Learn To Lead By Leading

One of the reasons people are interested in leadership development is because it so closely aligned with personal development. Working on one’s leadership capacity requires some work in the area of personal growth and an understanding of one’s temperament, personality, and skill set.

photo credit: kendura99 via photopin cc

photo credit: kendura99 via photopin cc

With that in mind, I am always excited to hear from students who are eager to learn more about leadership. I believe each person can learn to be a better leader. While some people have the personal makeup that initially draws others to them, each person can increase their level of influence and find leadership opportunities in their environment.

But learning leadership is a contact sport. One can have all of the books, lessons, websites and insights – but that person doesn’t really understand what it means to lead…until he or she actually puts those things into practice.

You Might Be A Leader…

One question that I’m often asked is whether or not I believe every person can be a leader?

My answer: yes and no.

I answer “yes” because I think every person has the potential and the responsibility to lead oneself well. I believe leadership does start with you. You and I must learn, practice, and hone our ability to lead our own selves well.

photo credit: theloushe via photopin cc

photo credit: theloushe via photopin cc

But I also answer “no.” Not everyone is equipped or capable of leading others well. While we all have some level of influence with those around us, it takes a special person to step up and inspire, organize, and move a group of people in a certain direction…together.

In a room full of people, I encourage everyone to lead themselves well. But not everyone will be called upon to be a leader of others.

Why Can’t Anyone Motivate Me?

When it comes to motivation, you might think this requires giving something to someone else that pumps them up (like a pep talk, a bonus, an ultimatum, etc). But motivation actually comes from the inside of a person. It’s a person’s own desires and energy that fuels action.

photo credit: Calidenism via photopin cc

photo credit: Calidenism via photopin cc

You can’t actually motivate someone else. But you can influence the motivation that already exists inside of another person in order to help that person get something done.

People possess internal motivations like worthy causes, values, beliefs, interests, and fears. Everyone has a complex array of forces that steer them in a certain direction. As you learn each person’s internal motivations, you can speak to those issues in a way that encourages them to move forward.

Excellence Is An Attainable Goal

I’d like to talk to all of the student leaders in the room for a moment. (Everyone else can listen in if you’d like).

As a student leader, you bring a unique set of strengths, abilities, and weaknesses to the table. You may or may not feel like you possess the “leadership” gene. But the one quality each and every student leader can demonstrate is excellence.

photo credit: anjan58 via photopin cc

photo credit: anjan58 via photopin cc

Excellence is within your reach if you are willing to pursue it. You may not be the best, but you can definitely do your best. It is when you do your best that your effort stands above the masses who are satisfied with mediocre.

How To Do One Thing For 90 Days In A Row

90DD_ebookimageJanuary 1 is such an exciting day. Sooo many people are all geared up to make changes. They start writing. They start working out. They start eating vegetables. They start…

Then there’s January 11. Not such an exciting day. And not very many people doing what they set out to do on January 1.

Why can’t we find the self-discipline to do the one thing we promised ourselves we would do?

It’s because we don’t have a plan. We don’t have a framework to follow. We made a decision but we have no idea how to manage that decision.

Today I’m releasing a new free ebook entitled, 90 Day Decision.

I wrote it for you and for me. I wrote it because I wanted to share the framework I’ve developed to do something for 90 days in a row.

The world is full of people who make a decision but can’t get to Day #11. Why is that?

In 90 Day Decision, you’ll discover:

  • The power of making a plan and following a plan.
  • What role pain plays in our decisions.
  • How to make a promise that lasts.
  • How to find joy and celebration in the journey.
  • A step-by-step guide from Day #1 to Day #90.

I have made my own #90DayDecision and am currently on Day #33 of another one. You can do this. You need to do this.

Here’s what I’ve received after doing one thing, for 90 days, in a row:

Confidence – That feeling that comes from pushing yourself and sticking with something through all of the obstacles. Having discipline in this one area fueled my discipline in other areas of my life.

Credibility – When people see I did something for 90 days in a row, they want to know how…they want my help and advice.

Growth – The journey changed me. I was so much better on Day #90 than on Day #1. Plus, it created growth and momentum in other areas of my life.

Are you ready to make a 90 Day Decision? I believe you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you make this kind of decision.

One Thing + Everyday + For 90 Days + In A Row

Download 90 Day Decision

Self-Discipline Isn’t Multiple Choice

If I’m going to take a test, I like to take multiple choice tests. That way I know the correct answer is there…somewhere. Even if I don’t know which one is correct, I can still guess.


But self-discipline isn’t a multiple choice test. It’s a True / False test. I either have it or I don’t. I either do what I’m supposed to do or I don’t. It’s not about options. It’s about making a decision and then managing that decision on a daily basis. I either do or I don’t.

Let me back up a bit. Self-discipline is the ability to keep the promises we make; especially those promises we make to ourselves.

Personal fitness expert, Craig Harper says it this way:

“Self-Discipline means dealing with our fears.
It means overcoming laziness, apathy and our poor attitude.
It means doing the things we don’t feel like doing (but know we need to).
It means persevering when most won’t.
It means doing what’s required; not what’s popular, convenient or easy.
It means creating different standards for ourselves.
It means moving from procrastination to pro-activity.
It means controlling our emotions (not the other way around).”

Self-discipline isn’t really about choices at all. It’s about doing. It’s about finishing what you start.

Self-Discipline Isn’t Automatic

Miranda Lambert has a song out entitled, Automatic. You can watch the music video below.

The chorus of her song seems really appropriate for this next post on self-discipline. It goes like this:

Hey what ever happened to waiting your turn
Doing it all by hand, ’cause when everything is handed to you
It’s only worth as much as the time put in
It all just seems so good the way we had it
Back before everything became automatic

I’m a big fan of tools and technology that can actually carry some of the heavy lifting of my everyday tasks. That’s the beauty of those things…right?

Yet, there’s a growing sense of entitlement that often demands that things should be handed to us, given to us, or awarded to us – without much effort on our part. This idea is completely foreign to notion of self-discipline.

Self-Discipline Isn’t Emotional

“But I don’t feel like it.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve said that, heard that, or read that when I challenged someone to follow through on their promise.

How much of our life is directed by our emotions? How many times do we default to our feelings instead of our commitments?

Photo Credit: kaneda99 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: kaneda99 via Compfight cc

I’m learning that self-discipline challenges me to take my emotions out of the equation. It’s not that emotions are bad or evil. They’re just fickle. They change all the time. And when I make a decision with the full support of my emotions, those same emotions often come back to fight against the very decision they supported.

I just can’t trust them.