Self-leadership is the currency of success in 2019 and beyond.
What do I mean?
There are going to be disproportionate rewards for people who are self-reliant vs. people who need to be told what to do all the time.
I have no mentors.
All of the work I do is in the roles I created for myself. I self-publish my books. If I need to figure something out or learn a new skill, I either use Google, YouTube or buy an online course. I learn from other people all the time, but I initiate the learning. I’m not waiting for someone to hand me the keys.
What about you? Do you practice self-leadership or are you looking for a savior?
There Are Three Types of People: Those Who Make Things Happen, Those Who Watch Things Happen, and Those Who Wonder What Happened – Who cares who’s quote it is?
Which one of the three are you?
Be honest with yourself. It’ll do you no good to pretend like your practice self-leadership if you don’t (yet).
Spoiler alert: the only type of person you want to be is the person who makes things happen. But how? First, you have to understand how each type works.
If you work in an office, there’s someone like this at your job. They’re always trying to come up with ideas and push boundaries.
They’re a little bit disagreeable, even. They speak their mind and have no time for maintaining the status quo. You can give this person vague directions and they’ll create something awesome.
Not only do they not need your direction, but they also don’t even really want it. They’re confident in themselves because they’ve made a habit of trying things that may or may not work.
That’s how you become someone who makes things happen. No need for bravado or anything like that. Just be willing to try things that don’t have certain outcomes.
People who watch things happen have a few telltale qualities.
They either talk about events or other people — never about ideas.
They may watch the news religiously or know all the celebrity gossip on social media. Even worse, they’ll actually pride themselves on being an observer instead of a participant. They think of themselves like pundits or smart critics, but they’re actually just afraid.
You’ve heard the phrase, “nobody built a statue for a critic.”
When you start to take action in your own life, you’ll notice an inverse correlation — the more you work on your own dreams, the less taste you have for gossip and meaningless small talk. You’ll see it for what it is — an attempt to fill a void.
Fortunately, if you’re one of these people, you have a better chance of becoming a person who makes things happen. You have the knowledge and potential, you’re just not using it yet.
Sometimes you simply don’t know enough about the world yet.
This could be because you’re young. At 20, I thought I knew everything, but I was clueless. Any talent I had was raw. My life didn’t change until I committed to learning more.
Or maybe you’re a little older and you’ve gone through life without taking time to learn. You don’t read or pay attention to events. You actually live in the present moment quite a bit, which at least keeps you from the anxiety of thinking about your future and reflecting on your past.
If you’re this type of person, the recipe is very simple:
I used this process when I was clueless and trying to decide what to do with my life.
If you’re at square one, learn as much as possible.
Notice none of my advice involved finding a mentor. Why? Because the only way to get a mentor is by practicing self-leadership.
Mentors don’t want to teach clueless people.
Nor do they want to teach people who are all talk and no action.
Mentors want to help people who are already on the rise.
Nobody has the time, energy, or modicum of desire to fix your life for you. Mentors don’t want to fix your life for you. Politicians pretend to want to fix your life for you but just want your vote. Your spouse doesn’t want to fix your life, be your babysitter, or fill your emotional void. Nobody cares about you so much that they’re willing to take on your life for you. Yet people request this all the time.
I get it. I write advice articles so it’s natural for people to ask me for advice. What irks me is when people ask for my advice and I know they’ve read little to none of my work. Start there!
That’s the counterintuitive benefit of self-leadership. The more you help yourself, the more other people want to help you. Be the fire people want to pour gasoline on, not the wet sticks someone has to rub together to start one.
Interestingly enough, a Twitter back and forth from a fellow writer occurred after I wrote a draft for this post:
I can’t tell you how much I learn by randomly stumbling around, observing people, and gaining insights through this weird osmosis where I’m not trying super hard to find the perfect guru, tip, or life-changing insights. I bet Niklas would say the same.
We’re doers, experimenters, active learners.
Spoiler alert – every successful person is. No business person is going to have coffee with you for two hours once a week and teach you how to make money. I’m a D-list internet celebrity and I can barely keep up with the emails I get. Reaching out to some famous person for advice is, I’m sorry, both stupid and lazy.
If you really want to build a network and have influence, it comes from developing the characteristics of an influential person. Influential people don’t wait for their dream life to fall out of the sky.