Month: April 2018

<em>Leadership and…Thyself</em>

Leadership and…Thyself

It’s been a while since I wrote a post on Leadership.

Leadership is a passion of mine and I think I’ve waited too long to get back to it here.

Life is like that though. Isn’t it?

You have things you want to get done, want to start and complete, but darn if life gets in the way sometimes.

And that’s the whole point of this: living an Intentional Life.

Especially as a Leader!

Living more authentically. Living with purpose. Living with conviction as to who we are, where we’re going, and how we will be.

This is a lot easier said than done!


Know Thyself —


Someone once told me, “I don’t want to examine who I am, it’s too much work!”

Within minutes, that person complained about repeating negative patterns in their life and didn’t know why or how to stop it.

If we’re going to be the type of leader that inspires others around us—I mean, that’s what we want to do, right? Create an atmosphere where our people feel safe and secure to make decisions that are spot on, perform to their peak level, and do an outstanding job at what they do?

Then we really need to learn how to Lead Ourselves.

Wish I was saying something new here, but there’s an old Proverb that says, There’s nothing new under the sun.

But we forget.

We’re like leaky buckets and truth has a way of leaking out of us.

Whether you learned it or not, or forgot it, if we don’t Lead Ourselves, then someone else will. And that’s when we get into trouble.

I’m not talking about gaining a new title, position, or rank.

The whole idea behind Leading Yourself is this:

Do you lead yourself or do you allow others, things, society, or social media to lead you?

Or worse…your emotions! Do your emotions lead you, or do you led them? More to come in future posts about this.


Lead —


As leaders, we can hide behind a smoke screen of rank and power and parrot policies and procedures.

Hide behind a desk. Hide behind an organization. Hide behind a veneer of organizational rules of does and don’ts, demanding others to get the job done and be the first to complain that These people just don’t get it, or, Why don’t these people go the extra mile around here.

Then, in a strange weird way, get excited to write a reprimand on someone who may have slipped a little in attempting to follow all the rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.

The same rules and regs that were knee-jerked out of a committee of other “leaders” that forgot what it’s like to be in the trenches, slugging it out to perform their specific job assignments from the other end of the P&P manual as to how they should accomplish it—usually with no other reward than simply getting to keep their jobs and receive less pay this year than last due to inflation.

But, I digress…

When you Lead Thyself, you know who you are, what you believe, and how you want to be in life.

I’ve told those who I have partnered with over the years not worry about rank and titles, lead right where you are.

But first, you must learn to Lead Thyself.


Thyself —


So, what does Leading Thyself really mean?

Here are a few things I do, have done, and still do today, that works for me…

  1. Who am I? For me, this means quieting my mind with no other distractions and thinking (sometimes writing down) about my own purpose and separating what outside influences are yelling at me versus how I truly want to live; what is it that I truly want to do; and how I truly want to be—without the guilt from someone else’s agenda. This isn’t easy in a world that bombards us with happy porn from Facebook to Pinterest and then we feel bad because we compared ourselves with So&So, and now somehow we should be as happy as they look but we’re not. We’re influenced all the time, from all sorts of angles, and the blitz never ends. At the end of the day, we’re so mentally exhausted, who has time to sit in quiet and engage our thinker about who we are? Yet, it’s crucial to get to know who you are…intimately.
  2. What do I believe? This isn’t some religious thing, although it could be for you. What is it that you believe? What do you hold as important and value the most in life? Do you understand yourself to the point that you can honestly look yourself in the mirror with no one around and tell yourself what it is that you wholeheartedly believe in? Knowing this to an intimate degree will help guide yourself through the dark pits of anything in life, to include the dark pits of any organization.
  3. How to be? Not what to be, or gain, or have, or acquire, or…whatever. But How to be. Knowing who you are and what you believe will guide you in how to be. This is where you realize that you are different from the rest of the pack and you will stand out. This will separate you from just going with the flow and living a life that is based on mindless decisions.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a starting point.

Leading Thyself is a way of life. Knowing who you are and basing your decisions and your actions on what your core values are will help you navigate out of a herd mentality and keep you from being corralled like so many others.

When we live mindlessly we lose passion in our lives. We wake up in the middle of the corral living a life that we think others expect from us, and yet we desire so much more—To be free.

Fear keeps us caged and hemmed in—just like cattle led to the slaughter.

I don’t like that feeling.

When you stop and quiet yourself to find out about yourself, you might be surprised where you will Lead Yourself.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Leadership, Self-Improvement
You Can Never Do This One Thing Too Much

You Can Never Do This One Thing Too Much

My last mentor used to drive me nuts.

Whenever he had some new, earth-shattering policy, program, or whatever he wanted to implement, he usually consulted with me.

I was honored.

That’s not what drove me crazy.

“Christian…Christian…,” he would say, and then repeat, “now, Christian…”

I have no idea why he repeated my name as many times as he did.

Maybe he knew I partially blocked him out while I was working and that was his way of getting my full attention. Whatever the reason, that’s just how he began his monologue.

Fifteen minutes later, and after addressing all of my thoughtful concerns, he would launch again, into…The. Same. Thing.

Um, okay, we just talked about this.

Then, after explaining to me what he already presented, he mingled all of my concerns and questions into one jumbled mess and then laced them together with his first presentation. Then, he would solicit a few more questions from me about his thing he was trying to convey.


He would launch again…

My frustration would begin to mount.

For the third time, he would talk about the same thing. What could’ve taken fifteen minutes to explain to me the first time, took roughly one or more hours.

That’s, what drove me nuts.

Sometimes, our meetings would take nearly three hours. I was exhausted after such talks.

Did you know there’s a thing called Perceptual Psychology? I didn’t. It’s a field of study regarding how we see things.

It’s not WHAT you see, it’s HOW you see.

Sounds simple, yet our filters make things so darn complicated!

Those filters are made up of our beliefs, personal experiences, and education.

It’s filters we use to make snap judgments about what we see and feel and the little we know about people and situations.

I can show a maroon truck to ten people, and I will get a different description from each one.

And we’re only talking about a physical object! You know, like, it’s something you can reach out and touch. It’s a truck for crying out loud.

Or is it a pickup?  A flatbed?

Wait, maroon or burnt red? Heck, depending on where you’re from, it could be a Lorry.

What happens when the description turns to the abstract things of life?

No one else has ever come close to teaching this one thing—communication; rather, the art of communicating—to me better than he did.

Of all those talks, speeches, and mind-boggling lengthy conversations we had, he usually wiggled his way past all my filters, and I would eventually see what he was trying to convey.

I suppose if I was smarter or more intuitive, those talks wouldn’t have taken three hours. Hm…

You can never over communicate. Especially when it comes to the not-so-tangible things in life.

Tip: If you’re a leader, those whom you lead are not responsible for what they hear, you are.

Policies and procedures are one thing, but what about all the other intangible things? You know, the abstract things that people fight over. Get hurt over. Heck, wars have even been fought over such things.

Love, religion, politics, or the decision who takes out the trash…name it; if you can’t physically touch the thing, it’s so much more open to misinterpretation.

Think about all the situations around you that you’re not personally involved in. It’s easy to make a snap judgment about someone or how they live.

What about those relationships that you do care about?

I’ve learned that communication is exploration. Exploring what makes you tick. What ticks you off. And, why you tick.

I’ve also learned that it takes energy. A lot of energy. Especially when two people are saying the same thing, but are coming up with a different conclusion.

That’s where we get ourselves into trouble. At least for me.

When I don’t put in the extra effort to find out what you’re truly saying or meaning, or better yet, why you are saying the things you’re telling me, then that opens up your life to my interpretation.

I can color the sky pink when your sky is really blue, and that’s a problem.

I’ll make assumptions, which leads to defensiveness, which leads to hurt feelings, which leads to many other things that in the end, you and I are fighting over something that a minor explanation could resolve.

You can never communicate too much.

Just something to think about.

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Life Hack, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement