his is not a trite observation. It goes to the very core of effective leadership. A true leader must serve others. He must lead through example. He must have a clear vision of what he is striving to accomplish so that he can effectively communicate that vision to others.
There are four essential steps to leading yourself and preparing yourself to lead others: introspection, clarification, planning, and execution.
All of us must look within to determine what we really want to do with our lives. You will not find these answers in any book. Only through your own thought and reflection can you come to understand what you want to accomplish in life. Only you can identify your genuine mission – the fire of desire that burns in you. You may well find inspiration from others but you must look within to clearly identify who you are and what you are about.
Once you have done that you will have a general idea of what you wish to accomplish; that is, how you wish to serve others.
This is not a onetime task. You will need to return to this introspection from time to time as you mature and your life changes. You will find new ways to serve others and to manifest your own greatest purpose in life. I find this process needs to be done at least once a year, and New Year’s Day is as good a time as any. But you may choose your birthday or some other annual event. Think about where you are going and what you are accomplishing, or not, and how you might want to change it.
Once you have a general idea of how you want to serve others crystalize it in a short statement of what you wish to achieve. My current mission statement for my on line enterprise is this:
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
Yours might be longer, shorter or entirely different. The important thing is to make it crisply reflect how you wish to serve others. Everything else flows from this.
When you must choose whether or not to pursue this or that opportunity the clarity you have in your mission statement will keep you on course – it will allow you to lead yourself in the right direction.
Clarity in your chief aim is not enough however. It must be broken down into the day by day and week by week actions you will take to accomplish it. To do this you ask yourself where you want to be five years from now in your mission. You then identify a few long term goals that will get you where you want to be.
You then must break those long term goals down into medium and short term goals that you can realistically tackle on a daily basis. Most importantly write those goals down and refer back to them constantly to keep yourself on track – to lead yourself where you want to go.
Every day people write out mission statements and long lists of goals and aspirations, put them away and take no action. It is a waste of time. No matter how clear you are about your ultimate mission to serve others or to lead, no matter how well-crafted your goals are, if you do not act on those goals every day in some way you will accomplish nothing.
Leaders inspire and motivate others to act and accomplish an organization’s objectives. When you lead yourself you must inspire and move yourself to act on your fundamental objectives. This means you look at your goals every day and as you plan your day you make sure you create a to-do list that includes some action that will further your goals – and you then take those actions.
Once you master leading yourself you will be able to lead others. They will see your capability, your accomplishments, and your serene self-mastery. People will not follow someone who is disorganized, lacks clarity or direction. They will only follow someone who can lead themselves first.
Wishing you success and prosperity,
Daniel R. Murphy
Helping People Learn to Build Wealth