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The Most Important Person You'll Ever Lead

by Sarah Long

As adults, we wear many hats in life. Maybe your “hats” include parent, friend, employee, supervisor, or business owner. Whatever your roles include, chances are you lead at least one person in your life, either personally or professionally.

However, we often forget that the most important person we can lead is the one that stares back at us in the mirror. If we don’t lead ourselves well, our leadership of others quickly becomes less and less effective.

Here are five important areas of self-leadership:

Are you making time for exercise? Maybe you have yet to find a form of fitness that keeps you engaged, excited, and focused on your goals. Keep looking and don’t be afraid to try new things! How’s your nutrition? Do you drink enough water every day? Do you have a healthy sleeping pattern? These are all extremely important factors that play into so many other aspects of life.

Do you find yourself feeling constantly rushed? Do you find that your emotions tend to be all over the place? Do you need to take more “me time”? Staying in tuned with our feelings and assigning them both validation and importance will help us be more balanced in our everyday life. One helpful tool you can use is the app Daylio, which tracks your activities during the day along with your emotions. It can reveal interesting patterns in what activities trigger good and bad days.

Do you have a budget? If so, do you stick to it? When was the last time you tracked your expenses compared to your income? Do you live below your means so you can save money and be generous to others? Debt and money in general adds an incredible amount of stress. The less stressed you are about money, the more you can help others in this area.

Whatever your beliefs might be, are you surrounding yourself with people who can support you and help you grow in that area? I know that topics of faith can be very controversial, but they are still important! Community plays a big role in any spiritual development, so don’t be afraid to talk to your close friends about it!

It's easy to let our daily routine become “work, make dinner, help kids with homework, get them to bed, watch an hour of TV, sleep, repeat.” Do you make time to build friendships? It takes intentionality, so plan ahead of time as much as you need to. Even if it’s a phone call for an hour every Thursday, or meeting for lunch once a month. We all need those friends who know what makes us tick, who we can vent to, laugh with, cry with, and just live life with.

Now, rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in each of the five areas. For the next week, hone in on the area you struggle with most and pay attention to any changes.

It takes work and intentionality, but leading ourselves well will have a great positive effect on everyone we interact with!

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