Personal leadership involves the development of a positive self-image that gives you the courage and self confidence necessary to make a conscious choice of a specific course of action that will satisfy your needs, to follow that path, and to accept responsibility for the outcome. Personal leadership demands conscious assumption of control over your own destiny though the establishment of personal goals that give depth and meaning to every action.
“When you possess personal leadership, you can write your own ticket to success; you can name your own price for fame.”
Consider this definition of personal leadership:
Personal leadership is the self-confident ability to crystallize your thinking and establish an exact direction for your own life, to commit yourself to moving in that direction, and then to take determined action to acquire, accomplish, or become whatever you identify as the ultimate goal for your life. When you possess personal leadership, you can write your own ticket to success; you can name your own price for fame. Anything you can visualize is yours — money, power, prestige, acclaim — when you meet challenges with confidence and demonstrate true personal leadership. Every instance in which you act out of self-confidence through a sense of commitment of purpose or from desire to fulfill your own personal needs is an expression of your personal leadership.
Doing what you know is right and productive for you regardless of obstacles or the opinions of others is the essence of personal leadership. While everyone practices personal leadership to some extent, few of us have developed our personal leadership abilities to their fullest potential. As a result, the personal leadership we exhibit is often inconsistent because we have not been adequately trained in its art. Besides of the lack of instruction, another principal reason for not using personal leadership is the lack of experience. Inexperience makes us reluctant to act for fear of making mistakes. As a result, we fail to gain the fundamental experience in personal leadership that would assure success.
You have the potential for personal leadership. To at least some degree, you have already developed your ability; and what you have learned in part, you can master and perfect. Personal leadership is not created by situations but by your response to them.Nothing restricts your personal leadership potential except the artificial limitations you place on your own mind.
The proper beginning point for developing more effective personal leadership
is with the strengths and abilities you have now. Using them with courage builds your self-confidence and your belief that you can achieve your most challenging goals. Developing personal leadership is leading yourself along the path to success. It is applying self-motivation to realize and use more of your God-given potential.
You need no tools other than those you already possess. The development of personal leadership uses those talents and abilities you already have.
Follow these procedures to prepare for personal leadership:
1. Recognize and believe in your own untapped potential.
2. Understand yourself and develop a strong self-image.
3. Learn how to generate on a consistent basis an unlimited supply of self- motivation.
4. Become a practitioner of goal setting.
Rewards of Leadership
Personal leadership is the ability to obtain maximum joy from life, whatever meaning that expression may have for you. It is knowing what you want to do and having the
confidence to do it. It is the realization that the essence of life is found as much in the giving as in the getting. Each person has a private world to conquer and a unique contribution to make. You are given a blank canvas, and all the color of the spectrum are on your palette. You can create masterpieces comparable to those of Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and DaVinci; or you can merely splash the canvas with the dull gray of mediocrity. You conduct life’s symphony. You can allow the tempo to drag and keep the volume low and unobtrusive, or you can revel in all the variations of tone,
tempo, and harmony that bring vibrant excitement to life. Personal leadership is certainly within your reach if you learn to use more of your potential.
The exercise of personal leadership brings to your life the rewards you most desire:
1. The freedom to choose your own path to success,
2. The confidence that you are following a life plan that is right for you,
3. The elimination of confusion and frustration that come from trying to please others when that means denying your own goals, and
4. The challenge and excitement of developing all of your potential.
You live in a rich and abundant world that provides more opportunities than you could possibly pursue. You were created to be a striver and a goal seeker — to be forever
unsatisfied. Not content merely to grow, to live, and to reproduce, you must find purpose to life. When working toward goals and ideals, you are unsatisfied but not dissatisfied. The poet Robert Browning understood this distinction when he wrote: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for?”Along with the desire to achieve goals and to find purpose and meaning in life, you were given the means for reaching your goals. You are equipped with a vital reserve— an untapped potential — equal to your needs. Recognizing your untapped potential is the first step to preparation for personal leadership. The scientists who study human behavior agree that few people ever use more than a small portion of their potential. We all have infinitely more talents and abilities than we ever use.
Because your potential is virtually unlimited, success must be defined in terms that allow for stretching your limits to reach new heights.
Here is a definition of success that is broad enough to include all of your dreams yet specific enough to produce belief:
Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile predetermined personal goals.
Because you are a goal seeker and are almost continuously unsatisfied, you find success only in progressive realization of goals. It is not enough to set goals; you must
realize them by working toward them. They must be your own goals, compatible with your inner sense of values. If your goals are to hold your attention and attract you to them, they must be predetermined, and finally, they must be worthwhile — worthy of your best efforts. They must, in some measure, call upon your reserve strengths, your untapped potential. The principal reason many people do not find success is that they look for it by comparing themselves to others. If you evaluate success through comparison of yourself to others, then the more people you know, the less likely you are to feel successful. Life will be one big disappointment after another. On the other hand, you may be more successful than a neighbor, a brother or sister, or your parents and still be a dismal failure if you fall far short of your capacity for success. The only valid comparison you can make is to compare what you are to what you have the potential to become. You will be successful only when you resolve to develop your untapped potential and measure your success in the progressive realization of worthwhile predetermined personal goals.
Three tools are available for use in developing more of your personal leadership potential:
- Believe in your potential. Once your potential is put into action, it grows and gains momentum. Like an avalanche crashing down a mountainside, it sweeps every obstacle from its path.
- Exercise self-reliance. You are the only one who can discover and use your potential. Trust your ability
- Act with initiative. Be decisive. Refuse to wait for someone to tell you what to do.