One Percent Leadership…Everyday

What’s Really Important to You?

You can tell what’s important to someone by looking at their calendar and in their checkbook.

We’ve all been sold the lie of ‘time management’ as a way to improve our productivity. An entire industry has been built around the concept of managing our time to get more out of it, to get better results in both of personal and professional lives.

I’m calling bullshit.

It’s not about the time – we’re all given 24 hours each day that comes and goes no matter what we do.

It’s how we manage ourselves, in the time that we’re given.

But this doesn’t sell well, as it forces us to look in the mirror for the problem. 1% leadership requires us to first look at ourselves, because that’s where leadership starts.

To Manage Others, First Manage Yourself

“If you’re going to be successful in life, the first place you have to work on to help yourself really grow and develop is in the area of your leadership.” – John Maxwell

Too many individuals don’t consider themselves as leaders, which prevents them from taking ownership of their actions and holding other people who pose as leaders accountable. This is the source of the leadership crisis that the world is currently experiencing.

How can we assist people see themselves as leaders instead of having the perception that they aren’t?

We need to begin by asking ourselves 3 questions:

1    Would you follow yourself?

You are a leader if you have an impact on the lives of others. Knowing this, answer the question honestly because nobody else will know the solution. If the response was “NO,” however, what can you do to better yourself?

2.    Are you taking time, on a daily basis, to reflect and to think?

What we do in our ‘down time,’ and how much we afford ourselves, is directly related to the success we achieve (or don’t) in our lives. Just like a good financial investor tells you to pay yourself first with your money, you also need to pay yourself first with your time.

3.    What would your personal/professional life look like if you invested just 1% each week in growth?

I’ve yet to meet anybody who says they want to stay where they are in life; I’ve just met too few people who are willing to take the initiative to invest in themselves to get what they say they want. The most common excuse I hear? ‘I don’t have the time!’

One Percent Leadership Is Simple Math

Each week we have 168 hours. Nobody gets more and only dead people get less. Assuming you’re reading this, you’re not dead, and that’s a good thing.

What is 1% of 168? 1.68 hours, or approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Broken down further, it’s about 15 minutes a day. So what can you do with 15 minutes a day? A lot!

First, do a self-assessment of where you’re at right now. Be brutally honest with yourself of what your ‘right now’ looks like. For the next two weeks, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed, track your time in 15 minute increments. Do both your personal schedule and your professional schedule together, because for many people, you’ll see a lot of overlap between the two. (As important as this step is, it doesn’t need to be complicated. A simple Excel sheet will do, here’s a free template.)

Spend some time analyzing this evaluation. The best teacher is appraised experience, not experience itself. You just haven’t looked hard enough for it up until now. I promise that your schedule isn’t constantly so crowded that you can’t find 1% to invest in yourself.

After you’ve completed this, I challenge you to identify something you want to learn, something you want to do, or anything you want to get better at. Pick no more than one or two items to work on improving; start small.

Spend 15 minutes every day on the task you just selected for the next 30 days, keep track of the results, and I promise you’ll notice progress. It takes self-control to do this. If you’d like accountability, email me and we’ll work together to help you reach your goal.

This is what one percent leadership looks like — and it starts with the person you look at in the mirror every day.


Photo credit: Joshua Earle. 

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Steve Goble

Steve is a Founding Partner of the John Maxwell Team and owner of the Goble Group. He enjoys building people, solving problems, and growing organizations. He is a former D1 lacrosse player, current Rotarian, and loves his wife and kids. His ultimate goal is to figure out how to be a paid as a full-time dad. Connect with Steve.


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