Let’s do a quick recap of where we’ve come from. First we had to figure out where you are on your journey to success, in a totally honest way, which we covered in the chapter of Self-Awareness.
Next we had learned how to hold ourselves accountable for what got us to where we are today. We discussed how to create a personal development plan to map out our different responsibilities in life, what those mean in specific, day-to-day terms, and how to monitor and measure our success on aiming for and achieving those goals.
We’re able to quantify success in each of those categories and can use those to influence our behavior every day. After a few months, we’re able to look back at how we spent our time and how to audit whether or not we’re spending our time on the most important and most urgent tasks and what to do with tasks that don’t fall into that category to keep us focused on our highest and best use of our limited free time.
Now we’re going to focus on self-leadership. Self-leadership is the next step, the one that develops and implements the strategy to improve yourself.
This is where you set the vision for where you want to be. The best professional athletes visualize the game before they step on the court, seeing their path to victory in their mind. After that, all they need to do is execute on the path to victory – the hard work was visualizing what success would look like.
Similarly, you need to visualize what kind of leader you want to be. This isn’t just for tomorrow but one month, six months, even five years down the road, what skills will you have acquired? How will you have grown your circle of influence? How have you set yourself up for success – if it’s through reward systems, what do those look like?
When we talked about self-awareness and self-accountability, the name of the game was having to develop habits. Now that we’re here in self-leadership, you’re going to set what changes you’re going to put in place so that you can develop good experiences that then become habits. These habits accumulate, either positively or negatively, over time and will transform you into the leader that you focused on becoming.
Notice that I didn’t say “the leader you want to be” but the “leader you focused on becoming”. Everyone wants to be an incredible leader, but like six pack abs or a big bank account, it doesn’t matter what you want, it matters what you consistently do.
That’s where self-leadership comes in.
Imagine, conceptually, that you wanted to sail a boat to the North Pole.
Self-awareness is you understanding whether your starting point is in Maine or Mexico City. Both journeys will require very different preparation, and different help along the way, and self-awareness is going to dictate what clothes to pack, who to talk to, are there rivers nearby you can travel on?
Self-accountability is you understanding that you’re the one who somehow ended up in Mexico City or Maine, and no amount of pouting or complaining is going to change where you are right now. It also means you realize that you’re going to have to move forward if you ever want to get to the North Pole.