Each one of us is born with a unique life purpose. Whether you know it or not, you were not born to work, pay taxes, and die. You were created for more. We are here to serve each other. In the words of Muhammad Ali, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”I believe we are made up of different body parts, but each part is not only needed but also vital for the whole body to function. “To live a life that has clarity of purpose is living life upgraded, fulfilled and enjoyable in everything you do.” (Jack Canfield).
Living a purposeful life dictates your daily routines, consequent upon which time becomes very important.
Everything you do is done with a clear purpose in mind.
Every moment and every action taken is with intention, according to your purpose and plan.
For example, family is one important area to me; I wanted to connect with my family on my wife’s side as well as mine.
That meant to me reaching out to older relatives either by phone or email and volunteering to be on the committee for family reunions. I outlined my desired goals using the Destiny Action plan and the steps I would need to take to achieve these goals. Then I set a date to achieve this goal. The goal was to know — five new relatives a year. This is my third year doing this goal and the experience has been phenomenal. I fell in love with all of my family members. What an experience! To make this possible, I use the templates and instructions outlined in the Destiny Action Plan course, which is on sale for the month of December and January located within the courses section tab on this blog site. The Destiny Action Plan course is 4 modules that will guide you step by step on how to outline your specific desired goals and lay them out using the attached templates along with an instructional video. Start your New Year out well-planned and structured.
To live a life with clarity on purpose, you live a different habitual daily existence on his service. Everything you do and all of your activities are tailored to fulfilling that purpose – some would say you live a very self-disciplined life.
Quote: Napoleon hill, “there is one quality that one must possess to win and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what you want, and burning desire to possess it.” Clarity of purpose is vital for achieving success and for making dreams come true. If you have a clear direction, nothing is vague.
At every leadership webinar, I ask this one question: Who is the toughest person in the room to lead? Then, after everyone points to everyone else, I spring the correct answer on them and say, “You.”
You are the toughest person to lead in this room! Friends, the person I have the most difficult time leading is myself. This is a full-time job. I have to motivate myself. I have to discipline myself. I must protect my integrity. The list is endless.
Why is it this way? According to John Maxwell, there are two reasons:
(1) We don’t see ourselves as we see others.
(2) We are harder on others than we are on ourselves.
Human nature equips us with the ability to size up everyone in the world except ourselves. It is remarkable how most people lack self-awareness. When talking with managers, supervisors, or even team leaders, they willfully share details about their subordinates, behaviors, experienced conflicts, and sometimes plain gossip. They always have the magic bullet for how to fix them and what they need help with; however, they lack a realistic perspective of who they are. They lacked basic self-awareness of their own limiting beliefs and self-induced idiosyncrasies. To quote Psychology Today, “People judge others to avoid reckoning with potential feelings of inferiority and shame.”
John Maxwell says, “We tend to judge others according to their actions. It’s very cut and dried.”
However, we judge ourselves by our intentions. Therefore, even when we visibly fall short of our team or organizational goals and/or mission, and it was clearly a lack of leadership or judgment, we tend to let ourselves off the hook because our motives were good.
So how do you lead yourself well? A great question. Here are a few action steps.
(1) Develop self-discipline.
One day, Frederick the Great of Prussia was walking on the outskirts of Berlin when he encountered a very old man walking ramrod straight in the opposite direction. “Who are you?” Frederick asked his subject. “I am a king,” replied the old man.
“A king!” laughed Frederick. “Over what kingdom do you reign?”
“Over myself,” was the proud old man’s reply.
Discipline is simply giving ourselves a command and following it through. Self-discipline is the highest form of leadership. You are the captain of your ship, the master of your own soul. Leading yourself is a challenge, and one of the places where your character shows up is how you lead yourself. Honestly, there are days when I just want to take a break from keeping myself under control. The problem is it is not wise to take any day off.
This leads me to the second action you can take to lead yourself well.
(2) Seek accountability. Personal and professional accountability is imperative because we all have a human nature that will lead us astray.
It was once said, “People who lead themselves well know a secret: they can’t trust themselves.” The problem comes when you selfishly think you are untouchable and learn how quickly poor choices can touch you. Unfortunately, we see this behavior now in our society; people just don’t want to take responsibility or accountability.
As a young leader in the military, from time to time, my peers and I would get emails sent out by our commander for mandatory training “immediately.” Well, your whole day is interrupted. I would say, “What happened now?” Later, as all my peers would learn, another one of the men or women we worked with had to be removed from their leadership duties because they failed to lead themselves and others. They resulted in hurting others as well as themselves.
(3) Do you have an accountability partner or peer group? Empowering others to keep you accountablekeeps you in line.
I know for myself that just being aware of an upcoming session with my group allowed me to avoid acting upon poor decisions. At each session, we had a list of agreed-upon questions that gave others permission to ask. Only you know if those answers to the questions were true or not. Taking responsibility for our own actions was paramount to our success.
We are responsible for others’ actions as well as our own. Leading people is earned, not a given right!
(4) Lastly, Be Patient—with yourself.
Thomas Watson said it so aptly: “Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” People who cut corners are often categorized as impatient and lacking in self-discipline. However, if you follow through, you can achieve a breakthrough.
If you want to gain influence with people, solve problems. How you act or fail to act in those moments reveals to others just what our leadership competencies are.
Facing a personal failure. Taking a stand on an issue. Experiencing suffering or making an unpleasant choice—all these and more, when handled rightly, will either catapult us forward or eliminate our effectiveness.
So, when asked, “How do you lead the toughest person in the room?” You will have no problem answering that question.
An exciting article from Your Workplace, welcome your comments
For years, Your Workplace has touted the importance of work-life balance. We even made it part of our corporate values statement. If balancing work on the one hand with life on the other was a cause to uphold, then I was the champion in our workplace — and one of its biggest proponents beyond our walls as well.
But like all movements toward change, we usually have to endorse an extreme version of it first, ensuring momentum is created to make that change occur. Eventually, the extreme version gives way to a more moderate stance and ultimately settles somewhere in the middle. And a movement away from the concept of work-life balance is no exception.
If it is better for you to attend a parent’s appointment at 1pm and finish a report at 6am, then do it.
The notion that we each have two separate lives — one work and one life — requiring different treatment is unreasonable. The long-held notion of ensuring your personal life does not suffer at the expense of your work responsibilities, by compartmentalizing each to ensure carefully walking the fine line between the two, is obsolete. In order to find the right balance, the proper amount of time must be given to allow things to settle to a more “natural” stage. By pitting work against life there is an implication that work is the negative experience and life is the positive one. Why should work be perceived as negative? We spend the bulk of our waking hours at work, earning a living to support ourselves and our family. The experience should be enriching, and if not that, at least a reality within our lives.
We have to let go of the unachievable idea of work-life balance and start looking at things with a more individualistic lens. We are singular whole people, and every effort or action we take should be rooted in approaching each other holistically.
Whether you are grocery shopping, preparing a presentation, chairing a meeting, taking an elderly parent to an appointment, dealing with being short-staffed, going for a brisk walk at lunch or cheering on your child’s soccer game, it should be understood that it all makes up the threads of the tapestry of our very existence.
Isolating work from life is not only impossible but it places enormous strain, anxiety and tension on an unachievable goal.
Life is fluid and organic. We no longer have to compartmentalize the difference aspects of our selves. We no longer have to balance one against the other. We can have it all. Breaking down time to do work between 8am to 4pm, dinner from 5pm to 6pm, kids homework (or sport) from 6pm to 8pm or whatever your formula is, needs to stop. If it works for you, fine. But if it is better for you to attend a parent’s appointment at 1pm and finish a report at 6am, then do it. We are responsible adults after all.
Think about what is important to you. Make a list and prioritize.
The needs of individuals are constantly shifting. Allowing the whole person to show up at work (and at home) requires an investment in understanding mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.
Who you are is who you are everywhere. No matter where you go, there you are, so it’s important to integrate work and life together rather than separating the different aspects of self in order to fit some pre-determined label of how work and life are supposed to exist.
The truth about empowerment is that it’s powerful. When a leader, schoolteacher, or parent allows those they are responsible for or have authority over to grow and expand their potential, that is exponential power!
When you empower others, you give them the license to develop and the freedom to express their talents and abilities to expand themselves and the organization.
“Empowerment has an incredible high return” (John Maxwell,2007). Empowerment is a win-win for everyone in the organization, including the employee’s life, because it helps them find meaning and purpose in their work.
To quote John Seely Brown, an expert in organizational studies, “The job of leadership today is not just to make money, it is to make meaning.”
Research shows that when an employee finds meaning in their work, they are more productive, more energetic, and have a sense of mental and physical wellbeing.
It saddens me greatly when I come across leaders who fail to empower their employees. This creates barriers within the organization that the employee cannot overcome. If these barriers remain, people leave the organization to find other organizations where they can expand and express their talents and abilities. Hence, the Great Resignation, which dominated the headlines in 2021.
There are three main reasons that leaders fail to empower their workers
Resistance to change
Lack of self-worth
Fear is the big enemy of progress—fear of losing our positions or status. So, we cross our arms to growth in our lives, which affects others. We worry about ourselves and what we may lose if we help our subordinates. With this frame of mind, we believe we will become dispensable, which creates a weak leader. This leader does not value the organization; therefore, the leader becomes a liability. The truth is when you empower others; you empower yourself. This is a powerful concept; when you elevate others, you elevate yourself. Personally, it’s an exhilaration unimaginable when I see people grow into leadership positions that I once held. When you become valuable to the organization, you become indispensable.
Resistance to change
Coming up through the military ranks, I found that the military was ever-evolving, with new training, new equipment, and new policies. This was because, in the bigger picture, the world was changing, new enemies were on the rise, and threats to our national security and their militaries were introducing more sophisticated weaponry, which threatened our sovereignty as a nation.
To stay competitive in this changing world, we had to make modifications to our forces, so a change was inevitable.
When you empower people, you encourage them to grow and innovate, as change equals progress. In the military, change was an accepted norm. To maintain the competitive edge in any organization, change is inevitable.
Effective leaders embrace change, leaders are agents of change.
As a leader, if you are self-conscious about how you look or what people will think of you when you stand in front of them, you will not be an effective leader, as you do not have the confidence to lead others.
“Self-conscious people rarely become good leaders” (John Maxwell).
Throughout my life, when in leadership positions both in the military and in civilian life, I was not always well-liked, but I was fair. I always had this adage to work my way out of a job. So, when I saw a subordinate desiring more responsibility, they were mentored and trained in the next highest position. When they proved they could handle the next step, they were put in a position of authority. I was very successful in this approach in developing leaders within the organization.
Throughout my years, I developed “thick skin.” Leaders must have a strong sense of self-worth. As a leader, you must believe in yourself and the mission, then people will believe in the mission also.
I love the phrase “follow me”. This saying refers to an army infantry soldier charging forward into battle while suggesting others follow them. This should be a leader’s motto, not being self-conscious of what others think.
My encouragement to you is that empowerment of individuals assures individual and organizational success. This translates into the organization having a competitive advantage in its industry. This also enhances the workplace culture within the organization. Remember, whatever leadership role you play in the organization, if you allow people to be creative, innovative, and have the freedom to grow and develop, your job becomes easy. You begin to work your way out of that job and transition to a new one. Think of yourself as a servant and not the taskmaster as a leader.
Maxwell, J (2007). The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Harper Collins Leadership.
What’s at the core of achieving the good life? To start exploring this question, let’s look at what’s not at the core. The major key is not learning how to set goals, or managing your time. And it’s not mastering the fine art of leadership. Day by day, we try to find ways to improve ourselves by learning how to do new things. We spend a lifetime gathering knowledge in classrooms through textbooks and experiences. But if knowledge is power, then why do those who seek it sometimes fall short of their objective? Why, despite our quests for knowledge and experience, do we find ourselves aimlessly wandering, settling for mere existence rather than a life of substance?
Everyone has their own opinion, but, in my view, the answer is lack of discipline.
We need to put ourselves in front of that word discipline and call it self-discipline. Self-discipline is basically one’s ability to focus or act consistently to complete a task or attain a goal. It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are, or if you got the highest honors in school, or attended all the conferences and seminars of the great orators. Unless you apply what you’ve learned, you won’t get results. If you do apply your knowledge, eventually you will realize success. To quote Earl Nightingale: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal or goal.” The key word is here is “progressive”, which means you’re moving towards an objective.
So, self-discipline is better than knowledge. When you’re disciplined, it means you’re applying knowledge. Not only did you study to get results, but you’re also applying what you learned. I like to say that knowledge is like paint: you don’t see the difference unless you apply it.
So, the key to having a good life and success is consistent self-discipline. Whether you want to be a good parent, have better relationships, or be an influential leader, if you lack consistent discipline, your results will be haphazard. You’ll be all over the place. Zig Ziglar said it best: “Don’t be a wandering generality, be an aiming specific.” Knowing what you want and bringing that to pass requires a change, either physically and/or mentally. Setting goals is not a catch-all, and time management technique is not the hallmark of mastery. Studying the Art of Leadership doesn’t bestow any honors upon you.
However, if you act on the things you want to achieve day by day, your actions become habitual. That’s when you’ll see results.
Self-Discipline and leadership
Self-discipline is the highest form of leadership. You are the captain of your ship, the master of your own soul. Leading yourself is a challenge, and how well you do it is one way your character shows up. Honestly, there are days when I just want to take a break from keeping myself under control. The problem is, it’s unwise to take a day off.
The bottom line: if you want to live the good life, follow Jim Rohn’s formula: “Success = Just a few acts of SELF-DISCIPLINE, practiced daily, over a reasonable period.