Self Leadership Before Leadership Of Others, with Derek Deprey, Ep #50
40 min

Most of us are not as familiar with the term “self leadership” as we are with the idea of leadership in general. That’s because we typically think of leadership as something we do that is directed toward others, be they followers or emerging leaders.

My guest for this episode of the podcast has literally written a book on the concept - and it’s a topic that I think you’re going to resonate with. Why? Because a commitment to personal growth and development is what’s behind the concept of self leadership and I know that my podcast listeners are people who are very interested in that topic.

Join me as I speak with Derek Deprey - a husband, father, and the Director of People & Service for the Wisconsin Athletic Club (WAC). There, he’s responsible for teaching over 1,000 team members the core principles of leadership, training, and personal development.

Self leadership in a nutshell: a commitment to personal growth

Every leader knows intuitively that they must be growing themselves if they have any hope of leading others well. But even with that being the case, there are many who have never made a commitment to themselves that they will be intentional about their growth.

Those who lead themselves well see the importance of things like Core Values, Personal Vision Statements, and the implementation of behaviors that make growth happen. They aren’t content with being comfortable - in fact, those who we might call “masters” of self leadership often put themselves into uncomfortable places intentionally.

In this conversation, you’ll hear Derek describe how that has been the case for him and how a very uncomfortable situation where he experienced an epic fail put him on the path to self leadership and personal growth.

A key question to ask yourself regularly...

Those who are adept at self leadership are not willing to accept the status quo in their own lives. They dig deep to find the things in themselves that are holding them back or in need of change. A question that Derek asks himself often to help him discern what those areas might be is this…

“What is bothering me that I’m putting off?”

When we honestly ask questions of that nature we will find lots of things rising to the surface in answer to the question…, projects that need to be done, books that need to be read or written, opportunities at work we’ve been slow to take on, and more. But at the root of those we’ll find the deeper things we’re really after: fears, doubts, and plain old procrastination. Those skilled at self leadership place a bullseye on those limitations and obstacles and one at a time begin picking them off - leading themselves into a place of growth by doing so.

Self leaders work toward, work-life fusion instead of work-life balance

If you take the time to Google the phrase “work-life balance” you’ll find 600 million results returned. Clearly, many people are curious about the topic and many others are creating resources to address it. One aspect of what goes into leading yourself toward a healthy lifestyle in regards to work and home life is this: complementary values.

When the things that you value in your personal life guide you as they should, you’ll view every opportunity at work through the lens of those values. That means that when you consider a new position or role at work or a new employment opportunity, you need to bring those personal values to bear on your decision. Your personal values should not compete with the values required of you in that position. Those who lead themselves well maintain this commitment and bring work and life together into a meaningful combination.

What’s more important than finding your passion? Finding your meaning

These days people often express a longing to find the thing they are passionate about, the thing that will motivate them to work hard, serve, and make a difference in the world. But passion is prone to waxing and waning if there is not something more substantial beneath it.

Derek Deprey rightly points out that it’s more important to find your meaning than it is to find your passion. It’s a nuance to be sure, but one that’s important to understand. When you can see the meaning in what you’re doing, it will sustain you over the long haul even when the job at hand is difficult or wearisome. Knowing that you are making a difference in ways that matter to you personally makes all the difference.

Outline of This Episode
  • [3:27] Derek’s own frustration prompted him to write himself out of it
  • [4:17] Why the concept of “self leadership” is so vital to good leadership of people
  • [5:35] How Derek’s book writing process unfolded
  • [8:27] One key question: “What am I putting off that’s bothering me?”
  • [11:42] The professional crash that set Derek on a new path of success
  • [23:08] Specific leadership roles Derek fulfills at Wisconsin Athletic Club
  • [24:49] The leadership bootcamp program Derek oversees
  • [29:08] Follow-up received for attendees of a leadership bootcamp
  • [33:12] How Derek pulls everything together to integrate it in his life
  • [36:03] To Derek, there’s something more important than finding your passion
Resources & People Mentioned Connect with Derek Deprey Connect With Bruce

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