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How to Become Your Own Leader

We all lead others in one context or another – be it at work, as parents, as friends, in sport, as part of community and many other contexts.  John Maxwell says that “leadership is influence” and that “a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”.

I believe that before we can lead others though we need to be our own leaders. To be able to lead others it is important that we know ourselves, what we stand for, what is important to us (our values), where are we heading in life /work i.e. what our purpose and goals are. It is also important that we manage our own emotions and behaviour so that we can be role models and have a positive influence on others. Jim Rohn  sums it up nicely: “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly”.

So how can we become better leaders of ourselves? Try the tips below – I would love to know how you go…

What you focus on is what you get: when I am mountain biking I try to avoid big stones. I find that every time I see one and focus on it I roll right over it and have sometimes fallen off as a result.  I have learnt to notice the stones, deal with them and keep my focus on where I want to go. When I do this I never roll over one and I reach my goal much faster and with much less pain!

If you apply this to life, I’m not happy in my job anymore (the stone), could become I would like a new challenge at work. I’ll never get that promotion, I don’t have all the skills could become there is an opportunity and I need to learn some new skills to take advantage of it.

Always focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want when you are thinking about where you want to be.

Language is important – use positive words and phrases and avoid negative ones, you will be amazed at the difference in your mindset and the responses you get from those around you.

Instead of  can’t, should  must , couldn’t  use can / will / want to

Instead of l hard, difficult, impossible use learning / unfamiliar  

Instead of ok, alright use excellent, outstanding

Instead of fail  use feedback and learning

Instead of but try and

Spend a few moments now thinking about where you are now and where you want to be in 6 or 12 months. Write it doen using positive language that moves you towards where you want to go, not away from where you don’t want to be.

Finally a quote that summarise leadership and I think it can be equally applied to self as to others…

A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be (Rosalynn Carter).


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