“He who knows others is learned; he who knows himself is wise.” ~Lao Tzu
To lead others well, you must first lead yourself well.
What does that mean and why does it matter?
Leading yourself well looks like:
- Personal freedom
- Less stress
- A more productive, unified team
- Greater ability to change lives
Discover how to change your life by leading yourself better:
- Discover why it matters to lead yourself? [1:51]
- What leading yourself means [2:39]
- Learn the benefits of leading yourself better [3:37]
- What keeps us from leading ourselves well [10:20]
- What to do when your personal leadership issues become strategic issues for the business [16:57]
- Action step 1 to lead yourself better this week [17:41]
- Action step 2 to lead yourself better this week [18:19]
- How to be intentional with leading yourself better [23:18]
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Joel Fortner: Leading yourself better, what does that mean and why does it matter? That is coming up next.
Chris LoCurto : Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.
Chris LoCurto : Welcome to the show. Today’s quote is
Joel Fortner: “He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is wise.”
Joel Fortner: and thank you Lao Tzu…I don’t know. I’ve heard that name pronounced so many different ways. I don’t even know how to pronounce it, but dude, we appreciate the quote. If you do not recognize the sound of that voice today, Joel is joining us on the show.
Joel Fortner: Hey, glad to be here.
Chris LoCurto : For those of you that don’t know. Joel is the head client coach for our Next Level Mastermind program. He’s a Next Level Life facilitator and he is the head of our sales and if you’re really new to the podcast and don’t know anything about Joel before coming here, he ran his own marketing business as well as led an award winning team at the Pentagon. So he and I are going to be talking about how to lead yourself better. So welcome Joel.
Joel Fortner: Thank you. Glad to be back on the show.
Chris LoCurto : It’s good to have you here. t’s been so long since I’ve seen you…
Joel Fortner: to traverse downstairs and come into this four sided room…
Chris LoCurto : Come into the studio and talk a little more because we never talk.
Joel Fortner: Absolutely.
Chris LoCurto : So leading yourself better. That’s our discussion for today. That’s the topic for today and that’s also a lesson that you’re going to be teaching at the Next-Level Leadership LIVE Event in May. The idea of leading yourself better. What does that mean and why does that matter to our listeners?
Joel Fortner: You know, so at the end of the day, this is about if you can’t lead yourself well, you should really look and say, “how well am I leading other people?” Because it starts with yourself. It’s like the greater you can point yourself towards the destination and lead yourself to achieve it, overcome what holds you back. Learn, grow your capacity, meaning your ability to ‘do’, the better . you’re going to be able to lead other people. Because when you get in there and start leading yourself, you fail, right? You’ll learn stuff, you learn what it’s really like, and it also helps you lead other people better as well.
Chris LoCurto : Yeah, and I think a lot of people listening are like, well, of course I lead myself every day. I’ve been doing it my whole life, but that’s not what we’re talking about is that it’s not just the going through your motions. It’s a heck of a lot bigger than that.
Joel Fortner: When you really look at how much do you spend your time being, think about how much time you spend your time being more reactive than proactive. Leading means you’re taking yourself somewhere you have. This is where I want to be. This is what it looks like in the end. This is where I’m now taking myself and I’m designing my day. I’m designing my week, designing my life. I’m course correcting necessarily. That’s what we talk about as being this level of really personal responsibility for yourself and trying to really achieve what you’re after
Chris LoCurto : I love that descriptor of design. It’s not allowing life to happen. It’s not you get up, you do the same thing that you’ve been doing forever because you have been doing it forever. You go to work. You just get through the day. You may do a thousand things, but again, it’s not by design, usually by reaction. What are the things that people need to know best about themselves or what is the benefits of leading themselves personally?
Joel Fortner: So the benefits are you are actually going to achieve. Look at the emotional benefits. You’re going to have more contentment. You’re going to end up with more freedom in your life. You’re going to end up looking back and saying, man, look at 2018 and what I accomplished. So let’s play this forward. It’s the beginning of 2019. You’re going to look up at the end of 2019. You are probably going to feel better. You’re going to look back and say, what did I do with my year with my self personally, with my family, with leading my team in my business? Because you look at a plan and you can actually go back and look and say, this is what I did, so I’ll look at this. Sometimes there’s probably some of you are struggling to think about what did I do yesterday that was meaningful? That should be an indicator of, man, I can do a better job leading my life with more intentionality.
Chris LoCurto : I think it’s so funny because around here…now everybody, the year goes by fast for everybody. For us it is lightning fast. There’s so much that we accomplish in a year’s time and the thing I love is about a month that we had our Christmas party and we go through all of the highlights of the things that we accomplished through the year and so much of it is obviously life change and you know, what we’ve been able to do not only for ourselves but for our clients and their team members and we got impacts from clients, their team members affecting other people. I was just phenomenal to look at all the things that we’ve done and I remember decades ago being a part of teams where it was like, Hey, well this is the numbers. You know, hey, we accomplished these numbers because they don’t really recognize what they did in a year’s time. It’s that same concept as an individual, like you’re saying that if I planned my year, then when I get to the end of the year, you know that the emotional excitement that you’re talking about are or freedom, that contentment that I can actually look back and go, Yep, that went the way I wanted it to. Instead of getting to the end of the year and going, what in the world happened?
Joel Fortner: There’s something that I’ve been talking a lot in Next Level Life events recently with folks about. We have a couple of options of these life paths. One of is a path toward success, which doesn’t mean the plan is always going to work out perfectly, but you’re focused on planning, a goal, a vision of where you want to be actually being intentional with what you’re doing in your day. Driving your time, looking at your plan and saying, now what am I going to go do? So for instance, Saturday morning I sat down, my wife and I sat down with both of our goals for 2019 and we started taking action steps. We went to our schedules and we literally started scheduling when things are going to happen.
Chris LoCurto : Let me jump in on this because I don’t think people understand when you say we sat down with our goals. Well, we teach about goals is not the same thing that most people do. Here’s 10 things I want to accomplish in 2019. You literally have your goals broken out by every area of your life. So we use the wheel of life, as a tool for us to say this covers our life goals. You have your overall life goals, but you have for 2019 every single area of the wheel of life goals laid out.
Joel Fortner: Exactly. Which is the, I’m going to speak more to this as we talk about this on this conversation today. But those goals are a vision for 2019, this is where we want to be, this is what we want to have accomplished. I can look at that and now I can back out of that and determine what are the action steps that I need to do, what needs to be planned now, what needs to be scheduled now, what conversations do we need to have? That’s all strategy. That’s literally putting together a plan, a simple plan of being proactive and intentional so you can actually create what you want in your life, not just react or end up at the end of 2019 on a default or accidental life pathway. And it’s like, well, I hope these things happen, or you reach the year and it’s like, I’m not sure what I did, or I did a great job helping everyone else achieve their priorities and what they want to do in my family or in my life or on my team. What about you? How are you leading yourself?
Chris LoCurto : This is just a tiny piece of what you’re going to be teaching. Absolutely, but it’s so powerful to see how this sets up everything else.
Joel Fortner: Game changer right here. Let alone the rest of it.
Chris LoCurto : Yeah, because I get your goals. You turn your goals into me as well. Which includes all of that stuff and in there you’ve got your parenting goals, you’ve got your marriage goals, the things to grow all this. And the thing I love because I’m assuming I’m going to be part of it is you have, you have the personal fun goals like golf. Now I’m going to play this many rounds of golf in the year of 2019 because it’s not just about getting your family solid or growing your family and growing your spiritual life and growing your marriage. That’s all really good solid work, but you also need the play side as well. So it’s good to see that and all of this sets up all the bigger pieces that you’re going to be teaching on. What is it that keeps leaders from leading themselves, besides the lack of awareness because I don’t think a lot of people actually realize they need to lead themselves.
Joel Fortner: Sure. I mean, you look at awareness, it’s a lack of planning, but a lot of it comes down to things take, for instance, busyness. Busyness is a lot of reaction. Busyness can be a lot of what you choose to put on yourself because there’s action involved in planning, but the overwhelming majority is going to be looking at what am I doing that’s reactive and I’m just staying busy and “well I’ve got to do that. I’ve got to handle that. I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that work.” This is the stuff that kind of comes back to what we teach all the time of killing the leadership crazy cycle or lack of it because it’s how what you’re choosing to put on your plate rather than…Now take a look at this. Let’s say you have a plan.
Joel Fortner: You have a vision and you’ve lined out, man, this is where I want to spend my time. Now you can look at all these other things that cross your desk and you have a new filter of which to look at those and ask “do I do that?” Because what’s the missed opportunity cost? If I go and do those things, what am I not going to do that’s actually more important and more significant for my life, my family, my relationship with God, perhaps even my team because I’m choosing tasks over leading people to do those tasks and leading them to be successful with them.
Chris LoCurto : What about fear of failure?
Joel Fortner: That can be an enormous one. I mean the emotional equation is huge that we are so not as logical as we think we are. We are very emotional creatures and when we get to shoot, I’m facing something new.
Joel Fortner: What if I look up at the end of the year and I have failed at everything? Okay, so what if you have. How’s that any different than say not planning and accidentally ending up in December of 2019. How’s it any different? It’s only different when we fear failure. So as we talk about here all the time, that fearing failure is like being afraid to go to school and learn. It’s that the emotional side that holds us back rather than saying, well, what if I do fail? It’s likely or possibly going to fail.
Chris LoCurto : You’re gonna fail at something. You’re doing something,
Joel Fortner: You’re going to learn from it. You’re going to learn how to adjust and now you can take those lessons, know what they’re really like, and now lead your team inside your business more effectively as well. When they go through that or they wrestle with fear of failure. Let me help lead you out of this place that’s hugely beneficial.
Chris LoCurto : How much this was my softball pitch to you because we teach this, teach this all the time and people don’t realize it, so let me just say it as if I don’t know the answer to this. How much does limiting beliefs in self sabotage play a part in people not leading them as well?
Joel Fortner: Enormously As I answer this, when I think about like this event coming up in May, what gets me excited is that it’s not. These lessons are not isolated, they all work together, they all fold in together. There’s overlap and linkage between everything that we teach, so think about the extent of my unhealthiness will hold me back. The more that I can actually learn about myself and overcome how I self sabotage, what lies I tell myself, such as, “I can’t do that, that’s not my role. I’m not smart enough. I’m not capable. I could never learn that I could never be like this person.” All this, what amounts to self hate will hold us back and every person has lies that they tell themselves. Most of them were trained to believe from somewhere and influence in our past. And those lies drive negative emotion. Those lies drive self sabotage.
Joel Fortner: That’s one of the things I love about even in next level life and I find myself doing a lot of coaching as do you, even with our coaching clients, is a lot of it comes down to personal coaching, personal counseling of looking at decision making and looking at, guiding them to see what’s holding them back and showing them a path of how to battle that stuff. The goal isn’t perfection. The goal is intentionality, and when I struggle that way, how do I battle that and get back? So you’re. I’m not teaching that, but you’re going to be teaching that as you very well know, which is a huge part of making stronger decisions. That’s how, for instance, that lesson folds in so well with what I’m going to be teaching because they marry up into a powerful package of information.
Chris LoCurto : I think one of the things we see so often around here that is frustrating because it’s being taught by parents, by leaders. You know, society teaches, you know, we’ll have people come in and we will talk about taking these steps forward and you can see people get really frustrated because they already know they’re going to fail it and it’s like, why are you already shooting holes? The limiting belief is there. It’s so thick. It’s like, well, I know I’m not going to get that done the first time I hit it. You know you’re not supposed to. That’s why we teach so much ‘practice the thing you will get good at it.’ It’s not a time deal. You’re either going to continue on doing things the way you are right now, which obviously is not, you know, potentially working out for a lot of people or even if it’s nothing bad’s coming of it, you’re just still not leading yourself intentionally, then you’re going to continue to stay in the same place, but if you practice this thing, you don’t have to be perfect immediately. You just have to practice and eventually. You’re great at it.
Joel Fortner: Yeah. The practice is huge. I can’t stress the importance of that enough because we do get into that. I have to nail it. I have to be perfect at it the first time out. You know, it’s like there’s a reason that major league baseball players have coaches. Yes, these are the best baseball players in the world and yet there is still a coach standing out there next to the second baseman teaching them how to be a better second baseman. The whole behind the second baseman is why he is a second basement in the major league. That’s the whole mindset because I’m like, Hey, come and show me. How can I adjust my gloves slightly different? How do I move on the ball? How do I look at the batter at the plate and being able to anticipate where he’s probably going to hit the ball. Those fine tuning, tweaking. It’s never about perfection. It’s about pursuit.
Chris LoCurto : Do I chew gum or sunflowers seeds?
Joel Fortner: Gum always gum.
Chris LoCurto : So you mentioned killing the leadership crazy cycle. This is, we say this a billion times. This is a number one lesson that we push leaders as they become clients, it’s the number one thing we focus on. We’re focusing on it at the main Next-Level Leadership LIVE Event because it’s. It’s just that important. How does this apply to something so important as Killing the Leadership Crazy Cycle?
Joel Fortner: So Killing the Leadership Crazy Cycle. It robs you of options. It keeps you stuck. It keeps you reactive if you’re in it. So those are those common pain points of it. Killing it is what frees you up to actually have the time to plan, to have the emotional capacity to plan and actually move out on your plan of where you want to take your life. That’s why we we press it so hard in the program is to free you up to do more significant work, more significant leadership activity that’s truly going to move the needle on your team rather than you stay stuck scratching away trying to lead a little bit, trying to do a little planning, trying to move out on a new business opportunity. Yet what keeps happening? I can’t get traction. I can’t move. Those are symptoms of you being in the leadership crazy cycle.
Chris LoCurto : The crazy thing is is as you kill the Leadership Crazy Cycle and you’re intentional about it and you’re intentional about leading yourself, then it’s not just a business thing and it’s not just a life thing. You end up leading everything, your whole life intentional.
Joel Fortner: Absolutely. Killing the Leadership Crazy Cycle…It is not a personal problem. It’s a strategic issue. That’s how you have to view it. It’s not a, Oh, I need to get myself better. No, it’s…I need to get my team and my business at a higher level, which requires freeing me up to lead them to be there. This is a strategic issue on a team or in a business.
Chris LoCurto : Now there are some action steps we’re going to be going over again. You’ve got a big lesson that you’re going to be teaching on this. What are some action steps or what is an action step that somebody can focus on right now that they can put into place right now, right?
Joel Fortner: You know, I’m going to hit two. I’m going to do like Jesus. What was the greatest commandment? He’s like, I’ll give you two. I’ll give you two, so I’m going to give you two for the price of one. The first one’s really easy. It is top performers move on information immediately. I’m going to challenge everyone right now. How many podcasts do you listen to? This show right here, that you hear the information. You’d be like, man, that’s actually really solid, but then dang it, there’s not that follow up. There’s not that implementation. Move on things. Just pick a thing and move on, act on new information. Now, find a way, and if you’re not stuck in the leadership crazy cycle, guess what? You have the bandwidth to actually do that. So that’s number one. Don’t wait. Don’t procrastinate. Move on it now. So the bigger piece is this, if you’re going to lead yourself better, you got to know where you’re leading yourself to. That requires having a vision, a vision as we teach it as a destination. It’s not an idea or hope. It’s a destination. It’s clarity that I can see this point in time. I can see where I’m going to be, whether it’s in three weeks or whether it’s in three years a vision is the destination.
Chris LoCurto : The thing that we always teach around here, because vision gets so messed up when people talk about vision, mission, all that kind of stuff, we make it so easy around here, like in Stratplan or something like that. I’m always teaching. I’m saying, “have you ever been to the beach?” And everybody’s been to the beach and if they haven’t, I’ll say, okay, how about the mountains? If you’ve been to the beach, do you know what it looks like when you get there? Do you know where you’re going to eat, what you’re going to do on the beach? Are you going to have an umbrella? You’re going to have a paddleboard? A towel that you lay on. What are the kids going to be doing? You can see where you’re going to go to dinner at night because you’ve been there and you’ve, you know, you know the places that you eat, the incredibly deep fried fish, which is just insane. All of these things you could see that’s the vision itself, the destination where we’re going to be, what it’s gonna look like WHEN we get there and people get that so messed up. They think that the vision is the process and it’s not, it’s the destination, the strategy, the goals. All of those pieces get us to that vision.
Joel Fortner: Exactly. So we’re actually planning a beach trip this year. One of our goals, one of our vision item, if you will, is a, hey, we want to do a beach trip again this year. We’re literally walking through the decision making process in our, in our home right now. But the vision is critical because so many times if he talked to someone who is feeling stuck or they’re feeling discontent or they’re feeling like I just don’t know, Joel, I’m just, you will find there is no plan, there’s no intentionality, there’s no destination. And as soon as the brain has an anchor point, like a vision, it all the sudden it’s like, wait a second, I can now back out of that and determine what I need to do. I’ll tell you what I’m talking about is not complicated, but so many people just choose not to do the work. You have to sit down and actually map it out. But it comes down to priorities. It comes down to what’s most important? Do I want to lead intentionally toward whatever I define as success or do I want to accidentally just default wake up at some point not knowing where I’m going to be and hoping it’s going to be okay.
Chris LoCurto : This is something I try and pound into people’s brains. You have to understand you’re doing something with the same hours today, no matter what. If you have a desire to be different, to be better, to have more money, to have a better family, to have a better spiritual life, physical life, whatever you’re choosing today to do something with the same amount, it’s the same hours. You’re just not being as intentional as you could be. So the very things you’re saying, I know people are hearing that and going, well, yeah, that doesn’t sound that complicated. It’s not really isn’t, well then what’s my issue? My lack of intentionality, my lack of training. I don’t have the tools. Somebody hasn’t taught me how to live intentionally, how to lead myself better. That’s the thing that’s missing. It’s not that you are going to have to come up with more hours in the day.
Chris LoCurto : You’re actually going to adjust how you do today’s hours and find out that after you practice this a little bit, you actually get more freedom in your day, more time in your day, more ability to spend leading people, more ability to spend with your family because you’ve been incredibly intentional. The tough part is making the decision to do the front side. If you do the front side than everything else. This is how we live? This is how we live around here. Our leadership team went to Israel and it was fantastic. We’re so intentional around here. We’re so intentional about leading. We come back and I don’t know if how many clients you had, but I had many clients that said how many fires you put out and I’m like, none. They’relike what? Come on. I’m like, no. We were gone for 10 days. There were zero fires when we came back. The team is doing an incredible job. I handled one email you handled I think two heather handled I think one or two while we were gone. That was literally it and I the faces of clients that are like, how is that even possible? I’m like, do the stuff we teach. Do the very things that we’re teaching you then you can leave for 10 days and come back because your team is being successful and it’s all intentional. So how intentional does a person need to be to lead themselves?
Joel Fortner: I would say it doesn’t have to be like, well, my gosh, I’ve got to constantly be intentional. I’ve caught to constantly be in task mode, right? It doesn’t have to be that way. I’ll just suggest take a baby step toward intentionality. Think about this conversation and what’s one thing that I could be more intentional about? I’m talking to everyone listening…you know something right now. You know right now I need to do a better job with this. I need to be more intentional about a date night with my spouse and actually arranging a babysitter. We get caught up in momentum. That’s the wrong way. We get caught up in routines and just going through the motions a week by week by week, and then we look up at some point and we decide, gosh, I’m really not happy with where I’m at.
Joel Fortner: Change it. Start literally making different behaviors, but start with what’s the vision? Where do I want to be back out of it to determine how am I going to get there? Something very important coming off of Israel is that this year is that our family. We want to spend more time focusing on God’s celebrations, his festivals that are in the Bible. We’ve put them on the calendar and many of them, I mean you and heather sitting here are going to be invited and be a part of those because we want to have that fellowship with our best friends and celebrating and worshiping God in that way, in these ways that are just man, what an incredible festival and time to share a meal and talk about what the Lord has done and what he’s doing today. So we wants to be more intentional with even things like that.
Chris LoCurto : Let me press into that a little bit because we’re also going to be doing that here at the office. We are scheduling and being intentional about celebration. There you go. Folks, if you hear that and you’re thinking, what do you mean you’re being intentional and scheduling time to celebrate? Don’t you just celebrate on the scheduled stuff? No, we’re being intentional to celebrate, not show up and you know, oh, it’s a party. Here’s a gift and hey, what time do we get out of here? You know what you know, give me the signal when it’s time to leave… no being intentional about celebrate-ing.
Joel Fortner: What do we want to achieve? What do we want to talk about? What’s the effect we want to have? What do we want people to get out of it?
Chris LoCurto : and what does celebrating look like?
Joel Fortner: Exactly.
Chris LoCurto : Not just showing up, but actually worshiping God, enjoying the process, all that kind of fun stuff.
Joel Fortner: What makes this hard is we’re moving in a direction. Every single person is moving down a path and it’s changing that path is changing it to a a new level of effort in a different way because as you pointed out, you’re not gonna get any more time back. It’s our choices of what we do with our time, but this sounds so basic, but it is, but it’s a main thing that holds people back from actually living life, growing, growing into a better leader because sometimes things are hard, right? They are hard. Leadership isn’t easy. There are difficult aspects. It’s like I’ll talk to some people sometime it’s like, man, it’s like I really prefer just to do tasks because the people thing is harder. Yes, it is. The paper doesn’t talk back to you. The computer. You can just turn the thing off or switch what you’re doing. Ah…I want to do Asana stuff right now I want to go and just answer an email because it’s easier, but the people thing is harder, but this stuff comes back to some of the same root issues. It’s harder based on what else we’re doing in our life when we are freed up to actually spend more time on more significant things that have bigger impact or we have more emotional freedom in our life. All of a sudden the leading part and the people part isn’t as hard anymore. You’re not as overwhelmed.
Chris LoCurto : I think people would be surprised to find out that, in yesterday’s staff meeting, I took an hour and 15 minutes before we even got to details that we needed to cover teaching, teaching the whole team,
Joel Fortner: Which is incredibly common around here.
Chris LoCurto : That’s what we do. We’re intentional about making sure this is why we don’t have fires when we get back. This is why our team just operates at a phenomenal level and loves coming to work every day and enjoys what we do.
Joel Fortner: I’ll tell you, just look at this and say, one or two hours a week, which we do more than that one or two hours a week of intentional leadership and teaching in that way is what makes all the rest of the hours on the team look like 80. Because of why we get so much done because of what really fuels and helps people and helps team members actually succeed in their jobs. We think, man, we want them to be more productive. I need them spending more time working. No, no, no. We need them. Being more productive. Performing at a higher level does not mean you have to be literally doing a task every single hour of your job.
Chris LoCurto : Right, so scheduled the steps, get the things going. Right. We gave a couple of things for people to do right now, like they can make happen right now. One of those things they need to schedule is come to this event.
Joel Fortner: Oh, absolutely.
Chris LoCurto : This is one small piece of three days of incredible life changing business, changing leadership, changing lessons.
Joel Fortner: This is, as we’ve been saying, all throughout he promotion of this event is change your leadership, change your life. You hear it after the end of this show, now 300 and something shows you’ve heard that message as listeners change your leadership. Think about this. You change your life. That is the essence of what we’re talking about here is that you’re going to lead your team to be more successful and you’re going to benefit as well, but you’re going to change your entire life by what you’re going to learn.
Chris LoCurto : Absolutely. So folks, if you are thinking at all about joining us and over 100 other leaders at the Next Level Leadership Live Event, you can get $100 off of your tickets right now. Now this is the last week that you can get that savings. So don’t miss it. January 29th at midnight that hundred dollars goes away and it’s $100 off of each ticket and if you’re going to get two or more tickets, then there’s even an additional discount. So go to ChrisLoCurto.com/events and get all the info you need and the $100 off per ticket before that expires. Get that today. Well brother thank you for joining us on the show.
Joel Fortner: Thank you for having me
Chris LoCurto : Gosh, it’s been too long since we’ve had you on here. So good to have you here. And as you were mentioning, as always, we hope this information has helped you. Take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.
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