Each day you have the ability to make the choice to take control of your life, or to let it control you. You can either be proactive, or you can let circumstances call the shots.
To take control of your life or exercise personal leadership is to take responsibility for yourself and for every area of your life. It means being connected with your values, your vision and to set meaningful goals for yourself. When you do, you become more productive, more optimistic, able to solve problems more easily and ultimately have less stress in your life.
No doubt, with all the chaos and uncertainty that is going in the world these days it may be difficult to feel like you are in charge of your life, and while there are some things you have no control over, there is much that you do. Understand that you are the principal architect and creator of your life and that you are where you are at, because of the choices and decisions you have made thus far.
An interesting concept that I came across in my readings recently, and as it relates to personal leadership, is to see yourself as the CEO of your own life. If you were to apply it to yourself, how would run your life? What kind of strategic planning would you do and how would you envision your future? I would guess that in seeing yourself as the CEO of your life, you would be inspired to think in a more effective, results oriented manner.
As your own CEO, here are some ways in which you can take control of your life and exercise personal leadership:
Determine your values and what's important to you. As I wrote in Have A Personal Value System, knowing what your values are gives you structure and purpose, which in turn directs you on how to focus your time and efforts. It would be similar to the 'mission statement' a company would hold. As you probably know, a mission statement typically spells out the overall goals and drives the actions of an organization. It likewise provides a roadmap and guides the decision-making processes for management.
In your life your mission statement could be something like: "My purpose is to live life to the fullest by taking the care of my health, relationships, finances and overall happiness to the best of my abilities."
When you state your objective so succinctly, you can't help but be focused and take the right actions for where you need to be. This also helps keep you from being aimless and scattered, not to mention avoiding hit and miss situations.
Plan, be organized and set goals. Think of the big picture of what you want in your life and then break it down to manageable parts. For everything that you want to accomplish, you need a strategy or action plan. One way is to set goals appropriate to your mission statement and then devise a plan on how to go about achieving them. Nothing happens by itself; so taking charge of your life entails taking the bull by the horns. Rather than daydreaming about what you want or engaging in wishful thinking, you set the wheels in motion for success. In fact, the planning stages can actually be fun and challenging! Not only will you achieve your objectives, you will sharpen your critical thinking and problem solving skills in the process.
The most successful CEOs in the world are those who set realistic, achievable goals for their companies, plan the best strategies and then execute them accordingly. They also set their priorities, organize their tasks and duties and make sure all the different departments are running smoothly and efficiently. There is a famous quote that states, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
Maintain a positive attitude. Sometimes
one of the hardest things to do is remain
positive when your best efforts to take control of your life
don't go according to plan. As any CEO will tell you, there are always
obstacles and roadblocks that get in the way of any launch or rollout.
In another similar example, ask any athlete, inventor or composer.
Would you think that everything comes together for them smoothly and
without any glitches? Definitely not!
The quality or character trait that separates those who succeed and those that do not, is a positive attitude and an unshakable belief in themselves. They do not let negative thoughts or obstacles get in the way of ultimate achievement. Of course, that does not mean that it is easy; it means that persistence and focus are necessary. Those who cannot maintain control of their lives quite often want to give up at first sign of trouble or difficulty. When that happens, all else seems to unravel as well, and they mistakenly feel they have no control of anything at all in their lives. This type of mindset is both counterproductive and detrimental to progress. Maintaining a positive attitude is absolutely essential for taking control of your life.
Have fun. While taking control of your life involves a lot of planning, strategy and executing, it could weigh you down if you forget to take time to have some fun. Living a full, productive life requires maintaining balance between work, relaxation and recreation. Too much structure makes Jack or Jill a dull person.
To take control of your life try an experiment by envisioning yourself as the CEO of your personal company - your own life. The concept alone will make you feel more in control. Then make the types of plans, choices and decisions that you would expect a successful CEO would make and you will be surprised at how much more in control of your life you will feel. It may take some practice and role playing, but the outcome will be - YOU in control of your life.