Self leadership is the hardest part of leadership. In so many other “leader roles” measurement and accountability are open for all to see. If you are the leader of a small group of people who keep finding themselves in trouble, your leadership or lack there of is evident.
If you manage a large firm, an athletic team or your own business the results you deliver are one of many measurements the world can see to determine the effectiveness of your leadership.
But when measuring your effectiveness in self leadership,
you have to first be honest with you. Most of us struggle in this area. We can easily provide all the proof needed for others to convince them we are right on track with our plans and goals, but deep down inside we know the little white lies, the misleading, that fudging of facts and details. The actual results will eventually catch up.
There are three areas where self leadership requires a high level of personal integrity and accountability to avoid self deception: habits, attitude and internal conversation or “self-talk”.
We all have habits that we don’t really think much about. Habits that drive us when we are not paying close attention. These habits show up when we are not being intentional about the things we say, the foods we eat, the way we handle our money. We must learn to be a vigilant observer of habits and their results in our day to day life.
Attitude is that set of beliefs about ourself, our surroundings, our circumstances that acts as a decision filter. Before we act or react to an event, our attitude informs our decision about what to say or do. Perhaps someone steps in line in front of you at the grocery store. You have four items and a short lunch break and their basket is brimming. Your attitude toward others will determine whether to explode and turn their basket over, calmly say “Excuse me, but I only have a few items, would you mind if I go before you?” Or perhaps simply walk away and find another line. Attitude can sneak up on you because it dwells in the subconscious mind which is very fast and sneaky. I find rehearsing what I am about to say or do inside my head for a few seconds allows me to become aware of my attitude and thus keep it in check.
There is a tremendous thought cycle going in inside our heads every waking AND NON WAKING minute of our human existence. Thoughts, notions and ideas that we allow to persist inside our head are busy building, expanding and growing like a forest. When these thoughts surface into our consciousness they generally take the form of words. When they stay inside our head they are self talk, when they escape, whether controlled or uncontrolled they can powerfully change someone’s life – for better or for worse. Our focus for today is self talk, the words we say repeatedly to ourself. We must understand that these words silently and persistently inform our attitude. These words tell us whether we should explode and turn over the grocery cart or silently walk away. The way we react over time to the silent words in our thought life, whether we take action on them or not, forms our habits. When gathered with the actions and behaviors of others, these are known as our circumstances.
Here’s the bottom line. If you don’t like your current circumstances, take some time to honestly reflect and ask yourself a few tough questions.
“Am I being honest about the silent little thoughts inside my head?”
“When a notion rises up? How do I chose to deal with it?”
“Am I aware and intentional about the things I say and do every day?”
If you want to be a great leader of others, you must first become a great leader of you. When you become more aware and intentional about decisions made around habits, attitudes and self-talk you will find yourself leading you much more clearly and people may chose to follow you whom you never suspected. That is excellent life leadership.
Excellent Life Leadership Seminar will be May 16-17. Please join us to learn and practice even more in the area of personal and group leadership.