By Col. Thomas Mora, 120th Airlift Wing Vice Commander
/ Published August 05, 2016
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Leading ourselves is the greatest leadership challenge we will face!
In my last article in March, we discussed leadership and how it is an intense journey into self-awareness, and that leadership is also about assisting moving organizations and others from "here" to "there." This month I would like to focus on self-leadership, a topic not often addressed.
I believe that we long to make a difference and to have significance in our lives. As Airmen we are even more driven to make a difference in the lives of others, our core values instill this drive into us. This desire for significance drives a longing for purpose in our lives.
There was a best-selling book a few years ago about this issue of significance and purpose, the book is titled "The Purpose Driven Life." This book captivated the world as it explored significance issues: why I am here, what is my purpose, and how do I live each day intentionally with purpose.
Purpose begins with our personal choices. We choose how we live each day, will we navigate our days with a plan and purpose? Every morning when our feet hit the ground we have the power of choice, to choose if we will pursue our purpose during the course of the day, or if we will drift through the day allowing circumstances, situations, emotions and feelings dictate our purpose. At times we get tired and frustrated, which leads us to make choices for short-term comfort, replacing choices of long-term significance. During these times of lacking motivation, self-leadership is critical. The power of choice has a tremendous impact on our lives, and the lives of those we lead. It has been said, a good leader must lead themselves well first in order to lead others well. Leading ourselves starts with a defined purpose for our lives, our families, friends, careers, and unit. Every day we get to choose the attitude, outlook, energy, and enthusiasm we will allow to influence our lives.
Self-leadership is defined as the process of influencing oneself to establish the self-direction and self-motivation needed to perform for desired results. If we are lacking motivation, energy, vision, and purpose, how effectively can we lead others?
Leadership truly does start with leading ourselves first. We must be deliberate and intentional to lead ourselves, this is where having a well-defined purpose is a key focus to navigate the difficult times that challenge us to press forward for purpose. A clear purpose helps us to make the right choices when faced with difficult circumstances, and to lead ourselves in a positive manner.
Vigilantes, thank you for all you do, thank you for your leadership. The 120th Airlift Wing and the U.S. Air Force will be defined by our Airmen, and the choices we as Airmen execute both professionally and personally. Each day you have a significant impact on your own life, the lives of others, and the culture of our unit. Don't take your ability to make positive choices for granted.
Self-leadership is critical for a life of purpose and positive influence, self-leadership is a requirement to lead others well.