Can you lead yourself? If not, don’t expect others to follow you

Author, life coach, and motivational speaker T...

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To be a better leader, the first thing you need to do is to learn to lead yourself. Leadership and learning to lead yourself go together. If you cannot learn this important skills, you will not be able to lead others. Below are some ideas on how to develop this skill of internal leadership.

Ask: “what is the right thing to do?”. Then do it!


Learn to guide your choices, big and small, by asking yourself: “What is the right thing to do?”. And then do it.

At first, it may take extra time. Thereafter, as you will continue with this activity, the new healthier habits will form and you will not need to spell this out question to yourself. You will do “the right thing” by default.

Moreover, as the habit develops, it will become easier and easier, and you will begin to feel and see the difference it makes in your life.

Remember that, most of the time, you already know what is the right thing to do. The trick is in actually doing it. This is what separate top performers at work from under-achievers, great life partners from inferior ones and straight-A students from C students. Imagine the difference it will make in your life if you actually do it?

More importantly, you are doing it and not just expecting others to do the right thing. You are behaving as you expect others to behave. You are taking steps to effectively lead yourself.

Determine the “musts” in your life


This advice is intuitive but was clearly verbalized by Tony Robbins. The reason some people do not go above a certain physical weight or the reason some students do not get B’s but only A’s is because a certain weight or certain academic performance is a “must” for them.

Everyone has things they should do. They know they should do it, they know how to do it, but they just cannot find strength in themselves to do it. The reason for this is because it is a “should” for them, not a “must”. When something is a “must” for you – failure is not an option.

Therefore, examine your life and determine which aspects of your life must be classified as “musts”. Then reinforce those “musts” every day as an activity where “failure is not an option”, until it becomes second nature. Once you break the old habit – based on research old habits take 21 days to break – the new approach will feel more natural to you than the old approach. This simple technique can significantly contribute to success in your life.

For example, imagine that instead of “you should study at least 5 hours a day” you determine that “you MUST study at least 5 hours a day”. Then make sure that you follow it vigorously. Do not allow yourself any excuses.

You are developing your discipline now, so you have to be strict with yourself. You will see that in 2 or 3 weeks it will become a habit. You will also notice how your new positive habit brings you to new levels of achievement, which will give you further strength to continue with your new positive habit.

Thereafter, as you develop the new “must” in your life, you will have the first victory to keep on giving you strength in disciplining yourself.

Determining “musts” in your life and vigorously ensuring that you keep up with them is part of an effort to lead yourself. Incidentally, the goal to lead yourself needs to be a “must” for you as well.

Use one small improvement as leverage for change


Part of the “lead yourself” endeavor is understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and determining the causes of your strengths and weaknesses. If leading yourself and leadership are not your strong qualities at the moment, you need to change your beliefs. Your beliefs affect your actions and your actions affect your results, which further reinforce your beliefs.

If you have a belief that you will not succeed in your “lead yourself” goal – you need to change this belief. One way to change this belief is to achieve a result that will strongly contradict this belief. It does not need to be a big change. It can be something very simple. Just do it to prove to yourself that you can change and that your belief is wrong. Your mind needs evidence.

After you succeed with providing contradictory evidence to your belief, you have a leverage point. Every time you feel that you just cannot do something, always think back to this example to remember what is possible.

For example, take an area which is a struggle for the majority of people. A good example can be waking up in the morning. So many people struggle to wake up in the morning. If you will be a person who always wakes up at the very same time (whichever time this may be) every single morning, on weekdays and weekends, you will have at least one result which contradicts your current belief of not being able to lead yourself.

It may sound like a really simple example, yet it means something to you and that is what is important. You need simple examples to build your confidence and this creates a snowballing effect.

Above are just some thoughts on improving leadership and attaining your “lead yourself” goal. This will give you a good start. Remember that it will not be easy. If it were easy – everyone would be successful.

Now that you have read the article, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Can you trust you to lead yourself?
  • If you cannot lead yourself, why are you learning to lead others?

Take some time to think about this and write down the answers. Use the guide provided above and develop an action plan to lead yourself.

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