We Have Met the Enemy
You come to a point when you realize you are at the center of your deepest frustrations. What you do then, determines your destiny.
Growth begins with the realization that you are the problem, not others.
The toughest person to lead:
You have a real knack for seeing how others need to change.
Most leaders are too concerned about leading others. The toughest person to lead is you. Walt Kelly wisely wrote, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Thankfully, you are also the ally.
10 ways to lead yourself:
- Talk about yourself to a wise trusted friend. What do you sound like? Are you courageous, frustrated, optimistic, weak, or strong? Would you follow you?
- Reflect on the last year. What have you done that makes you proud? Give your noble-self permission to take action.
- Become a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all.
- Skillful people who are closest to the work know how to do the work. Listen.
- Awkward ideas may be right. Don’t reject them out of hand. You could be wrong.
- Evaluate success as deeply as failure.
- Ask, “What am I doing or not doing that is causing or allowing this?”
- Actively seek advice.
- Change your focus from holding others accountable to being held accountable.
- Maximize your personal rhythms. Are you a morning person? Do you need conversation to think, or quiet? How much sleep is enough?
- Evaluate your use of time. Keep a time journal for two weeks. Do what matters.
- Read, think, reflect, and try something new.
- Hold yourself to the same standard that you hold others.
- Lower protective barriers. Open up and acknowledge others.
Focus more on leading yourself than leading others.
Change the way you think about yourself. Your world stopped changing when you stopped growing.
How might you practice self-leadership today?
This post really resonated with me, thank you. The success of my entire career thus far is attributed to, first–God’s providence, and secondly saying yes when others say no, having a willingness to learn and take on more (curiosity and interest).
Thanks George. The future looks bright when we adopt your posture to opportunities. Cheers
When I think about how hard it is to change myself and my habits, what chance do I have to change others? Perhaps if I can change myself, others will see and begin to change also.
Thanks Duane. The leadership world needs more candor and transparency like you display with your comment.
Fighting against your natural rhythms is always a no win situation. At 6 AM I’m bursting with ideas and energy. Come 4 PM … the complete opposite. Embrace who you are, be honest with yourself, and use that knowledge will naturally give you more foundation to your soul when leading others.
“Lower your protective barriers.” – I think this one deserves its own post. This idea takes on so many forms and clouds the outcome I aim for. Becoming increasingly aware of how this shows up started out as overwhelming and then gradually became a tool I am learning to use – cues that are the coach on my shoulder that poses those challenging questions I need that shift my thinking.
“Do what matters.” In a non-productive situation I learned to work on my own skills, attitudes and behaviors to bring the best “me” to the setting each day. As part of that, a coach said, “Feed the hungry” which helped me focus on those who were eager to add excellence and service to what we were doing– including myself. Eventually I moved to a new setting where there was a critical mass of peers wanting to make a difference in the organization. The former setting is still doing what it wants to do– but now so am I.
Well said, Dan — 3 and 5 nail it for me
I believe this may be one of the more powerful posts you have offered, and the most difficult to apply. I don’t think it’s because we (I) am resistant to change… I think it’s very difficult to put “full trust” coaches in place…
Leaders don’t consciously make bad steps, yet all make errors.. the big goof ups are easy, in-that we recognize them as does everyone else…I think it’s the small ones that get us, perhaps because we are busy and just push past, so we don’t deal with it….the flaws grow..
We have to admit that we are humans and have our “flaws’. Once we understand that we are flawed search out the best ways to strengthen our weaknesses and accentuate the positives and become the best we can be. Align ourselves with positive input from mentors, Teachers, etc. seek knowledge through reading others life’s stories,trials and tribulations. Treat failure as a lesson and turn the lesson toward a successful outcome if we survive the failure. Remember there always is help and hope, we just have to seek it, and accept the offerings!.