“Men and women with great vision…are able to recognize patterns when others see chaos… That’s how they spot unexploited niche opportunities. And they are passionate about their ideas, which are revolutionary ways to change the way people live their lives or the way businesses operate. When they come to me they have conviction.” Geoff Yang, Venture capitalist
In Peter Drucker’s seminal 1999 article, “Managing Oneself” he states that “Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves—their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.” What I’ve come to realize over the last few years of consulting and counseling, very few people know what they are good at, what they want from a given situation and/or person, or what they are really passionate about.
All leaders regardless of their calling want to leave a legacy, they want to accomplish something that no one else has yet achieved. This something else has to come from within. In order to inspire others, leaders must be inspired themselves. When we are looking for exceptional results, the motivation has to come from within the self. People who work from the heart will work even if they don’t have any assurance of reward. Leaders who inspire a sense of meaning and purpose offer something very exciting: vision!
Self-leadership requires that we have clarity that we know where we are going even when things are uncertain, moving fast and contain multiple distractions, which is a fact of life and business in the current global economy. The difficult part about this for many to understand is that Self-Leadership is not a five-year plan; it is a lifelong investment in personal development, which requires constant introspection and inspection. The driving force behind this desire to grow and learn can be tapped into by discovering your passion. Passion is an important part of the internal force that keeps a person curious, inspired and driven.
Many career men and women I meet understand this, but have very little idea of what drives them at a deeper level, and there seems to be an epidemic of dissatisfaction out there. To a certain extent many people operate on automatic pilot and never even dream of reaching their full potential, and instead settle for the security of what they fool themselves into believing is a “no risk” “limited risk” situation. This of course is a fallacy. For one thing, there is no security in the global capitalist market and another is that how can anyone claim that reaching your full potential can be accomplished without change. “Everyone loves innovation, but no one likes change.”
In order to improve, we have to focus on our strengths. “A person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weaknesses, let alone on something one cannot do at all.” We have to discover what we do well, how we do it and for what reasons. This may sound simple, but in fact it’s a mystery to most people.
In order to begin this journey, I would like to ask you to begin your own Self-Leadership journal. Use this journal as a strategic feedback and tracking record of your personal development and creative ideas. In order to help you get started, I have included three important modules that I use in my coaching and training.
Finding Your Talents
Begin by writing down all the words that best describe your abilities. Don’t limit yourself to the words on this list; add your own. Remember that your strengths lie in what you like.
Reading/ Analyzing/ Operating/ Managing/ Giving orders/ Discussing/ Explaining/ Preparing/ Managing/ Estimating/ Finding/ Learning by ear/ Discussing/ Clarifying/ / Taking part/ Cooperating/ Writing/ Deciding/ Mediating/ Translating/ Marketing/ Putting to use/ Simplifying/ Recruiting/ Coordinating/ Calculating/ Choosing/ Encouraging/ Changing/ Advising/ Organizing/ Predicting/ Convincing/ Evaluating/ Putting together/ Serving/ Talking/ Remembering/Ordering/ Performing/ Categorizing/ Collecting/ Acquiring/ Selling/ Creating/ Mapping/ Starting things/ Classifying/ Defining/ Communicating/ Recognizing/ Researching/ Demonstrating/ Interviewing/ Constructing/ Localizing/ Orienting/ Drawing/ Checking off/ Transferring/ Matching/ Being part of/ Questioning/ Using/ Formulating/ Reorganizing/ Giving/ Reporting/ Identifying/ Revising/ Budgeting/ Selecting/ Illustrating/ Delegating/ Overseeing/ Teaching/ Bettering/ Inspiring/ Increasing/ Repairing/ Playing/ Looking into/ Deciding/ Arranging/ Collecting information/ Entertaining/ Producing
Discover Who You Are
Now write all the phrases that you feel best describe you. Add you own phrases if you don’t see them here.
I like details/ I’m responsible/ I enjoy playing/ I like people/ I work hard/ I’m practical/ I like to support others/ I like groups/ I’m analytical/ I’m stubborn, rigid/ I’m well organized/ I’m conservative/ I like to control and dominate/ I’m handy/ I’m independent/ I like to make decisions/ I’m an organizer/ I enjoy competition/ I’m a dreamer/ I like ideas/ I’m lazy/ I like planning/ I’m a spokesperson for change/ I’m imaginative/ I like to manage people/ I never give up/ I’m not particularly sociable/ I’m systematic/ I like to take orders/ I like to coordinate/ I work with stability/ I’m not self reliant/ I get the right to the point/ I’m exacting/ I have a creative mind/ I’m verbal/ I’m technical/ I like to motivate people/ I’m artistic/ I give up easily/ I like to give orders/ I’m easily bored/ I’m sociable
Ten Power Questions
The following questions are powerful catalysts to personal growth and fulfillment. Contemplate each of these questions, write answers and review them constantly. This will help you to stay in touch with your passion and vision.
• When am I most naturally myself? What people, places, and activities allow me to feel most fully myself?
• What is one thing I could stop doing, or start doing, or do differently, starting today that would most improve the quality of my life?
• What is my greatest talent?
• How can I get paid for doing what I love?
• Who are my most inspiring role models?
• How can I best be of service to others?
• What is my heart’s deepest desire?
• How am I perceived by: my closest friend, my worst enemy, my boss, my children, my co-workers, etc./
• What are the blessings of my life?
• What legacy would I like to leave?
Next month, I will explore specific strategies for Self-Leadership and improved decision-making. Self-Leadership requires a deep knowledge and understanding of ourselves, along with a full contemplation of our life experiences. Knowledge, experience and reflection build the bridge to wisdom, the ultimate quality of leadership.