Journey as a Leader Part 2

Any journey to leadership starts with yourself. You have to have people that are willing to listen and follow you to consider yourself a leader. And this is impossible if you cannot lead yourself first. 

What does that mean? Easy. It means that you need to commit to your daily habits and take full responsibility when you don’t meet them. It means you need to be disciplined and relentless in your pursuit of leadership. And it means that you embrace the mistakes you make along the way.

Watch the episode below to catch many of the ups and downs Russ has encountered in his journey to leadership (and watch part 1 here):

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BONUS: No need to take notes – we transcribed the episode for you!

A leader’s journey isn’t always predictable. One moment you’re recording marketing trainings in the comfort of your in-office studio, the next moment you’re on the beaches of Laguna training elite entrepreneurs.

Last week we kicked off this conversation on leadership and the journey I’ve had to take to get here. But what type of leader am I today? What type of man am I becoming?

This is a pretty heavy question. Honestly, it took me quite some time to even get a concept for the second episode on leadership. I kept going about in circles trying to decide on how I was going to continue this story. More cool slow-mo clips? Or do we start cutting to the present-day storyline?

Let’s do a little bit of both.

Before we get into the more recent happenings inside Russ Perry land, I wanna try and tackle an idea around leadership I think may be helpful.

Someone once told me, ‘to be a leader, you have to have people that are willing to listen and follow you.’ Plain and simple. This definition doesn’t qualify you as a good leader or bad leader, just that you are one.

With this in mind, I took inventory of the leadership roles I juggle from sunrise to sundown.

– I’m leading as a husband

– I’m leading as a father

– I’m leading as a teacher on sobriety

– I’m leading inside multiple businesses

– I’m leading at my church

– I’m leading other men through their own expansion

and finally

– I’m leading myself to be better in all of the areas above.

Leadership isn’t just one moment in your life. No one can give it to you. You have to step up and want to lead, or if the moment comes into your life you have to accept the challenge and get after it.

Take my amazing daughter Maddox for example. Her mom and I never planned on being parents together. Yet, it happened. And I wouldn’t have life any other way. From day one I stepped into the leadership role of being her dad and never looked back. Have I been perfect at the job? Absolutely not. But leadership is not a game of perfection.

Great leaders are rarely perfect.

In fact, the worst leaders are those who deny mistakes or imperfections.

It took me a long time to realize the secret to being a great leader. You have to first be elite at leading yourself. Taking full responsibility for your actions, your behaviors, and yes, even your mistakes.

Let me say that again this time with a cool quote card.

Elite leaders become elite by leading themselves first.

People can get tired or annoyed at the nagging conversations around working out or eating healthy, or great morning routine. The huge audacity of keeping your commitments, having tough conversations, knowing when to say no, or telling the FBLEEPING truth!

The way you act and behave when no one is watching, or when very little is at stake is a litmus test for leadership. I’ll admit, I’m a very poor leader to myself and my health most Saturday nights. I find a way to lead myself to an ice cream sandwich or three, but since this is the exception to my ICS consumption, I don’t beat myself up over it too much.

If you’re unable to lead yourself through a healthy and happy life, then why would anyone naturally wanna follow you?

I’m talking about real leadership here, folks. Not the leadership bequeathed by corporate promotions, stock shares, or pseudo-Instagram followers.

People WANTING to follow you, out of love, respect, and admiration.

Not through FEAR, or because they are on the payroll.

Now, living a sober lifestyle is a tremendous help when it comes to the focus, energy, and will-power to be a leader.

As I mentioned last week, I spent 72 hours working with and training elite entrepreneurs to become better leaders in all areas of their life. This event was Expand 01. The graduation ceremony to a 15-week private coaching experience delivered by yours truly.

To pull this off, alongside EVERYTHING else in my life was only possible because I can maximize each and every day. Zero time is lost through out of control addictions.

Sobriety is just another layer of elite personal leadership.

If you’re not clear on sobriety, let me explain it this way. Living sober isn’t about living a life like a Buddhist monk in the mountains of southern Japan.

It’s a lifestyle of self-control.

Many people can live their lives fully in control with a drink here, or a smoke there. I’m not one of those people. I cannot be in control with those substances so I choose to live sober and without them.

The same way many people can have a great time in Las Vegas playing a few games of craps and having a nice dinner at Scarpetta’s. I am one of those people, but there are many others who are addicted to gambling and do not have control inside a casino.

For them, living sober means a life in control of their gambling, and most certainly away from the tables.

Living SOBR is a life where you’re in charge.

So back to my event.

When I was on the beaches of Laguna, I learned one final lesson on leadership. This was something my coach and mentor Gare J. White has said multiple times but I finally, truly experienced it.

Leading yourself is a prerequisite for leading others. Don’t get me wrong, during my one-on-one experience I taught my clients how to use tools from Warrior to conquer their daily game of personal leadership.

But there’s always a limit to how far you can grow as a leader of one. To reach the pinnacle of leadership, the place where growth happens faster than you can imagine, seeming endlessly, requires you to take a big step into the unknown and actually teach and lead others to grow as well.

As soon as my event ended, I puked my brains out at my hotel room. I’m not clear why. Perhaps it was the Caesar salad at lunch, or perhaps it was my body releasing all the biochemicals of stress built up through guiding these men.

Leadership doesn’t come without a price. Whether it’s the literal price of physical exhaustion or the mental price of waking up every day knowing there’s a mountain to move.

Either way, I’m happy to pay the piper for leadership. I’m nowhere the man I was a month, a year, or ten years ago. And that’s a very good thing.

So I leave you with this:

How would you rate your personal leadership?

Where in your life can you get better at leading yourself through the mundane?

Do you have daily routines?

If so – how can you take things to the next level?

If not – what can you do today to create one?

And finally –

Identify the roles of leadership you tackle every day.

Make a list and then brainstorm one – yes just one – way you can move forward this week in each of the areas.

Thanks again for joining me on this episode of the Russ Perry show, we’ll see you next week.

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