Leadership is not simply the task and responsibility of leading other people or setting the course for a groups success. It must also include the determination and responsibility of self leadership. A leader that expends all their time in the pursuit of leading others, building a company or creating a vision for a better future; and yet, spends no time in examining their own personal well being, will discover too late how off course they truly have become. Great leadership must start with personal decisions and disciplines that keep the leader authentic, approachable and adventurous.
Step for a few moments into the musty cabin of your thoughts. There on the desk is a brown leather book, the corners crumpled and smudged with the frequent thumbing of the pages. Open it respectfully and read the hand scribbled notes on the first page. The thoughts of self leadership...
"I am the captain of my own ship. No one else can command her. I am the only one responsible for this vessel. I am the one who determines her ports of call, when she sails, and where.
Destinations vary. Some are familiar. Some are uncharted waters. And a few are beyond the horizon. I choose the direction. And once a destination or direction is chosen, I am the one who chooses to stay the course or divert.
No one is allowed on board without my permission. No cargo may be stored without my clearance.
The condition of my ship -- it's cleanliness, repair, appearance and readiness is a direct result of my attention.
Morale on board my ship is directly related to my disposition and choices. My "inner" crew, (the officers: mind, attitude and heart) take their lead from me. If I am of a foul mood and run aground in poor attitude, they begin to reflect that spirit. However, if I am of good spirit (full sail and flags flying), they rally together for the greatest adventure - in spite of the odds or conditions.
I am the captain of my own ship. I am in command or I am not. And if I am not, than my ship is subject to all kinds of influences: impostors, scoundrels, negative men, winds of pessimism, torrents of undisciplined thoughts, breakers of unproven and impatient people, and unfit cargo pirated aboard. All that which weighs a ship down. A ship like that eventually sinks or is left tattered and weathered beyond recognition.
I am the captain of my own ship. I set the course. Today, I choose to set sail for new lands. Welcome aboard!