“You can talk to yourself as long as you don’t answer.”
I’ve always told people that when I’ve seen them talking to themselves. The truth is, we all have conversations with ourselves from time to time. It may not always be out loud, sometimes it’s just in our heads. These conversations can help us throughout the day. Here are four things leaders should be telling themselves.
I can do it.
Most everything in life starts with a belief that we can do it. Now, this doesn’t mean we’re jerks and bull our way through life thinking we have all the answers. This means we tell ourselves that we have a unique gift to offer the world. It means we have the confidence people desire in a leader and the desire to make things happen.
I don’t know everything.
You never will know everything. Ask people that have been alive longer than we’ve been thought of and they’ll tell you they don’t know everything. Ask veteran leaders of some of the world’s most powerful organizations and they’ll tell you the same thing. Sure, you’re a leader so you have great gifts, ideas and wisdom, but you don’t know everything. You know what? It’s totally OK too!
I don’t want to demand it.
Leaders don’t demand, leaders influence. One of the toughest parts of being leader (especially a young leader) is having the patience to lead instead of demand and command. If you have the authority and the title, you absolutely could. Sometimes, it’s actually the only way. It shouldn’t be your first choice. Lasting change to your organization and people comes through leading people to change and excel all on their own.
Leaders are shepherds. I really believe that. Sure, we understand this as pastoral leaders, but it’s really true in all senses of leadership. No matter what you lead or where you lead, you have to care about people. When life kicks others in the backside, we have to be willing to say, “I understand.” We have to be willing to say that to ourselves so we don’t get frustrated when the people we lead fall behind. We have to be able to say to the people that are going through tough times, “I understand and you need to take some time.”
What other conversations should leaders have with themselves?