In my last post, I outlined some of the reasons I find self-leadership to be so difficult. My short list included:

  • The demands of others
  • Our own short-term bias
  • Failure to accept the long-term consequences
  • I’m often too lazy to do what I know I should do

So how does a leader respond? Before I share a few things I’m trying to do, I need to say, I don’t have this figured out! I’ve been leading others for more than 30 years and nothing I’ve encountered is as challenging and frustrating as trying to lead me. However, you and I can’t afford to stop trying. Every victory is a victory, no matter how slim the margin. So what can we do?? Here are some of the things that have helped me…

Decide in advance what’s important to you. Some would call these personal core values. Or, perhaps you just need to establish some priorities in your life. Decide what matters most. My friend Andy Andrews talks about the power of a Decided Heart. I still think this is the place self-leadership begins.

Focus on what’s important to you – daily. Use the short-term bias I mentioned earlier to your advantage. John Maxwell wrote an outstanding book on this topic entitled, Today Matters. I loved this book so much, we invited John to come to Chick-fil-A and teach this content to our entire organization!

Go public with your intentions. This is a way to add increased accountability and consequence to your actions. It can also provide a mechanism for encouragement. When I decided to run a marathon, I told people. This was one more reason I was willing to get up at 5:00 in the morning and run – I knew people were going to ask, “How’s the training going?” And, as I progressed on that journey, those same people could encourage me along the way. By the way, I did finish the race.

When you get off track – get back on track. Missteps are neither final nor fatal. If I wanted to exercise yesterday and I didn’t, I can start back today. If I didn’t respond appropriately in a difficult conversation, I can go back, apologize and try again. Don’t quit on what matters most to you.

Self-leadership is hard. It is time-consuming and it is essential if we’re to reach our full potential as leaders. It is not a marathon – it is a race that never ends. It is also a race worth running. Enjoy the journey! [GLS_Shield]

I’d love to hear from you on this. What do you do to enhance your self-leadership?

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.