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Ahmad Imam shares his two cents on the key attributes of an influential leader

It is a common belief that successful individuals only hail from wealthy or privileged backgrounds, and thus require little to no struggle to achieve success.

However, of late self-made leaders have debunked this myth entirely. We have the recent example of Ryan Breslow – the founder of ‘Bolt’ Software Company, who made it to Forbes’ Billionaire List. Or Pedro Franceschi and Henrique Dubugras – named as the world’s youngest self-made billionaires who were also college dropouts. It is high time people start realizing one doesn’t need wealth to flourish but rather vigour, determination, and an optimistic outlook on life.

With humble beginnings, Ahmad Imam started his journey at a pizzeria as a dishwasher. It wasn’t until he was gifted a 25 disc CD set ‘Personal Power II’ by Tony Robbins that he was challenged and compelled to realise his potential. That CD set turned out to be the greatest gift he never knew he needed.

Ahmad Imam went from a deflated, incredibly demotivated, and shy kid to a man who had this sudden burst of energy that enabled him to achieve the unthinkable. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Imam is the perfect example of a ‘self-made’ leader.

Overcoming the hardships in life, he is now a global presenter, entrepreneur, social media personality, and Founder and CEO of the renowned elite social media agency ‘The Executive Brand.’

Ahmad Imam’s highly exclusive social media agency provides its clients with opportunities to amplify their personal brand, visibility, and become an authority in their field.

With the world going through a significant shift and entering the fourth industrial revolution, where technology plays a vital role, a solid social standing and personal brand hugely contributes to amplifying influence and authority.

‘The Executive Brand’ helps CEOs, executives, sophisticated entrepreneurs, and high-profile individuals to connect to their ideal audiences by developing a thorough brand blueprint and showcasing their knowledge and expertise through compelling content.

One might wonder how such an enterprising, young individual was able to achieve such a dramatic transformation. According to Imam, it was not as easy a task as it may appear to be. Reframing your outlook on life, challenging your deepest fears, and evolving from a shy, awkward kid with low self-worth to a courageous and driven man was a 15-year transformation. It was not an overnight success story but rather a painstakingly slow climb uphill.

Hence, Imam provides a synopsis of his key learnings to getting to the top of the ladder and becoming an influential leader:

Seize Opportunities 

This is essential in all aspects of life, both personally and professionally. Opportunities for growth do not present themselves often, however when they do, you must take advantage. Often it means taking a leap of faith and growing wings on the way down. Investing in a mentor or coach is the most effective way to expedite your growth journey. Find someone you admire that is in a position you wish to be in, that has travelled the path you are likely to travel and ask them for directions.

Have Strong Values

Imam quotes an incident where he was at a crossroads in his life. He had to choose between walking away from a lucrative position at a toxic business or keep the respected position and compromise his core values and ethics. Despite the impact financially, as well as the impact on his career and personal responsibilities, Imam chose to stand by his values and left the organisation. This decision was the turning point in his life, not only leading to bigger and better opportunities, but to making a commitment to himself that every decision he makes, and every relationship he builds and fosters to be in alignment with his core values.

Lean On Your Strengths

People tend to feel dysmorphic about themselves and notice the negatives first. Ahmad Imam was a victim of this unfortunate phenomenon himself with years of doubt and negative self talk. However he learned that self-hate only brings one down and contributes nothing to realising their full potential. Understand your weaknesses and work to develop them, but lean on your strengths, the innate skills that amplify you. Be confident, nurture your strengths and continue to develop your gifts until you become a master of your craft. Your strength should be something that not only comes naturally but something that you truly enjoying doing. As Ahmad states “You were born to be real, not perfect,”.

Turn Passion into Opportunity

Make use of your talents, hobbies, and passions, and find a way to generate revenue from them – it is as simple as that. Do not let people take advantage of your expertise. In the capitalist world that we live in today, it is essential to not allow our capabilities to be exploited. Make connections, find mentors, and communicate with individuals having similar interests as you – explore your flair and the monetary benefits that come with it.

Follow Your Instincts and Intuition

Intuition is a gut feelings that is developed through years of experience and knowledge of one’s self. If one figures out a way to follow through with these ‘gut feelings’ without getting their emotions or ego involved, they can significantly benefit from the confidence and creativity it generates. However, not all instincts can be correct – one needs to learn from their mistakes and use that experience and wisdom to develop and fine tune their intuition.

And Finally – GIVE

According to Imam, this quality is something that has stayed with him throughout. He believes in the concept of sharing, be it knowledge, experience, support, etc. The key to success is in giving. “Giving value. Giving truth. Giving time. Giving support. Giving encouragement. Giving content. Giving education. Giving entertainment. Giving vulnerability. Giving confidence. And giving a huge part of yourself every single day,”

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