I speak from experience when I say that the hardest person you will ever lead is yourself. Why is that?
I was recently at an event all about smartphones and the role they play in our lives. Smartphones have made it incredibly easy to stay connected but they have also disconnected us in several ways too. If my kids had their way they would want to be on their screens all day and maybe your kids are the same. At times we can become frustrated and try to put boundaries in place for them. And as parents, it is so easy for us to get upset about the amount of screen time our children have. I was speaking with my kids one day about this and they replied with, “well you are always on yours”! My initial response was, “ya but I am working so it’s different”. Is it really?
Let’s be honest, we are not always working when we have our smartphone attached to our hip. So I had to pause and acknowledges how right my kids were to point out that. If I was going to get the kids to change their behavior, I had to change mine. In all honesty, I am the source of the problem and if you are in this same boat, I am sorry to say, but you are too.
If we can be brutally honest for a moment, the toughest person to lead is ourselves. So why do you think that is? There are 2 reasons I have discovered for this according to John C Maxwell:
We don’t see ourselves as others see us and we are much harder on others then we are on ourselves.
I recently did a DISC assessment, which is a personality profile assessment and it was truly eye-opening. What I discovered, is that we show up as 3 different people or we can be perceived in 3 different ways. There is our true core self, that is who we are to the core. Then there is our masked self, who we show other people and then there is the way others see us. And this test showed me that who I am to the core is different than who I show people and how people perceive me. There were slight differences and these are not bad, they just are.
The thing is, most of us do not view ourselves realistically. How often are we sizing up others but we are not sizing up ourselves in the same way? Whether we want to admit it or not, we are always judging. Again, not always bad, but we do it. And we always compare others to ourselves. And how often are we making ourselves look better than other people? If we really want to make an impact in the world around us, we have to examine ourselves truthfully because if we don’t, we won’t be able to lead ourselves effectively.
When talking about how we can be harder on others, think of how we judge others according to their actions, but we judge ourselves according to our intentions. Hmm…think about that for a moment. When do we pause to think about others’ intentions when it comes to their actions?
The point I am trying to make here is that, if we want to be successful we must learn how to get out of our own way. And I want to share with you a few things we can do that will get us moving in the right direction:
- Be a good follower
- Develop self discipline
- Be patient
- Choose accountability
If we lead ourselves well, then we hold ourselves to a higher standard of accountability than others do. Why? Because only YOU are responsible for your actions. No one holds a gun to your head and makes you do your work each day. If you want to lead others to take action with you, you too must take action. Only then can you lead yourself to success.