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Be a leader of yourself
by Brian Leshley
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Do your best, we are told. What is you best? How do we define this?

Be true to yourself. This is a key element of a successful life. Do not worry about the competition, if there is any. Do not worry about the other person, team or group. Do what you do well and to the greatest of your ability. Concentrate on getting better yourself and the result will be what it is. More often than not, at the end of the day, the mirror is you only measurement. Can you look yourself in the eye?

While I do not know everything, I can tell you that you must not ever lie to yourself. Period. Tell the truth and deal with it. They say the truth will set you free. Being true to yourself will prevent you from doing less than your best. Making it a habit to share with yourself your effort each day will hold you accountable to the best possible effort with the situations of each day.

It matters not that someone is more talented or can produce higher volumes than you. In the end it is the journey than means the most. Always be truthful with your self. Be a non-judgmental observer of the day at the end of the day. Look back and do not judge whether it was good or bad. Look back and observe the effort. Did you do your best? The results are not the indicator. You may not have been number one or the victor or winner. This is not always the indicator of best effort. The other team or opponent may have just plain been better, more conditioned or experienced. No problem, but did you give the best you were capable of given the situation?

Sometimes, more often than you think, the winner of a contest will not be the most talented or experienced. The winner will be the most tenacious, most conditioned and disciplined. The winner is the person, or team, giving the best possible effort from outset to end, with true consistency. Look at David and Goliath. Goliath was by all definition the most conditioned and skilled of this confrontation.

David had the tenacity to believe that if he gave his best effort he had a chance at winning. All he needed was to believe and one clean shot. He had practiced his skill and given his best to condition and hone this skill to pinpoint precision. He did not give up, where in the beginning I am certain he was not as good with the sling, but he kept at it. Why? Originally he was a shepherd, tasked with protecting and tending the family sheep. He had to keep the predatory animals, wolves, from eating the sheep. His skill with a sling would come in handy, only if he could hit his target efficiently. Being alone in the hills he only held himself accountable to his own standard of excellence. He got better daily, but it was not an overnight thing. He made mistakes, but never gave up and got good by holding himself to the highest standard possible. Yet, he never felt he was a master of this skill.

The minute we feel that we have mastered a skill is the day we begin to fail. We must never be happy with just good enough. We must strive to improve at some level as we move forward through the journey. When we have come to a mastery of a skill then it is implied that we must pass on the skill to a student. In doing this we become stronger and more skilled, for through teaching we learn more. This way the student we become a stronger master.

Continual learning is a mandate of our lives. Self evaluation is a process and should be experienced on a daily basis. Ask questions and challenge the status quo. Key questions are “What is working?” “What is not working?” and “How can it be better?”

Always ask this third question by really scrutinizing the process. Are we giving our best possible effort? Can we do more? Is there a better, more efficient way of doing this? Challenge yourself always.

If we expect to get better we must be prepared and ready for change. Improvement will not happen without change, in my opinion. I once heard from a sales trick that if you don’t like the answer then change the question. Well, if you don’t like the result, change the process. No set rules apply in this game. Keep yourself flexible and accept failure as a necessary part of the process. Avoid accepting failure as an absolute, though. Reciprocally, success is not guaranteed either. Results are results, nothing more.

Live, laugh, and love. Shine on a daily basis. Give your best, living with the self satisfaction that you did this. We do not need awards, medals, trophies, adulation or standing ovations. These all fade, but the solid foundation of character and integrity are a quiet basis for a life well lived. Give all you have, without the expectation of a high payoff. Mother Theresa stated that one of the highest things in life is to do something for someone they will never be able to repay. Jesus did this—he gave his life for our sins, knowing we will always fall short of this debt. He paid our debt for us and we will never be able to repay this selfless act—ever. All he asks is that we shine. Do our best and He will do the rest.

Bio: Brian has written his poetry book, Poetry for Browsing, a collection of poems. The book may be purchased at www.publishamerica.net.

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