Self Leadership: Doing More Starts With You

A Critical Doer controls what is theirs to control 

A Critical Doer works as hard to develop strength of character as strength of talent 


In a recent article in People Development Magazine, Vitae Dynamics owner Renee Gendron shared some thoughts about the concept of self-leadership.  In reading the article, it’s clear that Gendron is a Critical Doer.

Gendron has two themes in the article.  Her first theme is that leadership skills begin with a deliberate, self-driven effort to learn about the art and science of leadership.  The approach has been repackaged in numerous ways to sell books and training courses, but it’s tried and true; and I applaud Gendron for saying it in layman’s terms.  Her approach is reading what people have already learned and then just plain doing.

Her second theme builds upon the first and it’s what separates pretenders from contenders…resilience.  The point revolves around adversity, a malady from which none of us get immunity, and the ability to press through it and get things done.  The pretenders flinch and quit in the face of adversity…the contenders focus and finish.

Once again I applaud Gendron for making it clear that resilience is not something you can acquire after the onset of adversity.  The deceptive part about when we acquire resilience is that the definition indicates it occurs as a result of an external influence…we see resilience in objects when they snap back into form after they are bent.

The instructive point for us is that we see the physical manifestation of resilience after the application of stress, but the property of resilience was forged well in advance.  Gendron points out two avenues for helping cultivate the mental toughness to achieve resilience…learning to play a musical instrument and sports.  Both of these activities provide chances to learn, experience frustration that causes a quit or drive on decision, and ultimately the liberation of the human spirit for those who press forward and defeat the obstacle in front of them.

So how does all this relate to the Critical Doer philosophy of accomplishment?  It’s a simple answer in that the highest achievers are not always the most talented and well resourced.  The highest achievers are most often the ones who simply refuse to quit when the impartial adversary called adversity comes to call.  Only those with strength of character to push through challenges when all hope seems lost are the ones who accomplish the deeds that provide those special moments of fulfillment.

Your challenge is to have a moment of brutal honesty and reflect upon whether you’re actively cultivating the skills of a leader that include individual resilience that will feed the souls of entire organizations in times of challenge.  Activities like sports, music, hobbies involving craftsmanship, and many others provide opportunities to develop focus and practice driving on rather than quitting.

Remember something I told you in a previous post on physical fitnesswe act out patterns of behavior in times of stress that we rehearse on a daily basis.  If it is your habit to quit under stress when nothing is on the line, you’ll also do it when everything is on the line.  Take Gendron’s advice and be proactive in cultivating your own capacity for resilience.  It’s what a leader and a Critical Doer would…do!


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Updated: May 16, 2015 — 1:23 pm