Leading others begins with leading yourself. You’re in a unique position to influence the lives of the people in your group. But you have to lead yourself first.
DEPEND ON GOD
Self-leading begins with being fully dependent on God. The best leaders have learned how to follow God. They know they are always under his authority. Keep in mind that you’re a steward of what God has entrusted to you—beginning with yourself. Your gifts don’t belong to you and they aren’t there to serve you. God has given them to you so you can use them to serve him. Most important, in order to lead yourself well, you must follow the Holy Spirit. Learn how to let the Spirit lead you. Don’t get out in front of him. This can be tricky (you are, after all, a leader). But it’s important to remember that God is in charge, not you.
Leading yourself involves knowing yourself. You should be a lifelong student of yourself. If you can’t currently answer the following questions, start moving in the direction where you can.
- What is your personality type?
- What are your top three spiritual gifts?
- What energizes you?
- What drains you?
- How do you best connect with God?
In addition to being a lifelong student of yourself, you need to have people in your life who know your weaknesses and struggles and who love you enough to point them out to you. We all have imperfections we can’t see. The remedy is a trusted circle of friends to hold us accountable.
Leaning into other people isn’t enough, though. On a regular basis, you need to ask God to reveal your faults, to refine you, and to make you more and more like Jesus (Ps 139:23-24).
To lead yourself well, you have to be intentional—you have to do something. All self-leaders do five things:
- BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND. Self-leaders have a vision for the kind of people they want to be and they pursue that vision.
- ACTIVELY LEARN. Self-leaders recognize that they’re responsible for their spiritual development. They explore and discover. They’re curious.
- PRACTICE REST. Self-leaders make time to reflect and recharge. They maintain a sustainable pace.
- PURSUE HEALTH. Self-leaders take the necessary steps to become or remain physically, emotionally, and relationally healthy.
- LEAD FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Self-leaders recognize they can never rise above the limits of their own characters. They cultivate integrity and moral authority by maintaining harmony between what they say and how they live.