I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
The famous poem Invictus captures beautifully the essence of what it means to be a Self-Leader. It is the ability to make things happen without the need of anyone else to scream down your neck. The brilliant self-leader is not merely content to make things happen—they make things happen with excellence. Regardless of whether or not there is a boss or manager around, they are giving it 100%. They do not blame others nor make excuses. Does this sound like the kind of person you would like to be? Here are 10 ways you can become a brilliant self-leader.Advertising
1. Exercise self-discipline.
Guard yourself against procrastination and laziness. Workout your willpower each day through finding a way to say “No” to yourself. Set some chocolate on your desk but refrain from eating it. Practice completing little tasks each day such as cleaning your desk, or making your bed. Strive to keep you car tidy. Discipline in one area will lead to discipline in other areas.
2. Stick to a schedule.
Write out your daily goals every morning and work through getting them done. If you do not get every task done, put them on top of tomorrow’s list. A great self-leader is an organized self-leader. Rather than letting the day dictate what you do, take charge and be the dictator of the day.Advertising
3. Track your progress.
Keep a journal of all your little accomplishments and steps that you need to take in order to get to your goal. More importantly, you need to celebrate all your little wins. Give yourself a high-five, and pour yourself a glass of red wine. The self-leader works hard, but also plays hard.
4. You are what you eat.
A healthy body equals a healthy mind. The self-leader takes good care of their health because they know that a healthy brain and clear mind is crucial for navigating through making the right decisions. Anyone can gather information, knowledge, and facts, but the brilliant self leader knows how to put it all into practice.Advertising
5. Only be with the best.
Jim Rohn gave the incredible insight, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Take a look at your inner circle of friends. Are they also brilliant self-leaders? You need to surround yourself with people whom you can learn from and be encouraged by. As iron sharpens iron, your network of friends is a great resource for brain picking. That is, if you have a great group.
6. Forgive and forget.
Even though the brilliant self-leader is constantly pushing themselves—always setting the bar higher and expecting nothing but the best—they also know how to handle obstacles and failures. To become a better self-leader, you need to change the way you look at failure. Rather than treating failure like a tomb-stone, see it as a stepping stone. Everything is a learning experience.Advertising
7. Know your weaknesses.
This will require honesty with yourself. Even more helpful is asking some friends to be honest with you and let you know what areas you are weak in. You need to see the enemy in order to beat the enemy. Once you identify these weak areas, work on improving them. A great self-leader is always looking for ways to improve themselves. Be content enough to be satisfied and happy, but not too content that you stop growing.
8. Be a mentor.
The best way to learn is to teach. It may sound paradoxical, but the more you are able to vocalize and communicate what it is that you know and pass that onto someone else, the better grasp and understanding you will also come to have.
9. Focus on your game.
It is very easy to get distracted and become envious of what other people are doing or achieving. The brilliant self-leader does not compare their life with others. They know that they have been created unique with their own set of skills and talents. They focus on refining and sharpening their own tools.
Self-awareness is key for becoming a brilliant self-leader. You need to be able to access your internal dialogue and observe the thoughts that are running through your mind. Take some time out each day and sit in stillness and silence. Take in long deep breaths and be an observer to them. When random thoughts come into you mind, first acknowledge them, label them, but then cast them aside and return to your breathing.
Last Updated on May 20, 2019
How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret
When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?
As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”
Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?
Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?
The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something.
There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.
Maybe next month, or maybe next year…
And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.
So, how do you start?
Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)
The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.
What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.
Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.
A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.
Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.
Assess Your Current Time Spent
Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.
For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.
To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?
Tricks to Tackle Distractions
Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.
Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!
Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:
1. Set Time Aside for Focusing
One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.
Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.
2. Beware of Emails
Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.
Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.
Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.
3. Let Technology Help
As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?
Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.
4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted
Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.
This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.
So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.
Time is in Your Hands
At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.
You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.
Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.
So what are you waiting for?
Featured photo credit: Aron Visuals via unsplash.com