“I have had more problems with myself than any other man I have met.” – Anonymous
Personal development may start with you but believe me, it will outlast you. The planning you do today to become a better you tomorrow is not only shaping your future but the future of the generations that follow you. The New Living Translation of the bible says in Luke 7:35 “But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.” This verse resonates deeply with all those committed to the leadership value of responsibility.
Self-leadership is defined as having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviours on the way to getting there. With this in mind, I have come to the conclusion that the first problem you must solve as a leader is the problem of you! Your leadership is a direct reflection of yourself. The good and the not so good. It’s the reality check of leadership, isn’t it? Self-leadership, therefore, is where your leadership begins.
Here is what I have learned about self – leadership and legacy thinking:
Have a healthy and maturing sense of identity. Your personal identity or sense of self is your leadership. The way you see yourself is the way you engage with others. The way you inspire yourself is the way you inspire others. The expectations you have of yourself is the expectations you have of others. The judgement you hold to yourself is the way you judge others – Your leadership is the overflow of your personal identity. This all works well when your sense of self is healthy. In other cases, this translates to the impact you can have on others.
Be realistic and optimistic about your core strengths. The principal of “thirty, sixty and hundredfold” gets discussed in ancient wisdom by a brilliant leader named Mark. He outlines that it is possible for a life to be effective on levels. Apply the same principal to capacity. You have built-in skills and capabilities (the faith world calls them gifts) that you will naturally use and gravitate to. Those skills will give you a particular outcome in life.
Personal growth is most effective when you are clear about your natural hard wiring. For example, I am more calculative and creative than verbal. More conceptual than spatial. More introverted than extroverted. I have learned my strengths and my spiritual gifts and how they interact with my passions and life themes. The point is you have to know what your natural disposition is. You must be thoroughly aware of what your core skills and competencies are. You are not good at everything and no one expects you to be. However, what you are naturally good at may I respectfully suggest you owe it to the world to be the BEST you possibly can be.
Take full responsibility for your attitude and actions. Winston Churchill said “The price of greatness is responsibility” To make progress you are proud of you must be responsible for the creation of that preferred future. The moment you begin to believe that the results you are experiencing are in some way because of someone and something else is the moment you step out of the self-leadership groove. I learned this the hard way by the way.
You abdicate your results to something you have no power over whatsoever. This is the antithesis of self-leadership. The results you are presently experiencing are the results you most want. That belief alone can be the turning point for you and your leadership. Any honest appraisal of life will turn up areas that require growth and development. This is normal. The critical issue is taking responsibility for what and how you experience in the future. If you want it to be different, do something different. If you want the generations after you to be better then start thinking and doing differently.
Have an influential group of peers to be accountable to. There are two types of emotions around outcomes. The pride that comes from a mission accomplished or the regret of a lost opportunity. Accountability is designed so you feel the pressure and pain to perform early enough to ensure you give your best effort to achieving the meaningful goal. It is that pain and pressure from people that love you or the pain and regret of having missed the moment.
Learn from the missed opportunities and moments. But by no means make it your permanent address. Develop a small, influential group of people around you who you will listen to, learn from and at times submit to for your own benefit. They love you enough to not let you off, to not let you believe your own tweets, posts and grams and to care you get to the desired future you so bravely pursue.
Never stop learning and applying new knowledge. Self Leadership requires consistent application of knowledge. As you plan your life, set your course and clarify your milestones make sure you are creating space to be inspired and instructed. Inspiration gives you the energy to make the cage. Instruction gives you the information. Combine the two and jump! Fail fast and fail forward. (Thank you, John Maxwell.)
Be quick to learn. Quick to apply. Quick to teach another. Perhaps develop the culture in your accountability group that shares new learning’s with each other as fast as you get them. Discard the unresourceful ones. Sharpen your focus on the ones that make the biggest positive. Whatever you do, always be learning and integrating new. When the time comes for you to pass on your knowledge to the next generations, trust me, you will be a fountain of wisdom because you did not choose to lead others before you led yourself. We would love to hear about your journey to a better you, drop us a comment and share with us.