The inner life of leaders.
It’s more than just about how to succeed, how to be successful, and all that jazz … It’s about keeping you on track for the duration of your career and beyond.
The fact is, leadership is a messy business.
I mean, we deal with people, and people have struggles. And we’re not perfect either! We’re people too and we have our own Root Systems to deal with.
But, here’s the other side of that coin: you can’t lead effectively when you’re out of control.
Leaders don’t have the luxury of flying off the handle, treating others poorly, or behaving badly … especially if they want to continue leading others.
If they lead themselves in this way, then pretty soon they won’t have any followers.
Like it or not, as a leader, you set the standard for the team in the culture that you’re creating. This goes for parents in the home too; it’s true for any kind of leader.
So, on today’s show, I want to dig into the secret life of a leader.
What habits do you need to create? How should you be cultivating the garden of your own heart, if you really want to lead others well and see them succeed?
The bottom line is that leaders have to learn to lead themselves first and foremost.
Enjoy today’s episode!
520 | Seven Habits That Keep Leaders On Track
Chris LoCurto 0:00
In the inner life of leaders, it's more than just how to succeed, be successful, and all that jazz. It's about keeping you on track for the duration of your career and beyond what is coming up next.
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks, I hope you're having a fabulous day, wherever you are. In a recent episode, I was talking about how leaders have to maintain their cool even in difficult situations. Now you can go back and listen to that episode about managing unruly team members, if you want to hear more about that it's episode 518. So the fact is, leadership is a messy business. I mean, we deal with people, people have struggles, we have struggles. I'm not saying that we're perfect, because we're not, we are people too, and we have our own root systems that we have to deal with. But here's the other side of that coin, you can't lead effectively when you're out of control. You don't have the luxury of flying off the handle, treating others poorly, or behaving badly, especially if you want to continue to lead others. So if you continue to lead in this way, well, then pretty soon you're not going to have any followers. And by definition, if you want to know if you're leading, turn around, if nobody's actually following you, you're not leading. So like it or not, you set the example and the expectations for the team and the culture that you're creating. So this goes for parents at home as well, you are leaders at home, what kind of a leader are you in your home? If you're flying off the handle, and go back, I think it was I think in 518, as well, we talked about choices and consequences. If you're flying off the handle at home, chances are you're not using choices and consequences at home. Phenomenal, a phenomenal tool, go back and listen to it, on how to do it. You don't have to be mad, you don't have to be upset. It's crazy. If you do it correctly, you don't have to be that kind of leader in your home. So can you imagine telling your teenager not to yell at you while you're yelling at them? Right. So on today's show, I want to dig into the secret life of a leader. What do you need to be doing? And how should you be cultivating the garden of your own heart if you really want to lead others? Well. So the bottom line is this, we have to learn to lead ourselves. Well. That's what we're talking about on today's show. So seven habits to keep you as a leader and your leadership on track, really, and we're talking about seven ways to lead yourself effectively leading you. So let's dive in. So Habit number one. You gotta conquer the inner dialogue people. I don't just mean having positive self-talk, which is a huge part of it, right? You're gonna have to learn to coach yourself and keep yourself on track. Constant coaching and self-assessment are part of leading yourself. Well, we talk a lot about this and Next-Level Life events, about conquering the lies that we tell ourselves. We call it battling the lies with truths, because folks, it literally is a battle. It's a war. And the battlefield is your mind. I can't tell you how many times I have to sit myself down and say, Chris, what are you doing? Right? What are you saying now? And I will tell you, when the lines are super, super strong, you've got to shock yourself out of the emotional side of your brain and get to the logical side of your brain. Sometimes I will be like knock it off. You know, a lie can be so strong. I have to shock my brain. But you can't stop there. You got to keep going and start pounding the truth. Right? So things like what are you thinking? Why are you doing that? Or why are you thinking that?
You know, is this really true? Is this about you? Is this about somebody else? Is it really how you want to respond? How do you want to conduct yourself right now? I will go through a barrage of questions to pound out the negativity in my own brain. Now I've had people go well, you're just an anomaly. No, I'm not I had to train myself to do this. Right. You can do this too. You just got to catch yourself and recognize when the negative self-talk is hitting and then pound it battle against it. I have to coach myself through my thought patterns, my actions, and my outcomes. So do you learn to hold yourself account accountable for the thoughts, habits, and patterns going on inside of you? Now, habit number two, you got to learn. And then you got to keep learning. You've got to learn and you have to keep on learning you can't stop leaders who are learners, lifelong, unending, never stopping learners. You're gonna have to learn, keep learning, and develop a hunger for knowledge and wisdom. That's just that's just it. Right? And this isn't just for you guys. It's for your health. It's for, the longevity of you as a leader. It's also for those that you lead. Think about this right King Solomon pray this way. When the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream god asks, ask what I shall give you. Solomon could have asked for wealth, he could have asked for a great army he could have asked for 1000 was just giving me that genie in a bottle that God probably wouldn't have responded very well with that. But here's what he said in Solomon said, Oh Lord, my God, you have made me King instead of my father, instead of his father David. But I am like a little child who doesn't know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great, numerous, they cannot be counted. Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well, and know the difference between right and wrong.
For who by himself is able to govern this great person of yours? It pleases the Lord that Solomon had asked this guy, I hope that you're spending time and I'm just gonna assume that you are but to those who are not. I truly believe one of the most powerful prayers I have is Lord, please give me wisdom. Please give me an understanding heart that helped me to lead. The team that you've given me helped me to lead the teams that you've given me, helped me to lead my family helped me to lead my children helped me to lead our Bible study group helped me to lead the people that you've put in front of me. Give me the wisdom and the understanding heart to shepherd Well, if you want to get out of yourself a lot. In the last episode, we talked a lot about self-absorption. One of the most powerful ways is asking God to give you understanding and wisdom so that you know how to lead people will notice a true leader's heart hears one of humility, one of dependency, yes, you should be dipped, it is not weakness. It's wisdom to depend on God. Right. You have to depend on God. It's a willingness to learn. So you've got to surround yourself with people who know more than you and who never stop learning. Get yourself into a mastermind group to keep you on track, find coaching, find a coach find a process that helps you continue to grow. I was talking with John Maxwell and did an interview with John Maxwell. Jeez, gosh, it's almost probably almost two decades ago. And we were talking about not being the smartest guy in the room.
You know, because for me, I'm always putting coaches in my life. It doesn't matter what it is, whether it's on God, I have a lot of coaches on God. I have a lot of coaches in different areas of business aspects I've got, I have coaches on things that you know, I used to have coaches in racing when I was racing, probably giving up racing Formula cars. That's a whole nother story. Because God's not calling me to that anymore. I don't think he called me to it in the first place. But it was something I enjoy. But things that we're doing with the ridge. I have coaches that helped me to learn how to do things with the land. I have coaches everywhere. I don't stop learning. Why? Because there's so much more God wants to show me and he wants to grow me. So be smart about this. You've got to continue growing and learning and one of the best ways is to find quality people don't find the people. I'm sorry, there are a lot of very popular people out there telling you that you need to go hustle your life until you lose your family. That's not the people to be following. Right, find quality people that know the right balances, know the right information and get good quality coaches in your life. Number three, habit number three, you've got to develop skills to keep you focused. If you don't have the discipline for focused activity, you will not be able to succeed as a leader. Plain and simple, plain and simple. So blocking out certain times of the day, the week the month, or yes even the year, in order to focus, is super important taking time to focus on things Things That Only you can do, you've got to create space in your day, right?
This could be the creative space, you need to keep fresh, it could be the pause that you need in order to catch your breath. It could be the dedicated time to work on tasks that require your attention. So I'll give an example. For me, I must block out certain aspects of time I run 90 to nothing, I'm always running dirt, you know, doing work during the work hours during the work time doing whatever I'm doing. My days are usually pretty hard and heavy, but I will block out time, I have to do things one of the things I must block out time for is accounting. I have for businesses, I have to use my accounting, I choose to use my accounting to make decisions for all of my businesses. If I'm not spending that time, if I'm not blocking off that time, then how do I make the best decisions in my business, right? And I'm somebody who's been doing this for 30 years, I do deep dives into my accounting, I understand what my accounting is telling me. So I have dedicated time when people No, Chris is not available. I am not a high see. But this is a time this is a space that I have to channel as much see as I possibly can. Because my brain when I shift into doing things like accounting, my brain can't have distractions, I need to focus solely on that accounting and get that accounting done. So that's one of the things that I do every single morning, my wife and I are in Bible study, and every morning, we have it blocked off, believe it or not working out, I do a better job working out in the morning. But that's not that space. Why? Because that's also a very strong time for me to study.
So every morning, we get up we do our coffee, we are in Bible study, we are killing it, and continue to do so we have to grow ourselves in those ways. So Habit number four, you've got to develop your emotional intelligence. Now, I think it's fair to generalize a bit that men tend to have more difficulty with this than women do. And what I mean is by having an emotional IQ, I'm talking about the ability to acknowledge, understand, leverage, and manage your own emotions in a positive way. For what purpose? What do you get out of it? Well, increasing your emotional intelligence will help you to reduce stress. It helps you to communicate effectively and helps you do something that's really important to empathize with others. I know we don't want a lot of people to get there. A lot of men don't get there. It helps you to overcome challenges, and it helps you to defuse conflict, folks. Yes, I know there are a lot of guys out there, you may be offended by that comment, well, then you probably don't fall into this category. There's a lot of guys out there that are like, Oh, Chris, there's that emotional stuff again, listen, it's vitally important. I think it's a huge part of why I'm able to teach what I teach the men in our team that why they're so good at doing what they're doing is because they do have high emotional IQs. Right?
That's a big part of it. Right? So I think that's something that we have to do, you have to be more self-aware, you have to have, you know, the ability to recognize and understand your moods and emotions and how they affect other people. It's super important. self-regulating that's, that's super important. Being in control of your impulses and moods, as well as thinking before acting. And listen ladies, I don't want you to take this on, you know, because men tend to not be as good at this stuff, that you've got this nailed down, right? We all struggle with this. But being able to shift from being reactive to proactive, from impulsive to responsive is huge. To be able to look at how you're responding and acting and regulate yourself is powerful. And it is super important. So self-aware, self-regulated, super important pieces. The third thing is empathy, which is your ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes now. I always look at the difference between empathetic and sympathetic as being you know, sympathetic as being Oh, I feel sorry for you for what you're going through. Empathetic is letting me work to understand what it is that you're going through. And the more that you can empathize with somebody even if you've never been there, just trying to put yourself in their shoes and think through what they've gone through. Just understand sometimes somebody's just having a really rough day, and they might be acting out having a bad attitude, and being a jerk. But if you can try and understand what they're experiencing, you know, I think we've all heard that story. We have the dad sitting in the airport, and his three kids are running around or two kids are running around just being crazy. And some guys getting really perturbed. And he goes, dude, why don't you take care of your kids? And the guy looks up and says, I'm so sorry. You're right. They just lost their mother. And I haven't figured out how to tell him yet. And it's just that guy. What a jerk. I'm being because I'm judging you in your situation. I don't even know what your situation is yet. Right. Or I'm not empathizing with you. So those are three big pieces of having great emotional intelligence. And a few episodes back up, I gotta tell you, specifically one because I can't remember off the top of my head. But I did a quote from Dale Carnegie, when dealing with people, let us remember, we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
So this goes as much for us as leaders as it does for those whom we have the privilege of leading, right? So what do you need to do to educate yourself and develop yourself here a bit, you can start with our lesson on personality styles, it's, I think it's a must, I think it's an absolute must go to creditkarma.com/store to get that information, but I think it's one of the most powerful things, people have explained to us that they thought their communication was good, and their team and their business. And then after having gone through this, they realized their communication was chaos, and how much it needed to be fixed. So, in habit number five, you've got to learn from your failures. Oh, my gosh, this is big. It is funny to me. How many people I mean, I've literally had people, as I've talked through a failure on a stage and somebody go, Oh, praise God. And I'm like, what? And they're like, I'm just glad to know you fail. And it's like, Are you kidding me? My whole business is based on the failure and learning how to overcome it. And then teaching people how to overcome it, right? You got to understand we all screw up. The problem is, is most people try to hide their failures. Most people don't like to recognize their failures, I can't tell you how many people who come with your Next-Level Life don't like to look at the negative aspects of the things that we pulled out, they just want to see the positive stuff and go on there. Like that's the stuff I'm going to do. Yes, it's stuff you're going to do. But we've got to recognize the failure and learn from them. I always say, you know, failure is your greatest teacher if you're able to receive it if you're able to learn from it. So you will fail, and you will make mistakes. And you've got to learn how to learn from your failures. So first of all, get rid of the shame, the embarrassment, and the pride associated with the fear of failure, and get it gone. This isn't going to serve you or your team. Well, in fact, that's only going to hold you back. But you cannot stay focused on being ashamed to failure. Well, we say in our business all the time is if you're not failing, you're not doing anything. Our thing is, it's okay to fail as long as it's not a fatal failure. And as long as you don't keep making the same failure. So if you fail, learn what happened, and how did it happen? Why did it happen? How do you fix it? How do you make sure it never happens? Again, those are the five things we put in place, solve it, move forward, and don't keep making the same mistake. Now, we tease out and draw attention to failure on our team. And it's not to ridicule and mock people. It's because we don't want to keep failing. It's that simple. It's about excellence, not perfection. And excelling at something means learning from past mistakes and getting better at it. So in fact, you will see me calling myself out on things that I screw up and taking responsibility for it right? You can use these failures to teach others you can lead from where you've done it wrong, not just from where you've done it right.
As if there's any perfect model to point to the right. So my failures, the stuff that you're listening to. This is stuff that I've screwed up in my life, people. Praise God, he's gotten me to how to fix these things and how to help other people. So for more information on this, check out Episode Five, a seven on the difference between perfection and excellence. Now, habit number six. You have got to invest in yourself beyond leadership. Yep, you've heard this before. But let me say it again. Business is what you say to me, not who you are. Right? You are more than a leader. You're a human being. What are your hobbies, passions, your pursuits other than goals inside of your business?
You are more than just what you do round yourself out. Find a balance, find some equilibrium RAM right? So what do you enjoy doing? What excites the creative space in your brain? And do more of that? Do you travel? Do you like to read? Do you need a vacation? We all probably need a vacation. Do you like to take cooking classes? Do you like to paint, get a paintbrush, and maybe it's a house, maybe it's a painting of something, I don't care, but invest in you. Your life is like a vineyard, that lesson is available for free on our website, by the way. But in a vineyard, you don't just have healthy vines producing wine. You find flowers, trees, and bees, it's an ecosystem. Do something that's not directly related to leadership, and I guarantee you, it'll help you be a better leader. You'll be amazed that if you just spend some Oh, Chris, I don't have time for hobbies, Oh, knock it off. You can make time for important things. Here's what I can tell you. I love when I get to work out on the ridge. And I get to get on heavy equipment and I get to go move earth or take down trees are doing stuff that is creating space. It is life-giving to me. I look forward to those times that I get to get out and do that. You can make time if it's important. I figured out if I will get away from the thing that I'm focusing so heavily on, then I can solve the burnout. If I can get creative and get some life back in me, then I'm not as burnt out as I feel like a hammer. So Habit number seven, you've got to constantly knock down the pedestal leaders, for whatever reason tend to get up on a pedestal and tend to be elevated. Sometimes their pride feeds this cult perception or mistake. And this is a colossal mistake. You've got to tear down pedestals, you've got to cultivate humility, openness, and approachability, you got to stay down to earth, and you've got to remain relatable, it is a terrible place, if what you're looking for is to be exalted and lifted up.
And I know me in my mid-90s. That's where I was, when I was in, you know, working and also preaching and, you know, I felt that that's where I needed to be. You know, I need to be on this pedestal because I've watched our associate pastor just move people. And I can tell you, God smacked me upside the head. And I think it was like 1996, I believe it was, and made it very clear to me. He made it clear, if I'm going to put my people in front of you better be about me, not you. It better be about what they hear, not what you say. I still remember those words to this day, it still gives me chills. powerful thing, do not let yourself be put out. Don't put yourself on a pedestal for goodness sake. But don't let other people put you on a pedestal. I have this talk with our team all the time. And I go out of my way to avoid this kind of thing, right? The moment people don't think, on their level, they start being guarded, and they start disguising who they are. That's not helpful to me. And it's not helpful to the people I want to influence.
So whether on this podcast and a Next-Level Life or strap planning, coaching, or whatever, I'm in the business of helping people not setting myself up as a model of perfection for the love. There's no perfection, Well, besides a shoe. So understand that. I've got a little Post-it note on my desk that says I'm in the boat with you. That helps me as somebody who's a teacher, a coach, somebody who's guiding to recognize, be in the boat with the people you're helping be in the boat with the people that are going through what they're going through. Because, really, I've been in that boat before. I've experienced that, right? But never put yourself in a place where you're the one standing on the shore pointing fingers going Well it must suck to be in the boat. Right? Get yourself in the boat and help people out. So I put this stuff into practice. The Habits I've talked about today, I'm trying all the time to do better myself, right? I'm trying to do better in these areas. I keep getting better at it and I would encourage you to do the same. So seven habits you should be doing. Talk to yourself, right? get control of the negative self-talk, get control of the things that you're saying. Keep on learning. Have time to focus. be emotionally aware. Learn from your mistakes, invest in yourself and your family, and keep knocking down the pedestals. Folks, that's all the time that we have for today. I hope this has helped you well. As always take this information to change your leadership change your business change your life and join us on the next episode