For years, I had heard message after message of owning versus renting, and in nearly every case the subject revolved around my place in an organization—the church I attended, the business where I was employed, or the places where I often volunteered. The concept of ownership effectively illustrates the perspective we should strive for as we consider our place within any organization to which we are committed. Moreover, as we find ourselves in a position to discern this quality in others, “ownership mentality” is a desired trait among those we lead at our workplaces, within our small groups, or as community advocates. However, as we consider our lives beyond any organization that we are a part of, how do we approach our own development?One of the biggest mistakes that I have seen (and that I have been guilty of at various times) is to be a “renter” as it relates to personal development. To be a renter is to place the burden of responsibility in the hands of someone else; it is to absolve ourselves of the liability that comes from risk and potential failure. When we disengage from being held accountable in the area of our own development, we often willingly give up our rights to hear from God personally in that space and follow His direction for our lives freely.
As leaders that desire to lead well, we understand that a foundational component of our leadership is “self-leadership.” In order to lead others well, we must first lead ourselves well. To that end, I recommend 3 simple habits to intentionally pursue as we seek to become “owners”of our personal development. Each habit is very practical but must be repeated regularly in the different domains and stages of our lives to become true elements of who we are as leaders.
Taking personal inventory of who you are and where you want to go as you grow in responsibility and leadership is a great starting point anda necessity for personal development. Consistent and honest self-assessment provides an opportunity to establish a starting point as well as realistic expectations and strategy on how to move forward. Consider:
Who You Are – Take self-assessments to determine your strengths and areas of opportunities. Many self-assessments are available to help with this, such as StrengthFinders, Standout, and HarrisonAssessments. Also, asking others whose opinions you value and trust is also a valuable custom to practice.
Where You Want to Go –Thinking deeply about your preferred destination can be critical to success.Give yourself permission to dream, but make sure you accurately assess where you are starting from. Much like with any GPS, you cannot properly determine where you are going next if you do not know where you are starting.
The habit of awareness involves knowing who and what is around you and readily available. In order to take ownership of your own development, it is important to be aware of the resources that God has placed within your reach. Of course, the mature leader does not seek to be aware of the gifts in others for the purpose of taking advantage of them in any way, but to honor and learn from them. Just as you seek to serve others with what has been placed inside of you, many others are willing to invest in you if they are given the opportunity. Additionally, many resources are readily accessible if searched for and pursued. Let us always be good stewards of what and who is available to us.
Once it has been determined where you are, where you desire to go, and what resources are available to help you get there, you should take action. As it has been said, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. The best plans and strategies have often fallen short only because of the crippling fear of initiating execution of a goal. A major advantage of taking ownership of your personal development is found in the ability to reframe failure for your benefit. As the current CEO of Focus Brands, Kat Cole, often states, “to F.A.I.L. is often just to undertake your First Attempt In Learning.”As you lead, do not allow yourself to do the difficult 90% of learning and planning only to stop short of the final 10% of taking action.
Regularly implementing these 3 habits of assessment, awareness, and action is a major step toward letting go of a “renter” mentality and taking ownership of your personal development today.
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