Lead Yourself, Lead Others, Lead the Leaders: Little Known Factors That Could Affect Your Leadership Results

This is a saying I’ve vocalized for many years.

This is more than just a focused statement for me.  It’s a value based approach I’ve lived for many years now.  “Lead Yourself, Lead Others, Lead the Leaders.”Lead Yourself Debbra Sweet 1

I first introduced this statement in the first version of  “The Power of Leadership in Business Networking”.

Initially, this theme was just a chapter in the book. I was talking about how to really be a leader when you are networking. In that approach to building your business, there really is a flow to how a person builds credibility in order to get referrals.

Over the last few years however, I have really come to understand the depth of this statement. In all aspects of our life, if we are truly going to be our best, walk with integrity of body, mind and self; if we are to live a balanced, fulfilled life, understanding the importance of this ‘flow of leadership’ is important.

I personally believe that the majority of people in our country are living a life that is not in true harmony between their inner self and their outer self. Too many people are living under a shield of ‘survival’ without knowing it.  Their inner self yearns for one type of life, yet their outer self resides in a world, a way of living, based on other people’s beliefs and values.

How do I know this? I lived that way for years too.  I have also learned how to let go of other people’s beliefs for me – and learn to embrace what are really my core beliefs, value systems and vision for my businesses, my life. Now I love to help others make that same transformation.

Mind you, I recognize that not every single person experiences this disconnect. I have met people who are blessed from a very young age to know who they are, know what they were born to do, and have had a support system around them to help make that happen. I love meeting people like this because it gives me a different perspective about life.

However, in my world, the majority of the people I coach, teach, consult with, are not in alignment. They struggle with things like: lack of health, (too much weight, too many meds, and increasing health issues due to their body being out of balance.).  I work with people who had a vision for themselves, but gave it up to the dreams and input of others around them.  Then there are others who are visionary, and always on the go- but are not sure how to create a team around them to make their vision a reality. They are great at doing, but not clear on how to inspire others to do the same.

In all these situations, the mindset (mantra? value system? concept?) of Lead yourself, Lead Others, Lead Leaders comes into play.

Whether your life is out of balance with your physicals (your body), your way of thinking or perceiving things (mind), and in your day to day profession (business)- the way to make a change that is lasting is to first slow down and make the commitment to: Lead Yourself.

What area(s) in your life need to get into a state of balance and vitality first? 

Do you lack health? You know you do if you are overweight, have many health symptoms and are unable to operate at peak performance. All these ‘symptoms’ are  ‘tells’ from your body that it needs attention from you.  To be your best for others, you must be your best for yourself first.

How you think affects all you do. This is a deep subject (One I’ve written about before), and will write about again. Your thinking encompasses more than just your day to day conscious thoughts. It gets into the deep, stored thoughts, beliefs and ideas you may not even recognize are the filters of your thinking.  Your thoughts dictate your actions, words and choices.

To lead yourself, not only might you need to change habits that relate to your physicals, but you might need to change your habits of your thinking.

Yes, this is not always easy or comfortable- but the outcome, the benefit of taking the time to learn to lead yourself so you live a life that is full of vitality, optimal health, resonate with an inner peace that shows in all your actions, words and outcomes- is worth every step of growth and temporary discomfort you may feel when letting go of old habits and beliefs.

To lead yourself takes time. The good news is: for lasting results, if you have the right kind of support in your life, you can experience a transformation wherein the journey is just as rewarding as arriving at the end destination.

When you understand and experience how to make changes in how you live, you then can inspire others. You begin to lead others – often as simple as them watching you.  When your thoughts, words and actions are in alignment; and when your inner and outer you are aligned- the power of you choices and way you present yourself each day- is remarkably motivating for others to do the same.

Finally, you can reach a point of leading leaders if you so choose.

I do my best to live in a state of integrity of the inner and outer me, aligned with my vision and values. I do not claim to be the expert that knows everything, but I do coach, teach and train from a place of experiential compassion, understanding and patience.  Along my journey I’ve discovered tools, systems and resources that can help you thrive in Body, Mind and Business.

What area in your life or profession would benefit by improving your thoughts, actions, words?

  • Do you seek optimal health (without drugs, deprivation, ‘dieting’?) If so, let’s talk. 
  • Do you seek to be a better leader in your life or business? If so, let’s talk.
  • Are you already leading and you want to improve results with your time and efforts in your business so that you are more profitable and have more money? If so, let’s talk.

As we delve into how to be a leader when networking, the real depth of understanding of “Lead Yourself, Lead Others, Lead Leaders” will be revealed.

 

What’s Your Priority Focused On?

Two days ago my youngest son and I were driving in my vehicle and the radio was on. We had been chatting aboutOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA things (sports, the weekend, etc.) There was a break in our conversation and suddenly over the airwaves was a voice on the radio that asked: “Are you putting God First or as a last resort?”

After the announcer finished the sentence, my son spoke up and said: “That’s a good question!”

So I asked him “ How about you? Do you put God first, or do you go to him as a last resort?”

He pondered this question and then answered, “ As a last resort. I like to try things on my own first.”

Then he asked me: “How about you Mom?”

My reply: “I do my best to keep God First, and not just for the big things. But the little, everyday, mundane things too. It’s about honoring the commitment I made to God years ago- to live and work for Him in all I do.”

I then went on to share that when I pray, I even pray for things like our laundry. He was really surprised to hear that. (My son, who is 13, has heard this before from me, but it was obvious he didn’t really get the significance of that as he was growing up.) I went on to explain that yes, I pray for God to bless our laundry, to keep the clothing from wearing out prematurely. (I have things I’ve worn for 20 years now that are classic, timeless styles and still are in great shape)

There are some days when I am praying 5 or 8 hours a day through out the day-and yes, sometimes my prayers are only 5-8 minutes day.

Putting God first is not just about prayer though. That is a part of it. The other part is about our actions, attitudes & beliefs. It involves how we steward things (the physicals, emotionally, spiritually, relationship wise, etc.)

There’s a flow to how spiritual alignment is supposed to be for us to have a full, abundant, blessed and protected life. This is very counterintuitive of how we as Westerners live. However, when you reprioritize your life to live in the following way, the blessings of God are clearly seen, felt, experienced- both big and small.

We should strive to live with stewardship in this manner:

1. God First
2. Self
3. Family
4. Business
5. Friends/Community/Country

Prayer isn’t just about asking for things either. A great spiritual relationship is based on a healthy conversation- one filled with acknowledgement, gratitude, thankfulness, and yes, communication for God to intercede for the lives and wellbeing of others.

Learning how to pray, what to pray for (not all things we pray for are available for God to fufill)- and then knowing what to do with the answers once prayers have been answered- are all keys to living a life with God first, so that He can help us prosper above all things, even as our soul prospers.

Where are you at today in your spiritual life? Just like all things; to be in spiritual health requires balance. Our God centered walk is the catalyst behind all other things. It’s the wind in our sails, the ‘gas’ that gives us the ‘go.

If you yearn to learn more, here are a couple other articles and teachings to help you understand why to put God First, How to do it –and the benefit to you when you do.

https://debbrasweet.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/why-god-first/

http://www.gods-word-first.org/video-bible-lessons/gauge-to-godliness-video.html

May you have a blessed and magnificent day!

Debbra Sweet

2014 Focus: Alignment and Passion

If you read through my blog, you will discover that each year, not only do I do my personal and business goal planning, I also have a long history of starting each new year with a “Word of the Year” or a “Quote of the Year”. I do not really recall where and when I started to do this.  It’s just always been a part of what I do.

This year, 2014,  my Word of the Year is : Alignment. 

A supporting word of the year is: Passion.

Basically, everything I do this year need to be in alignment with each other and based on passion.  This means, teams I work on, teams I work for,  personal goals or tasks, professional goals and benchmarks I will achieveDomino-Line-518x389need to be in alignment with my top 5 passions.

When all we do is aligned with one another, amazing things happen.

When the teams we work with, participate in are in alignment with one another- even more incredible things occur!

The ‘quote’ of the year will be: “Does this align with my top 5 passions I am taking actions to achieve?”  

That question is a guiding post for my journey that I’ve been sharing and will continue to reveal. The benefit of taking this type of a mental approach at all you do is here: when we take the time to line up things, when they are aligned, it does not take a lot of momentum to start a chain reaction for success.  It’s kind of like playing dominoes.  You can spend hours setting your design and vision just right.  Knowing that, along the way, things can happen where you need to reset the vision.   The passion to see your vision come to pass is so strong, that you go back, assess, reset and go again.

When we play dominoes, some of the most stunning results of our time, heart and labor occurs when all the pieces are lined up ‘just so’ …and you push the first one. We watch the vision and movement unfold before our eyes.  I like to watch people doing things.  I’ve seen many people watch dominoes in motion- and it’s always the same: admiration of the dedication, precision, thought process, the engineering and the patience it took to create such a masterpiece. The fluid movement of dominoes in motion is peaceful and exciting to watch.   It takes alignment of each piece to make the vision work so those who view the movement can enjoy all the heart and effort that went into the creation.

As you start your 2014, ask yourself “What are areas in your life that feel out of alignment?” What is one action step you can do today to start to get things going in the same direction for max velocity and effectiveness?
2014  is a year to take action to work towards a passion you’ve always wanted to see happen in your life.  Take the first step and start to line up the things you need to make that passion a reality!

Here’s to kicking of 2014 with extreme Alignment & Passion!

Debbra

Here’s to what will be an incredible 2014!

The Rouse of the Rooster- Insights to Discipline in Leadership

When I get up, which often is in the wee hours of the morning, before the sun rises, I can hear the roosters in my 220px-Rooster_portrait2neighborhood doing their job of crowing.

It is interesting to me to hear them so proudly and fervently sing their rooster songs each morning. They are consistent and passionate about their crowing. It reminds me of how to continue to bring passion, commitment and consistency to everything we do as a leader.

One of the things that always impresses me when I hear them crowing in the mornings that it doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside. Whether it’s sunny and hot or rainy and cold the same roosters, every single morning, do their job and do it with excellence.

As humans we can learn a little bit about discipline from these roosters.

The job of the rooster is to protect the flock, and he takes the lead in doing so each morning by crowing.

The rooster is often portrayed as crowing at the break of dawn (“cock-a-doodle-doo”). He can often be seen sitting on fence posts or other objects, where he crows to proclaim his territory

The role of the rooster in animal husbandry has a long and illustrious history from the guardian of the back yard flock to the fighting cocks center ring.

Aristotle called the rooster alektora and sang its praises along with the likes of Theocritus, Pliny, Varro, and Aldrovandi (Lind1963). The rooster holds a time-honored place in the small flock, protecting the hens, announcing the day, and ensuring the next generation.

As leaders, one of the ways we can learn is by paying attention to some of our surroundings. Nature inherently prepared plants, animals and humans to have an instinct for leadership roles and hierarchy.

The discipline of how these roosters crow in the morning is a great example of how we, as leaders, can be approach our role of serving others and leadership daily.

Do you rise each morning with the mindset to announce the new day, care and protect those you are responsible for, and do things to ensure the succession of your leadership when the time is right?

Leadership takes discipline. It takes commitment to one’s self to improve. It takes courage to rise up each day and take the helm of your leadership role, regardless of the weather or how you feel.

There are about 5 different roosters in my neighborhood and each has its own call, it’s own ‘voice’. Two of them nearest me have very distinct crows. For the most part, one of them has a very dominant and confident sound. Yet, there are some days where I hear him crow in the morning hours and I think he may be sleepy or a bit under the weather as his sound is not quite as crisp or commanding. However, he still follows through each day.

The other rooster I hear has a bit of a funny, ‘broken’ crow. His song is not as smooth and flowy from start to finish like the first one. He has a stutter in a couple of places. That does not matter to him – or his flock. He too, each morning calls out with his crow and takes his place as the protector of his flock.

Both of these roosters are also there to make sure that the clutch of hens are profitable and successful in producing eggs and future little leaders.  🙂

As we venture into 2013, it is the time for more leaders to take upon their shoulders the ability to be disciplined with the same type of commitment to protect and ensure the success of the people that they serve.

Remember, leadership starts with yourself, then leading your family and then leading others at work and in the community.

In this day and age, many our so-called leaders seem to be practicing more leadership by simply fluffing up their feathers- and thinking that is good enough. It’s not. Vain puffery from the outside is short lived. The true leaders will be willing to be disciplined to rise early, announce the day, declare their protection of their flock- and then do what is needed to ensure the success of those they serve now and for future generations.

When you arise tomorrow, ask yourself, do you lead with vain puffery, or are you sounding your call of leadership with actions that denote confidence, provide security and ensuring opportunities for those you lead to grow?

What action steps can you take today to be a better leader tomorrow?

Debbra Sweet

Author & Speaker of  “The Power of Leadership”

Word of the Year 2013: Discipline

Each year, I seem to identify with a specific word or a specific phrase that becomes my personal mantra Discipline2for the year.

It’s not so much that this is a mantra, it is more like a focal point that ties in with personal, business and spiritual goals I have for the year.

This year’s word is discipline.

When most people hear the word discipline the first thing that they tend to think about or recall is being disciplined or reprimanded by a parent or an authority figure.

Discipline by dictionary definition is:

1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
6. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
7. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
8. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.
Origin:
1175–1225; Middle English < Anglo-French < Latin disciplīna instruction, tuition, equivalent to discipul ( us ) disciple + -ina -ine2

The choice of the word discipline as my word for 2013 has to do with the discipline required to stick to commitment.

Diligence brings about the discipline to be able to focus and to ignore or remove distractions when needing to stay on purpose and on point.

In this case the discipline is not a harsh word.

In fact, discipline is one of the key things you will find that is a personal core value or personal attribute  in most successful people.

And by successful people –I am not talking just about financially successful people. I am referencing people who have often overcome hardships in the life, as well as people who have decided to stick to the commitments they made-whether big or small.

As we kick off 2013-I ask you: What resolutions, commitments or goals have you made?

What do you need to do or change to give yourself the space, time, effort and energy to be disciplined and follow through on those things?

For me, this is a year of Quantum Growth. The foundations have been laid for many years. Now we build and launch. 🙂

Here’s to discipline– and seeing new big growth goals come to pass!

Debbra Sweet 

Life Under the Brim- Part 2: Perspective.

As I continue to experience life from underneath the brim of wearing hats, it is interesting to see the literal change of perspective that occurs by simply placing the hat on. Each hat style, shape, color and even materialhats they are made from effects my field of view.

The hats I had to wear over the summer had to have wide brims that not only cover the front of my view, but also need to have brims that can cover my peripheral vision at times too. The summer sun was very intense and the rays reflected off many things that we are often not even aware hit the eye. (So Cal drivers have very clean cars with lots of chrome. )  Those summer rays of sun would quickly bounce and come up underneath my brim and sun glasses to leave an imprint on my brain.

In fall I changed to wide brim felt and wool hats. The hats provided extra warmth during cool mornings, and good coverage of lights through out the day.

Now that we are into winter, my hats have been more page boy in style. Comfy with a brim. I am indoors more and do not have to have all the full coverage like I did in the summer sun.

My life under the brim the past months has created an interesting observation of how the focal point of our perspective can quickly change as easily as changing a hat.

I’ve always known about managing and protecting your input. One of the first things you learn along the journey of self improvement and personal development is to pay attention to what you open yourself up to as far as input goes. This means tv, radio, books, people you work with, people you socialize with. There’s a computer concept known as garbage in, garbage out. If you put garbage into the computer (as far as technology, coding, etc goes)- what it produces is also garbage. There’s the old adage called ‘stinkin thinkin’.
What you focus on is what you get.

Focus on negative – and you will attract negative. Focus on positive, you will attract positive.

The relationship of my insight on how the perspective of our visual input changes with each change of a hat is here: when you manage, limit or protect your daily input- starting with your eyes, you can laser focus on what you want, what you need- and can really start to understand the depth of just how MUCH impact what you SEE really has on your thought patterns.

Day to day, our eyes, minds, and thoughts are bombarded with images that are picked up by the brain both consciously and subconsciously. The filtering our brain does is incredible! When we go out with the hustle and bustle of the day, we are unaware of the magnitude of the volume of input we receive.

This deluge of input actually does desensitize our conscious awareness to all the things around us. It is an interesting thought perspective: when we have complete exposure to al things around us, we actually perceive less.

When we readjust our input –and often narrow our focus and field of vision- we actually perceive more. That is what happens when you don a hat.

Since I’ve had my ‘filters turned off’ since the summer – because of a physical situation related to my eyes – it has been Amazing at just how MUCH information our eyes process. It’s amazing how many things imprint on our mind that were are never really aware of.

During your journey for betterment in your life and business, I encourage you to consider your filters. Is your vision so wide and open to everything that you are not able to see the finer details that could be holding you back from being your best?

If so, try a simple thing: find a hat with a brim and wear it for a while. You may discover too that your attitude is a bit different. Other people’s attitudes towards you will be different. What you focus on may be less- but it will be with clarity. You may slow down just a bit to enjoy more of what you see, feel, do and perceive.

Enjoy your journey and discovering new perspectives!

Debbra Sweet

The Leader of the Band

Mid Oct, 2012, one of the most influential mentors, teachers, a friend, was laid to rest.   It had been known for a247311_10152140902075464_2108242698_n few years now that he was sick – and true to form, up until this change of his season in life, he chose to live a life with vibrancy, passion and a love for helping others see their potential and then give them a way to grow.

It is rare to find such a genuine person in life. When you do… I encourage you to embrace what they teach- and pay attention to the things they don’t come right out and say.

This mentor of mine had may clichés and favorite sayings. One in particular was the declarative “This is a pearl of Wisdom”.  When he led a sentence with those words- you best pay attention. He always delivered.

His wisdom was not always directly related to the classroom curriculum he taught. In fact, his whole life was a testimony to how some of the best leaders lead.

It started with a genuine care and passion for doing what he loved. He loved music, he loved travel.  He loved helping share the impact and meaning music has played in the lives of generations.

His patience, and I do mean extreme patience at times… when we were learning, goofing off, rehearsing, and then doing it all over again- was incredible.  The man who always gave you a smile did get mad- but that was rare.  If he was mad or upset at you- you deserved it.   The majority of the time though, he was always encouraging, teaching, inspiring and pushing you to reach and strive just outside of your comfort zone. He knew we had the capacity to grow.

When I heard the news of his passing, I was amazed at just how much of an influence his style affected my life. As his student, I knew he was one of my best teachers.   Through the reflection of him of the time I was his student I realized today that he:

Taught me how to discipline my thoughts
• He taught me the importance of consistency and striving to improve in all I do
• He taught me the importance of patience
• He taught me how to practice to improve with skill sets- and not just practice- but to do so with perfection.   Repetition of perfection so that when it was time to perform and share- what you share is so ingrained in you that you can simply give.

He knew that with focus and effort- you could discover your potential. In fact, he would see your potential often way before you did. He would push you to be better. He would encourage you to open your mind to grow.  He knew when you were frustrated and he knew how to get you to overcome your own stumbling blocks.   He knew when you were not giving your 100% and he would give you a look that would tell you he knew you knew you could do better.

When times arose where you needed a friend- and not just a teacher, he was there for you. 

He would lead you with confidence, fun and best of all- he would be right there by your side each step of the way.   He lived the life of  a living legacy leader.

To him, I say many thanks for all he did to open doors and opportunities for me that were above and beyond what many students get to experience.  I tip my hat off to you and say you will forever be the Leader of the Band.  🙂

Your inspiration, wisdom and teaching can be seen in all I do.

May we always continue to “Drum it!”

Debbra

www.DebbraSweet.com