By Brian Harman & Geoff Koboldt – original article on LinkedIn
What is personal leadership?
If leadership is the practice of strategy and influence, personal leadership is influence over self which means self awareness plus self-management.
In order to practice real personal leadership, one must create cycles of positive behavior fueled by self-trust. You then reinforce your self-trust with acts of self-love.
Self-trust and self love?
That means that you need to make promises and keep promises to yourself, then perform an act of self-love to reinforce that positive action. This deliberate and disciplined behavioral cycle is what you see in the highest-performing people out there.
But be careful. Too much self-reward can lead to addiction and self-destructive habits. Not enough self-reward and you can get burnout and fatigue.
If you want to build an additional layer of accountability and motivation, declare your promises to someone else.
For example, I could tell my wife that I’m going to ride the Peleton bike for an hour on Saturday. Now if she sees me keep that promise to myself, she’ll see that I’m a person that practices self-trust and be more willing to trust me as a result. But I too have seen that I can trust myself and was more likely to follow through because I didn’t want to let her down too.
Consider the alternative behavior. I drink too much wine on Friday night, wake up groggy and skip the workout. My self-trust dwindles and corrodes. Any further promises that I make to myself can easily become shattered with insignificance and bad habitual practices.
If you can make and keep promises to yourself with an equal dose of self-love as a reward, you’re on the right track.
Once that’s happening consistently, you can start making and keeping promises to other people in a strong and intentional way. That’s called interpersonal trust.
Let’s take this deeper.
Picture this. The water jets gently push up against your sore back as the steam of the 101 degree water relaxes you into a blissful state. The night breeze is soft and quiet. The moonlight shines down reflecting off the surface of the water. You look around with a grin. This is paradise.
It’s actually my first day in my new hot tub; a gift I had finally bought for myself and my family.
You see, as I neared the end of 2020, I reflected back on my year as I normally do. While I should have been super excited and celebrating my hard work and achievements, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that all of that came at the expense of my mental well-being and a continual sore back from sitting too long working all day.
Despite 3 successful months having reduced body fat and weight, I stopped working out consistently in April. My daily meditations were inconsistent. My guitar was collecting dust. Being truly present with my family was limited.
Ultimately, I was sacrificing time for money and it was wearing me way down.
I knew it was time to forgive myself and time to recalibrate my life. It was time to reconnect to my purpose. It was time to start rewarding myself for hard work. It was also time to make some new promises.
I made a promise to myself and my wife that I would optimize my physical and mental health and successfully integrate work so I was living more in the NOW.
More time for family, hobbies, mental and physical health, movie nights, and other fun activities with the whole family (and my own hot tub meditations to be included).
What’s the lesson?
We all get off the track from time to time. Trust yourself, believe in yourself and enjoy the journey. It starts with YOU. Build cycles of self-trust by keeping your promises. First things first, make some new promises.
How can you take action now?
Make a promise to yourself for this weekend. Tell someone about it. Keep that promise. Reward yourself.
Make a promise, keep it, enjoy an act of self-love, repeat. That’s self-trust.
If you care about people, relationships, and trust, join Geoff Koboldt and Brian Harman as they continue their series of co-authored articles on the topics of trust and leadership.