On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon after traveling 230,000 miles through space. Just days earlier, on July 16, the Saturn V rocket blasted off into space. This was not the beginning of the journey, though. The real expedition began years earlier with the decision by American president John F. Kennedy to embark on the mission. Leadership is a lifelong development journey. Wherever you and I are in leadership today, our journey began long ago. My own journey probably started some time during fifth grade when I was (literally) ordered into a leadership role in middle school.
Every Leadership Journey…
If leadership is influence, then we are all leaders — whether it is the president of a nation making decisions which impact the future of millions, or the parent raising a family. If we are all leaders, then we should all be on a lifelong learning journey. We read and study leadership, attend classes and seminars, have mentors who help us move ahead, and sometimes, we learn the hard way — from our own mistakes.
…Begins with One Step
Ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu stated, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” In our lifelong leadership journey, the all important first step is focusing on self-leadership. If leadership is intentional influence, then we can say that:
Self-leadership is the discipline of becoming proactive, taking responsibility for our own interior world, and intentionally influencing ourselves towards greater purposes for which we have been created.
The first move in this “self-leadership step” involves making at least eight hard decisions about how we are going to live and lead.
Eight Self-Leadership Decisions
I will lay a solid foundation for my life and leadership — a deep, intimate, and personal relationship with God.
I will let God’s passion be my passion, and I will focus my life on serving people for the sake of building God’s Kingdom on Earth.
I will do my best to discern my God-given vision and pursue that vision with all my heart.
I will commit to sharing my story of redemption with others, helping them in their own spiritual journey.
I will invest in the lives of others, sharing my leadership journey and helping others succeed.
I will make my family priority in my life and leadership.
I believe God is the owner of all I have. I will manage my finances, time, and the talents and gifts I have been given with good stewardship, for God’s glory.
I will maintain my integrity at all cost. I commit to fighting the good fight, finishing the race, and keeping the faith.
If you are familiar with the ILI training, you will notice these are simply personal commitments to the Eight Core Values of the most effective leaders, which we teach at every ILI training events. These are not simply leadership techniques we use to lead others, they are personal values we embrace for our own lives — that is self-leadership. We are part of a community of thousands who are living and teaching these values all over the world.
Which of the decisions above is the hardest for you to make? Is this the decision you need to invest in now?