Know Yourself to Lead Yourself

Know Yourself to Lead Yourself


Sometimes the person who needs your support and challenge most is you. It is a wise investment of your influence because you are a much better leader for others when you are a good leader for yourself.


It is so easy to overlook the ways we let ourselves down when we are focused on other people. Your inner martyr may actually think you are doing the right thing, but tell that voice to be quiet. If you really want the best for the people in your life, then you need to take care of yourself and lead yourself well.  Your ability to serve others will be seriously limited until you do.

This may seem counterintuitive because we were taught very linear thinking about life and how to achieve goals. We are taught to see the path forward as very straight, like a ladder up from one level to the next and then the next.

But I want you to consider that your path actually curves. Think feedback loop. The loop is from your actions to your reality.  When you are successful, then you will probably keep repeating the same actions. While this makes sense, how many times have you caught yourself doing the same thing and hoping for different results?  Good, bad or indifferent, this loop will continue infinitely until you disrupt it.

So how do you break a bad cycle?

Each spot in the loop can be broken or hacked because you have some control at each step.

  • Your tendencies- Notice them.  Don’t let them hijack you subconsciously. Your tendencies probably show up in the same patterns over and over again. When you can spot them, you are able to stop them. You are in control, not a victim or an innocent bystander.
  • Your Actions- You get to choose whether you act on your tendencies or not. To get out of your own way, set up a habit to support your choice. (Check out our blog on habits to learn more about creating a habit)
  • Consequences- These are rarely optional, but you do get to try to prevent them. After all they can provide some great motivation to change your actions.  When consequences are in front of you, choose to take your lumps with grace.  If your actions hurt someone else, own it. Nothing drains the trust out of a relationship faster than being defensive when you should be apologizing.
  • Reality- If you have been tripping over yourself until now, it isn’t too late to help your future self. The way to take control over your reality is to see it as temporary, changeable and not part of your identity.  For example: Just because it is like this now,  it doesn’t mean it will stay this way. Just because you did it one way doesn’t mean you can’t do it differently. Just because the plan failed, it doesn’t mean you are a failure.

Start right where you are to disrupt the patterns that aren’t serving you well.  Sometimes you have to hit some really nasty negative consequences to change your behavior. It’s okay if that was the motivation you needed.

Keep and eye open for all of your wins too. When you are on the right track, make time to savor the success and keep it going! –If this still makes you cringe a bit and feels selfish or self-absorbed, then here’s something for your inner martyr: Your people are counting on you- Do it for them!