We are losing the luxury of the old economy where we could depend on someone else to tell us what to do. Being a good boy or girl is not something that gets a badge of honor or a gold watch after 30 years.
Quite contrary, setting your own path and following it because you believe that is where you need to go is the adventure the new economy gives each of us. It also means taking responsibility. It is where you have the opportunity to lead by leading yourself first. You have to do this in order to take full advantage of your freedoms today to work and create.
When I think about what this means day in and day out, leading yourself comes down to:
- Leaning towards action. Things get done around action-orientation. Being able to turn ambiguity into concrete and actionable steps is a key leadership trait. While everyone else continually deliberates and talks, develop the habit of making ideas happen.
- Listening actively for the best ideas. It is hard to keep our ears and hearts open to the world if we lack humility. We ought to have sobriety in our view of ourselves. There are far too many people that cumulatively know more than we can ever hope to. Leading yourself means respecting others and allowing them to speak into your life. You get the best ideas this way.
- Developing speed and clarity of thought. Your brain develops if you work it relentlessly. Pushing deep and hard into problems and continuing your education via reading as a key habit in your life which forces you to think. Thinking about a breadth of issues helps you to know what you believe and know how to solve problems. Leading yourself means getting faster and savvy in your understanding of issues which others avoid.
Ultimately, your value is going to come from the depth of leadership you have developed in yourself. You cannot give what you do not possess. Paying the price by choosing to lead yourself and doing what is required of leaders is a discipline and desire that has to be fostered.
In the end, your peers, customers and partners will respond to the leadership that emanates from your desire to always grow.
What are you doing to lead yourself as a habit?