7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Titus 2:7-8 (NIV)
I love the book of Titus because it is a practical synopsis of appropriate behavior as a follower of Jesus. The apostle Paul wastes no time in instructing his protégé, Titus, about how he is to carry himself as a leader of the embryonic Cretan church. One of the items he emphasizes is the importance of being a leader through example. Our worst witness is to say one thing and do another. People can “smell” inconsistency. No matter how wise you sound, personal application is measured by how well they see you “walking the talk”. If you are leader (at home or work), you know this to be true. Yet we find ourselves in situations where our actions don’t quite align with our expressed beliefs and intentions. What then? Here is something Shivana recently wrote on the topic.
Do you sometimes find yourself hearing about someone’s challenge or issue and then immediately you think about all the things they can do to either solve the issue or to better manage it? And quickly volunteer your solutions as sage advice to the person? Then as time moves on, you find yourself in a similar challenge, but don’t follow the sound advice you willingly dished out for someone else?
I think many of us fall into this trap from time to time and, full disclosure here, I must confess I recently did… You see, I had all the great suggestions for how I think my family members can care for their health more optimally, yet I was not practicing my own advice. I think this comes down to how well we are leading ourselves.
“If you want to be successful…. you cannot afford NOT to lead yourself well,” John C. Maxwell.
One important aspect of leading ourselves well is how we manage our priorities. Each of us has a different menu of priorities. What might be a priority for me may not be a priority for you and vice versa – which is fine. But there is a key priority that should be common to all because it directly impacts how we show up for any other priority. This is the priority of managing and growing ourselves.
As leaders, we hold ourselves as examples for those under us. Without investing in ourselves to consistently show up as our best selves, we cheat ourselves and those we lead. We can appear disengaged, unaware, and even uncaring, which all contribute to the erosion of morale and belonging. So how do we as leaders bring our best to our situations? How do we consistently show up as our best?
To answer this question, it is important for us to reflect on who we want to be. I don’t mean which celebrity or famous person we want to be. Rather it is about our beliefs, our values, our character all pulled into who we are being as a person.
When I think about who I want to be, I ask myself regularly if I am showing up aligned to that vision for myself. I question what I am doing. How am I engaging others? How am I using my time? What types of words am I using and how constructive are they? Are my choices serving me in being who I want to be or are they contradicting the vision for myself.
I am not perfect, so sometimes when I ask myself these questions, I realize I might be out of alignment with the vision I hold for myself. I have two choices at that point. I can either make an excuse or justification for the misalignment OR I can own the responsibility for myself, and course correct.
“Excuses are lies we tell ourselves so that it doesn’t have to be our fault,”
I have committed to eliminating excuses. Blaming anything outside of myself for who I am causes me to give up control over my responsibility. But when I own my responsibility for myself, it empowers me to change, to grow, to do the work I need to do for the result I am after.
“Don’t complain about the results you don’t have for the work you didn’t do,” Jasmine Star
What is the vision you hold for yourself as a leader at home and work? Are doing the work you need to do to live into that vision? If you need support in developing your vision and the growth plan to get you there reach out today! Don’t let an excuse hold you back from being the leader you want to be.