Today we’re going to be talking about how to lead yourself to be a better leader. So we’re going to be tackling things that are difficult to do, like procrastination, and waking up in the morning.
So why is it so important to learn to lead ourselves and to become better leaders?
You see, a lot of people are struggling with so many things—and one of those things is procrastination. It’s getting up at the right time in the morning so that you can exercise, take care of your body, and eat the right foods, all to gain better health long term.
Now, this is not going to be an all-encompassing topic, since this is a very complex one. Instead, what I’m sharing today is everything that I personally do to avoid procrastination, and I hope that this adds value to your day.
So how I’m able to conquer my day is I usually tell myself, “today matters, Sean, today matters.” I say it when I don’t feel like waking up at the right time in the morning or when I don’t feel like exercising. And I have to tell myself that, because exercise is not really that pleasurable for a lot of people. It takes time. It takes effort. You’re perspiring.
It’s so easy to overlook exercising and eating right that we often just don’t do it. And when those temptations come my way, what I tell myself is, “Today matters. Your health matters today. Exercise matters today. Your decisions matter today.”
And that helps me to get into the right mindset that I need to do this. I need to do these things now. I cannot procrastinate because today matters. I cannot afford to wait until tomorrow. And I overestimate tomorrow and so do a lot of people.
We often overestimate what we can do tomorrow. We tell ourselves, “No, I’ll do that tomorrow. No, I’ll submit this tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be great because tomorrow I’ll feel like it. Tomorrow is a better day because tomorrow is going to be inspiring for me.”
We overestimate tomorrow and we underestimate today. But today matters. It is so important for you and me to make the most out of our day.
You see, when you don’t give 100% of yourself today, you only give 50%, 60%, 70% for yourself, for your work, for your business, guess what? You cannot give that 30% that you’re lacking tomorrow, because tomorrow you can only give 100%. That’s it.
So everything that you’re leaving on the table today that you think you’re going to be giving the day after, that’s not going to happen. You can only give 100% of yourself every single day. That’s it. So do not shortchange yourself by giving just 70%, by giving just 60% and telling yourself, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
Another thing that a lot of people struggle with is having clear directions for goals in life. There are certain times that we’re simply afloat. We float along, and the direction we want to go in life is unclear.
But, knowing your goals in life is so important, because they address the question, what are you waking up for?
For example, I shared exercising earlier. I try my best to exercise every day because if I don’t, the consequences are going to be great.
And here’s why: my work demands a lot out of me. And there’s so much stress, there are so many problems that come on my plate. If I don’t exercise, what happens is that I get hot-headed. I get impatient when dealing with people. I find myself to be less of myself, and I couldn’t lead effectively that way.
Another reason why I exercise is I want to live long and well with my family. I have young kids and it is going to be rewarding for us if I can still play basketball with them, run with them, play tennis with them—whatever they want to do when they grow up. I have a goal of still being able to do that alongside them.
If I don’t take care of my body now, I’m probably not going to be able to do that when that time comes. So it’s very clear to me that I have these goals in life and I’m going in that direction. That is why I keep telling myself today matters and your health matters today. You got to exercise.
Another thing to keep in mind is: Consistency is so important. I cannot address this enough. I know it’s not a sexy word, right? You don’t tell someone, “Oh, you’re so consistent.” It doesn’t come out as a sexy word. But consistency is one of the greatest things that you can do with your life.
Being consistent with your health, being consistent with what you’re learning, what you’re putting in your head, what you watch, what you read, what you listen to, and your circle of friends. Being consistent in your intentional growth is so key, it’s so vital because that compounds over time.
The things that I’m sharing with you now are not things that I just got out of a book yesterday. It is because I consistently learn something new every day.
Just before this, I was reading the book, The One Thing by Gary Keller. And I’ve learned so much from that book, just a few chapters that I have finished.
And that kind of consistency of reading every day, and listening to podcasts every day, that consistency has helped me with my work in SEO Hacker, and with my podcasts and episodes in Leadership Stack.
When these consistent things that you do over time compound on themselves, what happens that you become a person who is so valuable to the world.
By leading yourself, you become a better leader and you add value to everyone else around you.
Now, if you’ve read my previous post on networking, that is a really good picture of the compound effect.
When you’re consistently going out networking, meeting new people, your network compounds because the more people you meet, if you’re consistent in getting in touch with them, in getting to know them, helping them out, adding value to them, it compounds because now they’re going to be connecting you to a lot more people.
Consistency compounds over time, and that compounding gives you value.
Now the same is true in reverse, where if you’re consistently not taking care of your health if you’re consistently saying, “I’ll do that tomorrow, I’ll exercise tomorrow”, what happens to your health is that it deteriorates over time in a compounding way.
Someday soon, even though you’re still probably in your early or late thirties, you’re going to have a heart attack, or you’re going to need a triple bypass surgery because it compounds over time. Consistency compounds over time.
So make sure you’re consistent about the right things in your life that will add value to you as a person. Lead yourself better so that you can become a better leader and add value to everyone around you.
Another thing that I want to address here in leading yourself better is you got to know your strengths and weaknesses as a human being.
Now, I know that sounds so hard to do, but there are so many tools out there, such as Gallup’s Strengths Finder 2.0. There are so many coaches out there, and it’s not an expensive tool to use.
You can just take the assessment, pay and finally get your strengths, understand what your strengths are, learn what your weaknesses are as well from that tool, and you’ll get to know yourself better.
You get to understand, “Why do I react that way when I’m faced with a certain circumstance? Why do I become impatient when I’m faced with this kind of situation or people? Or why am I so good when I’m dealing with a crisis?”
Knowing your strengths and your weaknesses helps you to be more aware and know what to improve in yourself as a leader.
I always say Improve on your strengths, don’t improve on your weaknesses. Yes, you can try to turn a weakness into a nonweakness, but your weaknesses can never turn into strengths. That is how God made us. That is who we are.
My handwriting has always been a weakness of mine. I write like a doctor. That is something that I think I can never turn into a strength. I’m not going to be a calligraphy artist, but I could turn it into a nonweakness.
I’d rather use the keyboard and print things from now on or I would try my best to make my writing as legible as possible. But it is not something that I can turn into a strength anymore.
I would rather work on my strengths because that is what the world is going to be willing to hire me for. That is the value that I bring to the world. And some of my strengths are in negotiation, communication, and leadership.
I would rather work on these strengths because they can make me more valuable, and thus earn me more security in my lifetime.
Work on your strengths. That is how you become a better leader and how you can lead yourself better. Be more aware of who you are, and what your strengths and weaknesses are.
The next thing I want to talk about is time for reflection and thinking.
We have lost this skill. The generations today—the Millennials, and Gen Zs—we’ve lost this because we’re so tuned in to social media. We’re so tuned into the Internet that we seek the dopamine spikes that it brings us. We seek distractions.
Our minds are so overstimulated that when we get bored when the time comes for us to do nothing and sit and think, it’s alien to us. We’re not used to it. We fiddle with things. We try to get our phones. We try to open social media apps.
Whatever it is, the point is, we have lost the ability to reflect and think. And this is so important because you can only lead yourself better when you think about the things that you need to do, the things that you need to improve.
And these are not a hundred things. These are simple one, two, or three things that you list down on a piece of paper and say, “Yeah, this is one major point about me, one major attitude, one major character flaw that I need to work on in the next six months or so. And if I can improve this, my life would generally be better. I would be a better leader, and I would give more value to the people around me. “
Just three things. It doesn’t have to be a long list, but you have to really reflect and think about what those things are.
For example, I know I have a weakness of speaking the truth without any love, without any sugar coating. Now, that might make sense for a lot of people. But here in the Philippines, where the culture is very soft and very emotional, it doesn’t help a lot of people when you just speak the truth.
They think that you’re trying to attack them which is not my intention, but it comes out as that. And these things, I listed them down and I looked at myself and said, “How can I improve in the way that I deal with people?”
And I meditated on it. I thought about it. I hired coaches for it. I reflected on Bible verses for it as well. I’ve done counseling for it. I did a lot of things to improve myself in this area.
Now, if I didn’t reflect and think about it, I probably would still be suffering from that character flaw that I have.
And lastly, I want to talk about commitment versus willingness.
How we lead ourselves is based on this. Are we just willing to change? Are we just willing to say today matters? Are we just willing to wake up at the right time in the morning? Or are we committed to doing it?
There’s a story about a chicken, pig, and farmer, where the farmer approaches the other two and says to them, “My family’s coming over and my relatives are coming over. There’s a lot of people, what can I serve them?”
And the chicken says, ‘Well, you can serve them my eggs. I have a lot of eggs. I’m willing to help.” And then the farmer turns to the pig and asks the pig, “Well, how about you? What can you offer? What can you put on the table?” And the pig looks at him and says, “Well, I can only give myself. “
You see, in that story, the chicken was willing, but the pig was committed. How much of ourselves do we really give to becoming a better leader? How much of ourselves do we really give to doing things right every day? Be committed to becoming a better leader, not just willing. Be committed.