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I had a problem. I kept laying books around the house when my wife asked me consistently to put them back on the shelf when I was finished. That isn't an issue in any average home, but it can get overwhelming in our house, where I have spent the equivalent of a second college degree on books. So, my wife had every right to ask me to corral the chaos. And here I am, weeks into a mess of my own creation. Books were strewn all over my desk, on the floor, by my bed, on the dresser, and in the kitchen. I told you I have a problem.
But my loving wife decided to rescue me. She found a new system for storing books and decided to try it. When I came home, my books were all rearranged. All my books all over the house were neatly back on the shelves where they belonged. And from that day forward, as long as the system is in effect (we have moved and the books haven't been unpacked and organized) and books are again organized in my wife's ingenious way, they always get put back where they belong– on the shelf.
By now, you are probably wondering how she did it. Well, I will tell you a few paragraphs later.

Learning The Secret To Self-Leadership

This series of events was an aha moment for me. While I am the most challenging person I have to lead, I can't seem to force myself into systems that are not in a “goldilocks zone” for me. I have such a difficult time leading me. It's the most challenging thing I do daily. In fact, today, I have to invoice clients, edit videos, prepare, print, and distribute documents for my team this Sunday: all activities that bore me to death– and create angst inside me. I would instead write better copy for my website, have a coaching coffee with a client, or just go hit a bucket of golf balls at Big Shots. But Alas– admin is my lot–for today. However, I have learned that I can only become the person I want to be with these tough love and discipline moments. And if I am honest, these tasks that drain me or that I'm not very good at, they take as much time to psyche myself up to do the task as it does to actually do it– so that equals twice the time… because I'm challenging to lead. I must lead myself– but does it have to be so complicated?
The conventional wisdom says yes. I don't think so. This is what my wife taught me that day she changed my personal library.
The author of an Ancient faith community of Jewish Christians wrote a fascinating verse.
“In the Moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
Can I Americanize this verse? I'm going to:
Disciplining yourself sucks in the moment, but if you embrace the suck and commit to the habit– when that habit is fully formed in you, it will create a life of peace and wholeness.
It seems that it does have to be so hard, but I believe the pursuit of consistency over time isn't leisurely nor is it complicated. The willingness and commitment to keep working on your incremental improvement, combined with a system that works for you, will make it simple.

How To Lead Yourself Effectively

And that's the Aha! My desire wasn't the issue with putting my books back. It was the system. If the system isn't helpful– find another system. Systems aren't right or wrong– even though we tend to moralize them. They are either useful or not. The alphabetical system in my home was not useful for me. Do you know what system was? Color coding. Yes… I am basically a toddler. I couldn't seem to burn the extra three calories to figure out the author's last name in proximation to the other authors– but I could be a caveman and go “Yellow go with Yellow.. [grunt].”
My self-leadership is only as successful as my system.
The same goes for you.
The first step to self-leadership isn't beating yourself up for sucking– it's the type of leader that sees the limitations and strengths of the person you're leading (in this case, you) and makes it attainable for them to succeed. That requires empathy, attentiveness, and experimentation.

“Self-Leadership Is Only As Successful As Your System”

I'm trying to live by a calendar now. I have experimented with about 20 different systems and am still working to find the one that I can consistently follow. I am partnering with myself in the process. I will let you know when I find the right one for me.
In the meantime, find a part of your life that needs improvement and commit to finding a useful system for you—then stick to it like you're duct tape at a construction site. By the way, take notes as you lead yourself because if you can't force yourself into consistency, chances are you can't do that with anyone else in your life, either. Learning to Lead yourself effectively will help you become a better leader of others.
Chestly Lunday

Chestly Lunday

Chestly Lunday led two pioneering national research studies on emerging generational trends in technological engagement and faith to help faith-based organizations shift their practices to reach young people. He is an expert in Organizational Leadership, Digital Transformation, and Intergenerational Team-Building and a sought-after international speaker. Chestly was an Airman in the Air National Guard, has started two non-profits, and three businesses. Currently, he coaches entrepreneurs of young, fast-growing business with 10-50 employees to grow their time, and team and profits without burning out. Chestly's insights have helped many leaders grow their organizations in a disruptive time of generational and technological change.

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