Start well . . . lead yourself!


"If you want to manage somebody, manage yourself. Do that well and you’ll be ready to stop managing and start leading.”1

Are You Ready To Lead? It Begins With This.

Ben did not seem destined for success. His father’s soap-manufacturing business provided a modicum of security, but Ben was not going to "get to the top" on a ladder of soap. To make matters worse, Ben was the fifteenth child in the family; a place in the pecking order that guaranteed a lot of pecks.

Ben was undeterred! At twenty-two he established his own printing house. He invented a lightning rod, stove and bifocals. He wrote Poor Richard's Almanack which sold 10,000 copies during a year when Philadelphia’s own population was only 20,000. He created the first public library, helped pave the first streets, and established a volunteer fire department.

Ben (Benjamin Franklin) would go on to help draft the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.[2]

Why was it that Franklin never took mediocrity as a traveling companion? What was the secret that catapulted him to national fame and won him audiences with kings? Trace Franklin’s life and you will discover that this founding father mastered the leadership principle that most people miss – he learned to lead himself.

What Does God Say?

Dive into the pages of Scripture and you will discover the principle of self-leadership:

Jesus modeled it. The gospel writers take us on his early morning prayer walks:

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed (Mark 1:35). And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read (Luke 4:1).

Paul implored it. He counseled Timothy, his young protégé: Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12). Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Timothy 4:16).

David ignored it and suffered the consequences of a train wreck called adultery. He practiced it and averted a personal catastrophe: And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

You must lead yourself

I long to be a good steward of the gifts and talents God has entrusted to me. I want to grow as a leader. I want the impact of my work to outlive my life. Continually engaging in the act of self-leadership is part of God's process to that end.

In dependence on Him, I must lead myself.

This week, we will examine three essential aspects of self-leadership: recognizing capacities, establishing replenishment strategies, and evaluating our self-leadership using a time-tested assessment tool.

  • Tuesday:The Secret To Staying Afloat
  • Wednesday:Why You Need A Replenishment Strategy
  • Thursday:Checking The Gauges
  • Friday:Quips and Quotes on Self Leadership

[1] A message as published in the Wall Street Journal by United Technologies Corporation, Hartford, Connecticut. Used in Leaders, by Warren Bennis & Burt Nanas. Harper & Row, New York, 1985, page 21.

[2] Ted Engstrom, Motivation To Last A Lifetime I initially published this under "Leadership Reflections" on my blog in July, 2010. I am posting it again since I referenced the exercise in a message I gave to the Spanish River Church Family on 3/6/11.