Who is Leading?

Bill Abbate

Are you a leader? Leader of what, you ask? Of yourself! If you can’t lead yourself, how can you lead anyone else?

Let’s take a few minutes to discuss what it looks like to be a leader, especially of yourself!

The leader within

You have heard it said many times “everyone is a leader.” But what exactly does that mean?

I bet you can come up with at least one person who follows you, even if it is only yourself! But there are always others that look up to you, aren’t there? Yes, every adult on the planet is a leader in some respect.

If you are a parent, you are a leader. If you have a younger sibling, you are a leader. If you are married, you are indeed a co-leader. What makes you a leader in these instances? The fact that your children, sibling, and spouse look to you as an example in their life.

You are also a leader outside the home, although you may not have thought of it this way. Do you ever give someone advice? If so, you lead them, and they follow you, however briefly. If a neighborhood kid, someone at church, or a colleague respects you in the least, you are a leader. Give it some thought, and you can only conclude that you have led others throughout your life.

Most leaders do not have a leadership title or an official position at work or in life, but they are still leaders. Some leaders lead many people during their careers, and you can be sure they are often led by those who work for them. Any subordinate with the skill or expertise needed by a leader is considered a leader. They lead those over them with their knowledge, advice, and abilities.

A sad fact in the business world is how seldom companies invest in leadership development at different levels for their employees. This does give many an opportunity, however. If you, as an individual, will make even a small investment in personal development for yourself, you can easily change the course of your life and multiply your results significantly.

While much neglect exists in personal and corporate leadership development, nothing is stopping you from growing as the leader of your own life. Self-leadership is simply:

“Taking control of who you are and who you are becoming through learning, growth, and action.”

Who better to lead you than yourself?

Since everyone is a leader, why wouldn’t we want to learn to lead ourselves well? You are important to yourself, aren’t you?

When we lead ourselves well, we will lead others more effectively. Both you and they deserve the best leadership examples so they can become great leaders in their own and others’ lives.

The role of creating in leadership

An often overlooked facet of leading is that:

“To lead is to create.”

You create your future and more value for yourself and others as a leader. Effective leadership requires continual growth and change. How does one do this? By understanding it is up to you and you alone to move your life forward. Accept responsibility, take charge and go to work on yourself. Otherwise, you could wind up stuck or, heaven forbid, go backward!

A few observations about good leaders is they:

  • are people of planning and action
  • take lessons from the past and leave the past in the past where it belongs
  • are lifelong learners and readers
  • are mature and responsible
  • are honorable and selfless
  • know the importance of maintaining their skills and abilities
  • are not afraid to fail
  • maintain a growth mindset
  • know how to surround themselves with the right people while helping them grow
  • realize it is up to them to create the future they desire

You can sum up real leaders as those who create their future.

Become the leader in your life for life

To lead yourself requires clarity in articulating what you wish to create in yourself and your life. You must be able to see it, which requires developing a vision of who you want to become and what you want.

The more clearly you envision what you want to create in yourself, the more intentional you become, making your actions more decisive. You will then move toward creating something different, something new.

The best advice I have heard to improve your ability to lead yourself or someone else is this:

“Become more than you are.” Jim Rohn (1930–2009)

Make the conscious decision to take responsibility and take charge of creating your future.

Work on yourself, expand and deepen your thinking, gain clarity, then take action. Read books and blogs. Listen to podcasts. Watch TED and YouTube videos. Research self-leadership online. Never in the history of man has so much knowledge and free resources been available at our fingertips to help us grow and develop. What do you need to make this happen? Become curious, interested, and excited. Develop a craving to learn more about becoming all you can be!

Set a few minutes aside each day to begin investing in yourself — in your personal development as a human being and leader. Easy to say, but hard to do when we allow life to get in the way. And why do we do that? The answer is in the old saying:

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

Take practical action

Use your calendar to add an appointment with yourself daily to invest in yourself. You are worth it, aren’t you? It only takes a few minutes. Make it the same time each day. Set a goal to learn at least one new thing daily for the remainder of the year. Then do it again next year, the year after that, and the years after that!

Imagine the effect of learning one new thing per day over a year! Three hundred sixty-five things you didn’t know before. Or, if it’s easier, try to learn one new actionable thing each week. That still equates to 52 things that can change the trajectory of your life. What do you think the average person purposefully learns each year? Not much. Well, don’t become one of them!

Leading is not just about obtaining a position, such as becoming a manager or president of a company. You can develop leadership skills and practice them in each area of life. Find every opportunity to lead in your family, with your peers, bosses, subordinates, board, church, friends, online, and anywhere and everywhere. Most importantly, become the best leader of yourself you can be!

Becoming more than you are today rests squarely on your shoulders. It is your responsibility and no one else’s.

Final thoughts

Are you ready to put your life on a new course and create the future you desire? Are you ready to grow and become more than you are today? Start now!

Take one small step into the future with the leadership discipline of learning one thing daily and leading yourself.

Imagine how that one small thing can accumulate into substantial progress in a year, two, five, or ten.

Start now! Become the leader in your life!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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