The concept of taking responsibility for leading yourself was introduced to me earlier this week. Upon hearing it, I was challenged to lead myself out of whatever is not working in my life. I was also inspired to lead myself into all that I hope to be and to do.
It’s not that I wasn’t already working on doing those very things, because I assure you that I was! Instead, it’s that I had never before thought about the idea of leading oneself. Yet, I intuitively sensed that it has much more power and energy to it than simply doing something.
On the dance floor, the leader is the person who initiates and directs what will happen in the dance. On a hike, the leader is the one forging the trail for the rest of the group to follow. When I think of a leader, I think of someone who is, in a sense, the guide.
As such, the role of the leader is to lead others. Yet, this idea of leading oneself opens up a whole new world of possibility, since with this model one does not need others to be a leader. With this model, one can be both the leader and the follower in one singular package known as… oneself!
As I have been letting this concept sink in, the easiest way for me to understand it is to recognize that I am a multifaceted being. I have a thinking mind, a feeling heart, a physical body, and a limitless spirit. These parts of myself are separate, but they are often engaged in dialogue.
The conversation is rarely audible, but it’s there. It might start when my body says, “I’m thirsty. Please drink some water.” I get the signal, but if I’m too engrossed in a project to stop and quench my thirst, my mind defers it. “Hold on,” it might say. “I need to finish this first.”
Yet, if I defer too long, my body will grow impatient. It will soon take the lead and convince my mind that I need water right now! When that happens, the part of me that is thirsty leads me to a glass of water and makes sure I drink it!
Being aware of these internal dialogues has helped me to grasp the concept of leading oneself. It has shown me how one part of me can, in fact, lead the other parts of me. As an example, let’s consider my goal of writing a book.
In this scenario, my body is not the leader at all. It would prefer to spend my Saturday morning all snug under the covers in a day dreaming reverie, rather than writing a book. If I am to achieve my goal, my mind will need to lead my body up and out of my cozy bed.
My body may balk at first. Yet, under the leadership of my mind, it will soon get on board and be a team player. Once engaged, my fingers will fly on the keyboard translating my storm of thought into words, sentences and paragraphs.
Some may say I’m splitting hairs here by discerning a difference between doing something and leading myself to do something. Maybe I am. But if I don’t make a point to lead myself, I’m afraid that I will be holding myself hostage from living the life I have always imagined. If splitting hairs is it what it takes, then so be it.