Episode 051: Lead Yourself First

In order to successfully lead others, you must first lead yourself.  And when you make your life about helping others, everyone flourishes.

(c) AdobeStock

(c) AdobeStock Photo

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On This Episode

Rhythm of Life – The Yogurt Incident
Random Riffs – The Healing Power of Lullabies
Feature Segment – Lead Yourself First

Rhythm of Life – The Yogurt Incident

Not long ago, I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast.  The episode featured Britta, a former lawyer turned novelist.  She had quit her law practice and written a book.  And it actually sold!  As part of the interview, Britta was asked what caused her to reboot her life?

Britta said that it started in the yogurt aisle at the grocery store.  Tune into this segment to hear what revelation she had as she stood there.

I could relate to what Britta said.  There has been something about my work life that doesn’t quite “fit”.  As you heard in Episode 050 when I talked about my early career, there was a time when I thought I could really fit.  But as time went by, it got less and less that way.  Like a machine that performs the same action 1000 times a day.  No room for creativity.  No room for an artist.

Until I got sick.  I realized I needed to make a change.  But I couldn’t just quit, nor did I want to.  I had too much invested in the people I work with, my professional reputation, and the projects I was in the middle of.  I had to change my work without changing my job.  At least for now.  Tomorrow could still be another story.

What did I do?  I changed my approach.

Maybe you’ve had a yogurt incident of your own.  Maybe you feel as though you are living someone else’s life.  In your case, a simple change of outlook and intention may be enough.  Or it may not.  Only you can know for sure.

As we heard in Episode 046 , life’s too short to live someone else’s.  So why not try your life on for size?  See what does and doesn’t fit?  And start tailoring today.

Random Riffs – The Healing Power of Lullabies

“The soothing sound of mom singing may help premature newborns breathe easier, a new review finds.”  That is the first sentence of a fascinating article published in HealthDay in August, 2016.

More than 12 clinical trials found that music therapy helped stabilize premature newborns’ breathing rate during their time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  It not only stabilized the breathing rate, it also stabilized the heart rate, helped them sleep, and encouraged what the researchers called “quiet alert” time.

It seemed to work best when mothers sang to their own babies under the direction of a music therapist.  And when the song meant something to the mother.  It didn’t even have to be a traditional lullaby, as long as it was sung in the style of a lullaby.

So you can imagine what type of music could potentially be turned into a lullaby.  Just imagine your favorite song turned into a baby lullaby.  Listen to the episode to hear how I riffed on that idea!

Feature Segment – Lead Yourself First

This episode is a continuation of Episode 050, where we began to explore Leadership.  If you haven’t listened to it, you might want to go back and do that before listening to this one.

It’s important to acknowledge that many of us, perhaps even most of us, don’t work in an environment where leaders love.   Several studies have shown that anywhere from 70-80% of American workers are unhappy in their jobs.  And what is the biggest factor causing that unhappiness?  I believe it is the quality of the leadership – or lack thereof.

It’s not limited to the workplace either.  We feel the effects of leadership – both good and bad, even if we have trouble articulating why.

There were several horror stories from my Facebook friends.  Listen to hear what they had to say.  Maybe you can relate.

Now let’s look at further characteristics of a great leader besides vision, love, and trust.

In the end, it’s quite simple.  Be a real human.  Put the team first.  You’ll get results by casting a clear vision, offering tools and support, and making sure that you fix small problems.  Then you let the team loose to do what they do best.

It’s more rewarding.  More effective.  And more fun.  Winning while working together is an amazing experience.  Once you have it you won’t want to go back.

What about you?  Who are you leading right now?  How can you develop your leadership skills further?  Even if you don’t lead others, you can work to lead yourself.  Listen to the episode to hear an inspiring story of self-leadership leading to an incredible outcome.

Your Turn

If you want to develop as a leader, start by taking a self-assessment, using the characteristics I’ve described in this episode.

  • Inspiration
  • Love
  • Trust-building (bank account)
  • Responsibility
  • Empathy
  • Listening
  • Communication
  • Integrity
  • Commitment to Growth
  • Patience
  • Service
  • Courage

Rate yourself on a scale of 1-5 in each of these traits, with 5 being the best.  See where you think your strengths are, and where you may have room for growth.  You can even ask a few you trust for their evaluation and blend them together.

Next decide how to develop the traits you identified as growth opportunities.  There are books on every one of these topics, some of which are my website's Resources Page.  You can also find podcasts and training on leadership or some of these individual skills.  If you want to work one-on-one, there’s coaching.  I have a few spots open in Groovemaker Coaching, so feel free to check it out.

Whatever you do, don’t just let this be a passing thought.  Let’s work together to be and grow better leaders.  For ourselves and the generations to come.

Please share and discuss with a friend.  And let me know how you'd like to develop as a leader by adding a comment below.


Kathleen’s Resources
Groovemaker Coaching
Jeff Van Meter website
Extreme Ownership