You must learn self-leadership if you want to become a leader of men or women. You need to have a solid understanding of yourself before you can even think about trying to lead others. Having a solid foundation on yourself is going to be a big step in your ability to teach and develop others!
In order to become a great leader, you must be personally inspired by what it is you are doing. Without an alignment between yourself and that in which you want to lead. There is nothing. You must connect with yourself. People have a hard time following uninspired people. You as an athlete will have a hard time leading a team that does not see a spark in you.
You have to discover whatever it is inside of you that gets you up in the morning ready to hit training, hit learning, and hit living as hard as possible. To be able to inspire yourself is a must. Self-leadership demands it. No one is going to do it for you. You want to lead and the first person that should be inspired by your leadership is yourself. If you don’t believe in it no one is going to believe in it.
For me, I always used stories and anecdotes to align my thoughts with inspiration. Patience is the biggest problem in today’s society. Learning that the journey is the most important aspect of life and being ok with the grind every single day. In fact living for those days that are hard. I always come back to the story of Milo from Croton.
Milo of Croton!
The story of Milo of Croton. The young wrestler had this bull on his farm. I baby calf that was small and did not weigh all that much. Every single day the wrestler would pick up that calf onto his shoulders and walk around the fields with it. Every single day he would get up grab the calf put it on his back. He did this every single day. The calf would get heavier and heavier every day.
Just a couple ounces or pounds here. He did this all the way until the calf became a full-grown bull a massive animal. This act of continual progress made Milo Stronger than everyone in the village all while just pushing the limit a couple extra pounds a day.
This mindset shows you have you can bring success to your life. Simply by doing the things you need to do. Slowly but surely you will be on the road to success. Keep working hard, inspire yourself first in order to inspire others later!
Every self-help guru harps on goals. Why it is in important to have your own goals, to write them down, to keep them fresh in your mind. They are all right in this aspect. You need to have goals. Without goals you are lost in a sea of youtube, facebook, twitter and a myriad of other distractions. Your goals should be a guiding light in the midst of all this social media fog. They should be the beacon that drives all your actions.
People respond to inspired leaders. They also respond to people who have proven that they are goal oriented. People who have aspirations and have a vision of the future tend to come off as successful already without even having reached success yet. Now the image is not the biggest thing but having the confidence to know where you want to be is going to come across to others whether you want to believe it or not.
Make your goals both big and small. Make your goal both immediate as well as deep into the future. There is nothing wrong with knowing where you want to be 5-10 years down the road. In fact, it is imperative to self-leadership. Simply know that you need to be setting that immediate goal. Those immediate goals are the footsteps that were you to those long-term goals. Stay focused but also acknowledge where you want to be down the line!
What do you stand for, what is ok and what is not ok, and what do you believe in? All of these questions must be answered by you. Your personal ethical code is going to be what drives your actions moving forward. Ethic on the outside may seem cut and dry, black and white if you will. It is to a point. You have to decide for yourself what is going to be allowed into your world, and what you’re going to allow to go out into the world. For me, I ask myself “what would grandpa think?” Setting an ethical code is an important step in developing self-leadership.
A very simple question but a very powerful one. My grandpa was an extremely hard worker. Just like most grandpas were. They grew up in a time where working was full of pride. Work was what they had to do because they had a mission to feed their families. They loved to get out there and come home tired. They seem to have the greatest knowledge and they tend to know the best ways to be a human being. So when I am in a dilemma I seek the counsel of my late grandfather. Would he approve or would he be disappointed? That is how I guide my decision making. How you form your ethical code is completely personal. One that needs to be done with great thought.
What gets you going? What is your motivation? You may be inspired to do work but what is that moves you? Again questions that need to be answered. We live in an age where people have a hard time staying focused on one thing at a time. Motivation of self is a good indicator of self-leadership
You need to have the internal motivation to get up in the morning. You need to be able to get up without having to listen to some motivational youtube video. Some Instagram post. Or some fancy facebook status. All of these things are external. They can vanish tomorrow. What will be the thing or things that get you out of bed and getting to work on your goals? Now, this may all sound absurd.
Your just an athlete. Or your just a student. However, you are a human being. You will eventually lose something or someone. You will have no choice but to find it within yourself to get after it. There is no better time than now to find what it is that motivates you. What is it inside you that you can call upon to get on the path now.
Holding yourself accountable, or taking ownership of yourself and things around you is a big part of becoming a leader. If you know you have made a mistake, missed a practice, did try hard, took a day off, or any other misgiving you need to call yourself out on it. Hold yourself to a higher standard. You need to own the mistakes you make. You must own your world in order to gain self-leadership.
Being a human, you are going to mess up from time to time. Human beings do that. What is not okay is pawning it off on others, making excuses for yourself, and not taking responsibility for your actions.
Personal accountability is about taking the time to follow through with your words. If you tell your team, tribe, company, or organization that you are going to do something. You better do it. If you don’t you are setting a horrible example for those that follow you. Make sure that you a representative, an ambassador for your team at all times. Hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else on the team! Always push yourself up in order to push your team up!