The Path to Self-Leadership
In the fall of 1998, with all my belongings packed into a white rental van I moved into a small 600-square foot apartment on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. The Helen L. DeRoy Apartment complex on Anthony Wayne Drive was a far cry from the dormitories on the lush green landscape of MSU. The 15-story brown building towered over the Detroit neighborhood and campus. At the time I didn’t find the view very comforting; rather, it was a reminder of how much my world had changed.
Prior to attending law school I had very little experience driving or visiting the metro-Detroit area. I didn’t even have a car when I first moved down. Frankly, I’m not sure what I was thinking. It was clearly one of my less well-thought decisions. It was a month or two into my first year of law school and living in Detroit before I would get a car. Circumstances made clear what a necessity it would be. I remember the first time I ventured out looking to find a coffee shop or book store that would make a welcome place to study. This was before the age of Siri and nice, compact smart phones. I drove with a map of the state laid out on the passenger seat, white knuckled and terrified of getting lost. I was directionally impaired, uncertain, and unsure.
You wouldn’t believe the number of times I found myself heading towards the bridge to Canada when all I wanted was to visit Greek Town. It took the better part of a year to be able to get myself pointed in the right direction.
Lead Yourself Well
Our culture often associates leadership with a title or position. In fact, it tends to link leadership ability with upward mobility. Healthy, effective leaders may become upwardly mobile within their organization; however, being “in charge” does not necessarily correlate to strong, effective, or even healthy leadership.Leadership is more about disposition than position. #LeadWell #LeadershipMatters #MomsThatLead Click To Tweet
As mothers, we have an opportunity to lead our children well. If we want to be effective in our leadership, we need to be equipped with more than a title and armed with more than “because I said so.” Leading ourselves well, or self-leadership, is the first step in having the necessary skills and ability to leading our children well.
4 Questions for Effective Self-Leadership
Self-leadership sounds like something better left to a Masters in Business Administration classroom or even a Masterclass setting.
Listen. Don’t freak out and don’t over-complicate it.
Getting started doesn’t have to be that difficult. Mothers have been leading their children for years without any fancy degrees or accreditation. But if you want to be intentional about the direction you point your kids, wouldn’t it be good to have a concrete idea of where you’re leading and why?If you want to be intentional about the direction you point your kids, wouldn't it be good to have a concrete idea of where you're leading and why? #LeadWell #MomsThatLead #Leadership Matters Click To Tweet
Take some time to consider and write out your answers to these four questions. There are no right or wrong answers. The questions are simply a tool for evaluating your self-leadership.
- How would you describe your purpose?
- What are your values?
- What are your passionate about?
- Are you living in such a way that your purpose, values, and passion connect?
Remember, your ability to lead your children well is not limited to a snapshot of your skills and abilities at this moment. If you notice that you’re having difficulty identifying your purpose, or a concrete set of values, that’s okay. Maybe you were able to answer clearly the first three questions but realize that there is a lack of harmony or consistency in your responses. Wherever you might be, allow yourself the grace of counting this as your new starting point.
Follow the Leader
There are a lot of places and people from whom we can take our cues on self-leadership. Certainly there are influencers on every platform for every demographic and every situation.
Don’t take their lead.
That’s not to say that some of them aren’t getting a little or a lot of it right – I’m just saying I think there is a better source.
I can’t tell you any more plainly, and to suggest anyone else would be a lie, but if you’re looking to follow someone who has the discipline of self-leadership down to a science then look no further than Jesus.
Jesus knew what his purpose was. He had a clear set of values and was abosultely passionate about the things of God. Further, Jesus lived in such a way that none of those things contradicted each other.
If you desire to lead yourself and your children well, the first step is to fix your eyes on Jesus. Spend time in God’s word, especially the gospels, and you will see first-hand how Jesus not only set out in such a way that He led himself well, but also his twelve disciples.
Take time this week to read through the first chapter of the book of Mark and pay careful attention to the words and actions of Jesus. Next week I’ll spend time sharing about the self-leadership lessons we can draw from Jesus’ example.