In today’s post on motivation for personal excellence, we want to learn the key elements of self-leadership. Because self-leadership is a major requirement if you really are interested in achieving anything worthwhile; be it in your academic pursuits, your relationship matters, your faith or in your career/business.
One key characteristic of most successful people is their ability to lead themselves. In other words, people who are able to achieve most of the goals that they set for themselves have the inner attribute of not waiting for others to tell them what to do, how to act and when to perform.
They simply know how to get moving without the prompting of others.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the elements of self-leadership which you need to cultivate in order to get what you want out of life or to achieve your personal excellence.
1. Self discipline
Self discipline is the ability to act even when you don’t really feel like it.
A good example of self-discipline is when a blogger gets down to the keyboard to type and produce a post like this even when he doesn’t feel that strong motivation to do so.
A student with the quality of self-leadership will not wait to be told to study hard. She knows hard work with her studies is key to her educational and career dreams.
This is why she is the one who gets down to read her books, do the assignments and attend all lessons without any external prompting whatsoever.
For those who lack self-leadership, they may have to just decide not to act or at best, wait for a boss or a leader to force them to get up and act.
2. Personal responsibility
Top among the elements of self-leadership is the ability to take responsibility for one’s life journey.
People who are self-leaders just have that inner strength to always accept the fact that ultimately, they are responsible for whatever happens to them in life.
Self-leadership requires that you don’t hold others responsible for your situation in life – good or bad. This attitude empowers you to do what needs to be done.
The problem with people who lack the ability to take personal responsibility is that, they blame others for their failures, and shy away from acknowledging the role they personally played in ensuring any success they may have achieved.
So they keep leaving their lives to chance and providence!
On the opposite side are the ones who create their own future by being proactive in whatever situation they find themselves in.
Self-leadership manifests itself in people who are not afraid nor ashamed to stand by their principles not matter what.
The best examples of self-leaders are brave enough to say no to all temptations bordering on bribery and corruption, for example. You simply cannot rule out integrity if you’re really interested in cultivating the elements of self-leadership.
Mostly, these are people who do not wait for some other person to preach to them about such virtues as honesty, forbearance, fear of God, compassion, and so on and so forth before they grudgingly do something about them.
The expert self-leader simply knows how to rise above the crowd and do what he thinks is right.
4. Time consciousness
Time consciousness is yet another characteristic of self-leadership. To be able to move from point A to point B in life, one always needs to value time for what it is and utilize it for profit all the time.
And that is what every self-leader does so expertly. You do not waste your time on negative habits like idle talk, gossiping, back-biting, over-indulgence in sleep and alcohol abuse if you truly know how to lead yourself.
To be able to act without being prompted by other people or by random circumstances, you need to master self-motivation.
Whether with your studies, in the office, the home or in any social setting, your ability to give yourself a good reason to act swiftly is what will separate you from the crowd.
Self-motivated people are invariably those who get the A-grade or the promotion. Self-motivation will help you win the vote, triumph in the race or even be the one who has the last laugh.
This is usually at the time when others moan or are full of regret.
6. Positive self-talk
Positive thinking is among the key elements of self-leadership. Without a positive mindset, you cannot encourage yourself when the whole world appears to be against you.
A true self-leader is the one who would keep telling that battered inner soul to beat the bell: GET UP! LET’S GET TO WORK, DUDE!. LET’S GO FOR THAT LIGHT AT THE END OF THIS DARK TUNNEL. NOW, PLEASE!
People who are able to lead themselves do so because they are maestros when it comes to giving themselves a real pep talk.
Thus, they know how to get back on their feet after hitting bottom.
7. Quick change of mind/plan
The personal quality of self-leadership is what makes that person you envy or admire so much to always win at the end of the day.
Because, of all the key elements of self-leadership, the willingness to cut your losses at the right moment is crucial.
It is self-leadership that enables great achievers to switch to a plan B when things begin to go irredeemably wrong with plan A.
Rather than sit and complain, indulge in self-pity, or even give up totally, self-leaders pull themselves together in their terrible moments. They think through their situation, change their strategy, and then keep on going despite the losses they might have incurred.
And this quality of knowing how to quickly change one’s mind in the face of stark realities is what separates the boys from the men, so to speak.
8. Hard work
When you know how to get up and keep working on your dreams while others are enjoying their sleep, then you have this great quality of self-leadership.
Without hard work, there is little hope for you. The real self-leader will always turn a deaf ear to the teasing and taunts coming from lazy minds and loafers who are happy to remain losers.
Nothing distracts the individual with a good dose of personal quality called self-leadership. And each time a distraction tries to derail their plans, self-leaders know how to deal with it decisively.
One of the key elements of self-leadership is ambition. Ambition is the personal attribute of aiming high for something beyond the ordinary and working to achieve it.
All self-leaders have positive personal goals. They are good at setting goals and investing in them. Any time they dream, self-leaders make sure they dream big.
11. Iron will
There is little to achieve in a world filled with so much negativity if you lack the solid personal conviction to stick to it even when all the odds aren’t in your favour.
Fortunately for every self-leader, they are so determined that nothing shakes their will to work and get what they know they can get.
12. Working with one’s strengths
Are you one of those who do not allow their weaknesses to take centre stage in their thoughts and activities?
What about self-awareness? Do you really know where your strengths and weaknesses lie?
Then you have one of the greatest elements of self-leadership. Because society loves to tell all of us to follow in the steps of others. That is even if those steps are too slippery for the soles of our own, uniquely-formed feet. Forgive the metaphor.
And you know what? That’s the major reason we have too many under-achievers in our schools, homes and offices.
It takes only the individual with the elements of self-leadership to ignore all social pressures in favour of a dogged pursuit of what they know to be their core strengths or talents.
14. Continual learning
To achieve personal excellence in any field, you need to learn and keep learning always. You even have to learn something the day before you depart from this earth.
To people with this awesome trait called self-leadership, there is no end to learning. And there shouldn’t be. Because the knowledge or skill that is great in the present moment, tends to become obsolete in no time.
Every self-leader values knowledge, knowing that without it, you don’t have the keys to open the doors of success.
But they don’t just value any knowledge – they love and chase after current, trending knowledge. You know what I mean. So self-leaders never stop learning – no matter their age or level of achievement.
15. No fear of standing alone
Take this from me. A person with all the above elements of self-leadership is not going to be liked by most people.
Because most people are happy being with most people. They fear to stand out. So self-leadership comes with the personal quality of being courageous enough to stand for what you believe in.
You do not fear being regarded as a loner just because you refuse to be with the directionless mob. You are happy to stand alone, bear all the abuse and disdain so that society can benefit from your results long after they have forgotten how it all started.