A student came up to my office because he had lost his cell phone. I asked him if he had tried calling it. He hadn’t thought of that.
We called his number and his backpack started ringing. We found the cell phone.
We’ve all lost things. I’ve lost my keys. I’ve lost money (no, not in Vegas). I’ve even lost one of my kids (wasn’t for too long, but he did look older when we were reunited). Losing things is a part of every leader’s journey. Things like time, resources, and key people. But there are personal things a leader just can’t lose. The moment a leader begins to lose one of these things, his or her ability to lead falters.
A leader must be careful not to…
LOSE SLEEP – You might think that sleep only gets in the way of your productivity, but go without sleep for too long and you’re gonna get sick. Sometimes a nap is best thing you can do for yourself (Michael Hyatt wrote a great post about this).
LOSE FOCUS – Not the blurry-eyed, I-see-two-of-everything kind of focus. Rather, the what’s most important and what do I REALLY need to be doing kind. Distractions can sabotage your balance if you don’t create some boundaries to protect yourself from them. (Here’s a recent post I wrote about controlling your distractions)
LOSE DIRECTION – Sometimes our internal compass gets out of whack. We begin to make decisions and choices that lead us down a path of destruction. If you don’t spend time reflecting on decisions, you might end up spending time regretting your consequences.
LOSE FAITH – All it takes is one person to let you down and it can spiral into a feeling that you can’t depend on anyone…not even yourself. Faith, like trust, is a risk. It also fuels your dreams and passions. If you expect to fail, you surely will. Each of us becomes on the outside what we put our faith in on the inside.
LOSE MOTIVATION – You are energized by what’s inside of you. No one can motivate you, they can only push the buttons that fuel the passions that are already within you. But unkept fires soon become nothing but a pile of ashes.
LOSE INTEGRITY – When your words and your actions conflict, it will always lead to more conflict. Growing integrity takes time, but you can lose it in a moment. You can be a leader without integrity…just not for very long.
LOSE YOURSELF – Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t even know who you are anymore.” That’s a wakeup call. Somewhere along the way, in losing some of the other things listed here, you lost sight of who you really are.
So how do you keep from losing these important parts of your life and keep your credibility as a leader?
1. Spend time reflecting and learning from your experiences and the experiences of others.
2. Learn to say NO to things that aren’t a priority.
3. Keep track of those things you know you can’t lose. Some people do this by keeping a journal.
4. Meet with a trusted friend who can give you honest feedback and accountability about these things.
5. Prioritize your life and live according to a strong set of values.
As you look at the list, what are the danger signs in your own life letting you know you’re losing something important? What other strategies do you use to make sure you don’t lose these things?
What if you could lead yourself better in such a way that it helped you lead others better?
Leadership Starts With You is just what you need to kickstart the process.
(Available on Kindle & Nook)