Today I spoke at a workshop about leadership development and mentoring. It was a great experience because I was talking about something that I am passionate about. about 15 years ago I went through a time of searching for meaning in my life. I turned to God and went deeper in my faith. At the time I started asking myself what kind of person do I want to be remembered for. I started praying and questioning myself. After a long process I came up with a personal mission statement for my life: Growing myself and others in Faith, Character and Leadership. Those three areas of my life have been the main focus for me over the last 15 years. It has helped to keep me focused on the right things and to say no to the things that distract me from those three areas of my life.
Here are the things I shared with the group today at the Equip2Serve conference in Canton Ohio at Malone University.
Leading yourself is always the hardest thing to do. We spend more time with ourselves than anyone else, yet most of us don’t take the time to be intentional about our own development. Here are some practical things you can do to work on yourself.
- Develop a Personal Growth Plan or Life Plan - This is a powerful exercise that can transform your life. To think about the highest priority areas of your life like, Faith, Family, Marriage, Finances, Health, Work. Then to go beyond just thinking to actually developing a vision for each of those areas and then setting specific goals to help you get closer to that vision. The last step is to put those goals on your calendar and actually do the things you wrote down.
- Get Accountable – It’s good to do a life plan and set goals for your life, it’s another to share those goals with trusted people in your life and ask them to hold you accountable. It’s also important for your character to have some accountability in your life. Confessing to God and talking to him about our issues is one thing, but it’s a whole new level if you can confess to a trusted friend and ask them to ask you about it every week. Accountability only is effective if you are completely honest and trustworthy. Start praying right now for a few people that you can trust enough to share every area of your life, and talk about the dark things in your life.
- Ease up on Yourself – Don’t take yourself so seriously. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We can be our own worst enemy sometimes by thinking negatively about ourselves and putting ourselves down. It’s OK to put pressure on yourself, but not to the point where you feel defeated or depressed. It’s important to remember that God made you, He loves you and He believes in you.
- Plan some Solitude Time - This won’t happen on it’s own so you need to get it on your calendar. Block off some time and take a personal retreat. You might need to take a vacation day to do this but it will be worth it. Solitude means getting away from the people and things that distract us from connecting with God. This is necessary mainly for your emotional and spiritual health. Solitude allows you to have God moments where you connect with Him in ways you could never experience when your running your normal life pace.
- Take a Risk – This is huge in leading yourself. When you take a risk and push through the fear that holds you back there is great freedom on the other side of that. The danger in self-leadership is that we become content with who we are and don’t push beyond what we think is possible. IN what area of your life do you need to take a risk?
Leading yourself is not easy and will be something you have to do the rest of your life. We never arrive and get it all figured out. Once we make one break through in life there is always another obstacle and other opportunities that will come up. Make sure your carving out time to lead and develop yourself. The more time you spend on yourself, the more you can pour into others.