Self-Leadership in One Sentence

We keep hearing (in several philosophical quotations from the older and wiser) that the answer to that quintessential question on the meaning of life, is simply to live the life you are given, living it as fully as possible.

Which tends to evoke another question: And what, pray tell, does “fully” encompass?

Yet no wise person will answer that question definitively, except to press back with, “What would it mean to you?”

That is where self-leadership comes in.

We make the ‘self-’ distinction intentionally in our Managing with Aloha culture-building, where self-leadership is about you first, before you presume to tackle leadership, which is about others too. The value of Alaka‘i will include both in a person’s life.

In one sentence: Self-leadership is the growing process of arriving at your own choices in life, living it fully.

So go for it: Make it about you. We all win when we get your best.

In Managing with Aloha, we’ll press back on defining “fully” too, however we do have the presumption of Aloha, feeling your Aloha Spirit must be an integral part, and it will be when you honor your sense of self.

In The Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard writes,

“Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn’t disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into the each moment.”

Growing, however, is a beautiful process too, for it is filled with a multitude of those moments.


Self-leadership in one sentence has long been an exploratory exercise for me: My sentence has gone through several evolutions, and it keeps getting shorter, and more focused. The two words I have never been able to edit out, are ‘growing’ and ‘arriving’ for their appeal is so strong. To arrive can be so rewarding, and so meaningful; why not pause and celebrate when it happens?

Try the exercise for yourself: What is self-leadership for you? Can you articulate it in a single sentence?

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Talking Story is the blog home of those who are learning to be Alaka‘i Managers — those committed to managing and leading with Aloha. Read a preview of the book which inspired this movement, and visit our About Page.

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