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Self Leadership: The Foundation for Success

The truth is that we can't lead others if we can't lead ourselves. Ever wonder why you're having difficulty with leadership at work, at home, or in the community? Perhaps it's because you never learned how to take charge of YOU. If you implement even a few of the following seven leadership "lessons", you can change this situation dramatically!

When you think about it, many of us were trained to surrender our personal power from the time we were small.  We were taught to be followers—not leaders.  We were expected to play by other people's rules.  Although this strategy created nice boys and girls, it didn't prepare us to be high functioning adults who assume full responsibility for our choices, actions, experiences, responses, and outcomes.   It didn't teach us how to proactively CREATE a life.  Actually, it taught us to play small, to feel insignificant, to focus on pleasing others.  In some cases it snuffed out our spirits.

The truth is that we can't lead others if we can't lead ourselves.   Ever wonder why you're having difficulty with leadership at work, at home, or in the community?  Perhaps it's because you never learned how to take charge of YOU.  If you implement even a few of the following seven leadership "lessons", you can change this situation dramatically!

1. Ask for what you need and want.  When is the last time you did that?  When is the last time you requested a particular meal, a choice assignment, a day off?  What about a long overdue date night with your partner, an hour of interrupted time in your office, or a pay raise?  What is your history in regards to asking for what you need and want?  If you're not used to doing it, why is that?  Is it because you're afraid of angering someone?  Is it because you don't believe you're worth it?

2. Seize opportunities that come your way.  Opportunity is a chance for advancement.  It's also a favorable combination of circumstances, time and place.  Do you know how to recognize opportunity?  When you recognize it, do you act upon it or ignore it?  If an ideal job pops up, do you apply?  If you need a new microwave, do you take advantage of the big sale you read about in the paper?  If family members invite you to their vacation home for an extended weekend, do you make arrangements to join them?

3. Live fully in the moment.  Most of us are living in the past or the future, completely missing the present.  Frazzled and burdened by regrets, we dwell on yesterday's mistakes and worry about when we'll read the batch of emails that hasn't yet arrived.   Rarely are we focused on the here and now.  Rarely are we totally "there" with the person on the phone, the colleagues in the meeting, the webinar trainer we paid to hear.  Being in the moment is often a foreign idea, isn't it?

4.  Adapt to change.  Change is a bad word for a lot of us.  While a few people thrive on it, most of us fear it.  Some make themselves sick over it.  How do you handle change?  Do you fight it or deal with it?  Do you see it as a chance to learn, to grow, to experience something different?  Do you perceive it as the flavor in life?  What exactly is your relationship with change?  Having trouble coping?  Identify what you have to do to accept change and make the best of it.

5.  Be resourceful.   To what extent can you confidently meet and handle various types of situations?  When and where are you most resourceful?  At work?  At home?  With community organizations?    Why is this?  When you don't know the answer to a question, do you know how to get it?  When presented with a problem, can you figure out what you need to do to solve it?  What is holding you back from becoming more resourceful than you are now?

6.  Create memorable experiences.  Your ability to transform the ordinary into an experience is what turns a mere existence into a zestful life.  Using sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes, you can add spice to just about anything:  the next committee meeting, the drive to the grocery store, the research project, the brainstorming session, the call from a friend, tonight's dinner.  Think about everything you must do over the next twelve hours.  Consider how you could take all of it to the next level.  There's a difference between hot chocolate made with water and hot chocolate made with milk or cream.  How can you put more milk and cream into your routine?  How can you make life rich?

7.  Take time to recharge.  It's no secret that most Americans are sleep deprived and relaxation starved.  As a result, many of us are tired, irritable, and moderately productive.   As the leader of your life, acknowledge—and honor—your physical and emotional requirements for regular refreshment.  Listen to your body.  Pay attention to stress.  Build short breaks into your day.  Do more things you enjoy.  Develop new relationships.  Walk in the woods.  Turn on some music.  Breathe deeply.

 It really is time to establish new rules.  It's time to claim your life and lead it.  When you take that step, you'll be more, do more, and achieve more than you ever dreamed possible.  Not only will feel better about yourself but you'll also positively influence those around you!

If you like what you've learned here, visit Launching Lives for a ton of free articles and resources that will help you solve problems, develop leadership skillsComputer Technology Articles, and increase balance in your life.

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Sylvia Hepler, Owner and President of Launching Lives, LLC, is an executive coach based in South Central PA.  Her ideal clients are persons in management positions:  corporate, nonprofit, and business owners.  Her company mission is to support executives as they solve problems, develop leadership skills, and increase balance in their lives.  Sylvia offers three programs, any of which may overlap depending on client need:  First Class Management Program; Change, Loss, and Grief Program; and Career Development Program.  Her professional background includes:  extensive nonprofit management/leadership, public speaking, business writing, retail sales, and teaching. For information about Sylvia Hepler and Launching Lives, please visit:

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