One of the first things I encourage others to reflect on in their leadership journey is the ability to lead themselves first.
This flows out of the belief that the best leaders lead by example. The expectations a leader places on others should be reflected in the expectations a leader has of him or herself. Leaders lead themselves first. The example produced by this type of self-leadership gives a leader credibility and influence with those around him or her.
One of the areas where self-leadership becomes evident is in the area of discipline. Napoleon Hill said, “It’s not what you are going to do, but it’s what you are doing now that counts.” Many unsuccessful people have what I call “someday sickness” because they could do some things to bring value to their lives right now. But they put them off and say they’ll do them someday. Their motto is “one of these days.” But as the old English proverb says, “One of these days means none of these days.”
For me, discipline is closely tied to consistency. Our self-leadership finds its power through the efforts, habits, and practices we’re able to perform on a daily basis. One day at a time. But also, many days in a row over a period of time. Discipline isn’t a once in a lifetime event. It’s the consistency of small steps in the same direction that produces something of great value later in the future.
Think about it this way. If you collected one quote a day, or wrote one page a day, or read one chapter a day, or did one workout a day, or wrote one thank you note a day. That would make for a fairly productive day.
Wanted to post a quick update for those of you who are interested in my progress with P90X. Today is Day #9 and I have been very faithful to the workout portion of this thing.
Last week, I was speaking up at the Northwest District (Nazarene) High School Camp. Let’s just say that camp food and the nutritional requirements of P90X don’t go hand in hand. I did my best though. I packed a bunch of protein bars and meal replacement bars. I even invited some of the campers to do Yoga X with me, but there were no takers (smart campers).
Every summer, I get the opportunity to speak at two or three Jr High or High School Summer Camps around the country. It is awesome. I love camp. There are so many great things that happen at summer camp.
As a speaker, I tend to tell a lot of stories…that bring a lot of laughter…that make a point…that encourage students to make a decision in their spiritual life. There are typically a couple of key times throughout the week that students will find they want to make some changes – they want to live in a different trajectory.
I am always in awe of students who will do the hard work of looking at their own hearts and recognize they need to change the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are blocking their own growth. My message is simple – follow Jesus…put your faith and your future in God’s hands.
Not only do I get to share stories, but I get to hear their stories. They talk about pain, about poor decisions, about success, about failure, and about hope. They come to camp where the distractions of an overly busy life are set aside for a few days. As they hear and respond to a simple message – they make some decisions and those decisions count. Sometimes those decisions are considered to be breakthrough moments and sometimes they just happen as a result of quiet contemplation.
Near the end of camp, I always share the following with these wonderful students…