One thing that I have learned recently is the importance of self-care. This relates to all aspects of your life, such as family, health, fitness, relationships, employment, etc. It is extremely important to make sure that you are in a positive mindset before trying to help anyone in life. This is no different than leadership. You must learn how to lead yourself before you can be there to lead others. Leadership is a challenging task already so don’t make it harder by skipping over this concept.
“The hardest person you will ever have to lead is yourself (Bill George, True North)." It requires us to be honest with ourselves about the experiences we have had and how those have shaped us. Also, it means being humble about certain stories that we have created about ourselves and others based on rare experiences that could end up being false. It takes courage to take a deeper look into the makeup of how you are programmed and be able to assess what opportunities you have to improve.
A way to start this introspective journey is to find your current purpose. Once you take the time to understand the path you are on, you start to see that your daily actions are determined by this path. Next is identifying if that path is in need of alternative routes, meaning what are your opportunities to improve. Defining your goals is the next step to understanding yourself. It is important to give yourself the opportunity to think about your goals and come up with specific details. This will help you learn what is important to you in your personal and professional life. What is interesting is analyzing whether you are taking steps towards those goals or not. If not, then it may mean that you are telling yourself that you have that goal because you believe other people in your life expect that goal for you.
Leading yourself first will help you in your professional and personal life. It will build a foundation for you to be open to improvement. This means you will give yourself freedom to identify when you have opportunities to improve. Also, you will be almost eager for others to provide you constructive feedback. You will hear that feedback in a positive way through a new lens that you have created. You will seek improvement daily and this ultimately will help you lead others. They will see the effort you are making and know that they can speak up when they notice issues. It simply starts with you!
By: Nic Elliott, Executive VP of Operations at CROFT & FROST