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Why being a leader is no longer a choice

I’ve always said that achieving professional leadership begins with personal leadership. But what is the value in becoming a leader for those with no aspiration of professional leadership? What’s the benefit of being a leader in our personal lives?

First it’s important to understand that personal leadership isn’t just a stepping stone to professional success. It’s success in itself. I use the phrase ‘professional leadership begins with personal leadership’ to convey a sequence, not a hierarchy. My message is that you can’t have lasting outer (professional) success without first having inner (personal) success.

The following highlights the differences between someone that’s merely managing their life versus an individual on a path to personal mastery; and it’s clear which individual has a more fulfilling life.

Take a personal inventory to see how you measure up in the 4 differences between managers and leaders. Are you managing or leading your life?

4 differences between managers and leaders:

1. Managers Maintain – Leaders Develop

Ever since I was a child I have had the instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential – Bruce Lee

Someone that’s managing their life is generally content with the status quo. They’re happy to maintain what they currently have in their careers, their relationships, their health etc.

Someone that’s leading their life never settles for the status quo.  A leader is always looking to improve themselves and those around them. They want a world-class career, relationships, health and experiences. They work to develop each area of their life because they understand the fundamental truth that if something’s not growing it’s dying.

2. Managers have a short-term orientation – Leaders have a long-term orientation

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision – Helen Keller

Because their emphasis is on maintenance, someone managing their life has a short term orientation. They focus on getting through the day, the week or maybe the month. But they don’t have a compelling vision of the future that inspires them to push their limits.

Since a leader is focused on developing a world-class life, they have a clear and ambitious vision of the future. This vision makes them jump out of bed each morning. It keeps them motivated, focused and hungry, and gives them the discipline to make each day count.

 3. Managers react to change – Leaders create change

I believe that everyone chooses how to approach life. If you’re proactive, you focus on preparing. If you’re reactive, you end up focusing on repairing. – John C. Maxwell

This short term orientation means that someone managing their life can’t predict positive or negative changes that could impact them. Unaware and unprepared, they are in a constant state of reaction.

Inspired by a vision of the future, someone that’s leading their life is proactive and creates change based on the possible threats and opportunities they foresee. This allows them to make decisions from a position of power with time to prepare.

4. Managers focus on efficiency – leaders focus on effectiveness

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things – Peter F. Drucker

Someone reacting to change can only focus on efficiency because their response is often dictated by their environment. As such, they have to do the best with the limited choices they have. As the late Stephen R. Covey said ‘most of us spend too much time on what us urgent and not enough time on what is important.’

On the other hand, someone that is creating the change themselves, can focus on effectiveness – doing the right things; the critical things, the things that will bring the greatest reward.

Don’t just manage your life – Lead your life.

Become the CEO of myself.Inc today:

1. Never settle for the status quo – because if you’re not growing you’re dying

2. Create a compelling vision of the future that makes you jump out of bed each morning

3. Be proactive not reactive – Create the change necessary for you to succeed

4. Focus on effectiveness not efficiency. As Peter F. Drucker said ‘there’s nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.’

To you becoming the leader you are destined to be and living a life worthy of your greatness,

With so much love,

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