Three Ways to Lead Yourself Before Leading Others

I had the opportunity of attending Sticky Teams Conference in San Diego, CA. This year our focus is on Leading Well.

The Irreducible Minimum of Leadership

If you put all the leadership material in a pot and mix it, you can reduce leadership into three irreducible areas:

  1. Person
  2. People
  3. Purpose

Out of the three, which is most important? It’s the PERSON, the leader that’s most important.

What happens when someone doesn’t lead themselves well?

“Most people live with the subtle dread that one day they will be discovered for who they really are and the world will be appalled.” – John Eldridge in The Sacred Romance

The Challenge of Self Leadership:

“Everything in us cries out against it. That is why we externalize everything — it is far easier to deal with the exterior world. It is easier to spend your life manipulating an institution than dealing with your own soul. We make institutions sound complicated and hard and rigorous, but they are simplicity itself compared with our inner labyrinths.” – Parker Palmer

“The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who purports to manage is to manage self; one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words and acts.” – Dee Hock, The Birth of the Chaordic Age

Principle #1: Look Beneath the Surface

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” — Proverbs 4:23

Three Components of Looking Beneath the Surface

  1. Develop an awareness of what you’re feeling and doing.

“The journey of genuine transformation to emotionally healthy spirituality begins with a commitment to allow yourself to feel.” – Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

Emotions Families

  • Anger  – fury, hostility, irritability, annoyance
  • Sadness – grief, self-pity, dejection, loneliness
  • Fear – anxiety, edginess, nervousness, fright, terror, apprehension
  • Enjoyment – joy, relief, contentment, delight, thrill, euphoria, ecstasy
  • Love – acceptance, trust, devotion, adoration
  • Surprise – shock, amazement, wonder
  • Disgust – contempt, scorn, aversion, distaste, revulsion
  • Shame – guilt, remorse, humiliation, embarrassment, chagrin

Emptying the Emotional Jug:

  1. What am I mad about?
  2. What am I sad about?
  3. What am I scared/fearful about?
  4. What am I glad about?

2. Ask the “why” or “what’s going on” questions.

Principle #2: Discover Your Authentic Self

  1. Figure out who you are.
  2. Find trusted companions.
  3. Learn to differentiate your true self from the demands and voices around you.

Differentiation is a person’s ability to “Define his or her own life’s goals and values apart from the pressures of those around them.”

Differentiation is living faithfully to yourself. To be differentiated means to be faithful to your God-given, unique life while remaining connected to people without having your reactions or behavior determined by them.

Principle #3: Break the Power of the Past

To become a Christian and to be adopted into God’s family with the new name of “Christian” does not erase the past…God does forgive the past, but he does not erase it.”

“Our fear of bringing secrets and sin into the light, however, drives many people to prefer the illusion that if they don’t think about it, it somehow goes away. It doesn’t. Unhealed wounds open us up to habitual sin against God and others.”

How to Break the Power of the Past

1. Identify how your family shaped you

The more we know about our families, the more we know about ourselves – and more freedom we have to make decisions how we want to live.

2. Seek to be re-parented.

Leading Yourself Well = Self Care