Three first steps to becoming the leader of your own life
Here’s a scary thought. The world may never again be as calm and predictable as it is today. We are living in the future Alvin Toffler predicted in his 1970s book “Future Shock.”
But you knew that already.
With change comes new technology. New distractions. Constant dinging, beeping, notifications. Too many tabs open. Too many books to read, podcasts to listen to, bands to follow. Always new tools to learn and new skills to grow.
It’s hard to distinguish between the urgent and the important.
As the rate of change continues to increase, you feel the pressure to keep pace. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed—like a small boat adrift in a hurricane—without paddle, anchors, or rudder, powerless to the whim of the surging storm.
But I have good news.
The loss of predictability and stability of earlier decades are offset today by opportunities to be more creative and authentically human. As we free ourselves from our machine-age expectations, we are more free to find our true purpose and create our own plans for our lives. Our opportunity (and challenge) is to take ownership our own futures and become the leaders of fulfilling our own dreams.
How do we start?
1. Accept where you are.
Shift from feeling fear of the undone and the unknown into accepting, not in a passive or victimized way, that you are in a stage of continual improvement. To thrive, you can’t get caught in subtle the trap of seeking perfection. Accept the paradox—ongoing improvement means never being perfect. Because when you’re seeking perfection, you don’t enjoy the process of getting better. (For more on this, check out “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck)
2. Commit to the daily challenge of being more self-aware.
Today’s research indicates that each of us have a mind-boggingly immense capacity to fool ourselves. Self-reflection is the first step toward being able to recognize your own blind spots, unrecognized biases, and dysfunctional beliefs. It’s a lifetime journey; there’s no time like now to begin. Start by exploring your own personal values. Here’s a simple exercise to get started. As the instructions indicate, don’t overthink your response. There’s no right or wrong answer. And make every effort to be honest with yourself. Oh, and this isn’t an aspirational exercise. Choose values that you believe are true about who you really are today, not who you want to be or wish you were. And definitely not who you believe you should be.
3. Set new standards.
You are not a victim. And you’re not just along for the ride. While there are many things that happen in your life that you can’t control, how you react and the perspective you take is your choice. What are your values? What are your personal standards—the minimal expectations you demand of yourself? Even if we don’t reach all our goals, we become the standards that we live. It takes courage to raise your standards. As Steve Jobs said, “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” -Steve Jobs
It is possible to thrive in the paradox of today—you must take ownership of your own future and become the leader of your own life. But you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re interested in more insights to help you and your team thrive, sign up for our newsletter below, or visit our coaching page to learn more about our offerings.