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It’s not about you, but it starts with you.

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Andy Riise for The Excellence in Training Academy. Andy is a retired Lt. Colonel from the US Army and the Mental Skills Coach for the MLB Cincinnati Reds. The interview was about coaching mental skills, and the over arching theme was It’s Not About You, But It Starts With You.

From a leadership standpoint, “It’s Not About You” speaks to what I wrote about last week in the post You Are Not The Hero. The element,“ but, it starts with you.” speaks to the issue of self leadership. All leadership starts with self leadership. Speaker, trainer, author and coach John Maxwell says, “The hardest person you will ever lead is yourself.”

Self-leadership is about self reflection, self awareness and a commitment to self improvement. You need to spend time reflecting on questions like:

  • Why do I lead?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
  • Where are my potential blind spots?
  • Why do I lead the way that I do?
  • How do I define success as a leader?
  • What is it like to be led by me? And, how can I ensure I get ongoing, honest feedback about this question?

Self reflection and self awareness are a start, but without an action plan to ensure you are continually growing and learning it will be of limited value. Continuous growth and learning is critically important as a leader, but without action to put the learning in to practice it will be of little value. You need to be both a student and a practitioner of leadership.

Self leadership is about practicing, not just preaching:

  • Your values.
  • Wellness.
  • Learning.
  • Listening.
  • Humility.
  • Vulnerability.
  • Courage.
  • Self compassion.
  • Empathy.
  • Responsibility.
  • Accountability.

Self leadership is about the daily personal commitment to be a little better tomorrow than you are today. It is about understanding and accepting that you are a work in progress. 

Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey and it starts with you. Choose well, keep learning and enjoy the journey. The Dare to Be Great: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Leading online workshop can help you on your leadership journey.

Brian Willis