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“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” ~ Dr. Seuss
The hardest person for you to lead is yourself. When you lead other people, they are looking to you for direction. It’s a lot easier to give direction to others than to give direction to ourselves. Who gives you direction in your leadership? If you are not relentlessly intentional and disciplined about leading yourself well, you will wander in your leadership and get off course. It is usually obvious when someone you are leading heads in the wrong direction, but it is so much harder to see when you are the one beginning to stray. Ponder these truths and wisdom from Psalm 119 to gain insight on leading yourself well:
Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness. (Psalm 119:33-40 NLT)
These truths are like a compass for your leadership. God’s wisdom always points to true north. When someone gets lost in the woods, they usually end up walking in circles until they are either rescued or die. Without a compass to direct you, it’s almost impossible to stay on the right course.
Learn to lead yourself well. Leading yourself well is a prerequisite for leading others well. You can fake it for a season but your leadership influence will crumble like a house built on a poor foundation. Establishing a firm foundation is essential in building anything of significance. This is particularly true of leadership. Only leaders, who have a firm foundation and lead themselves well, will maximize their influence in the lives of others.
Today, as a Christian leader, be intentional about leading yourself well. Seek direction and wisdom from God through His word and through the advice of wise counselors. Do not neglect to lead yourself with discipline and conviction. How well you lead yourself today will determine where you can lead your team tomorrow.
Take time today to pause and evaluate how well you are leading yourself. If you have the courage, ask others you trust to give you feedback on how well they think you lead yourself. Leading yourself well today is the first step to leading yourself well tomorrow.