoy or anger you, remember that the world is a mirror and what irks us most about others are typically the qualities we don’t like about ourselves.


14. Appreciate fear and vulnerability, but learn the difference between the two.

Fear is the belief that something will cause you pain. While being vulnerable is risking being in pain for the chance at something great. I think we both know which is the better option. 😉


15. Stop saying, “I’m busy”

Don’t try to glorify being busy, make time for things that are important to you. “I’m too busy” is the adult version of, “the dog ate my homework.” In other words, it’s an excuse that will not serve you in the end, so stop saying it.


16. Dream big.

Don’t be afraid to dream big, life is too short to hold back or waste time.

Trust that the universe doesn’t always give you what you want, but it will give you what you need. 🙂



*A special thank you to Eric Saczuk for sending me the photos from this event. Check out the rest of his work HERE!


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About the author

Andrea Lawson has been a practicing Kinesiologist since 2008 and is the founder of Balance in Motion, a training facility created for people to rehabilitate from injuries, improve athletic performance, and crush their health and fitness goals. She is passionate about providing a space where anyone can step foot in and feel both comfortable and productive no matter the injury, age, or stage they may be at in their fitness journey. With this vision, Andrea has witnessed her clients achieve goals they never thought possible, and gain unmatched levels of confidence in themselves, helping them to Go Beyond Better.