May 21, 2018

Lead Yourself: Reflections From Leadercast 2018

This month, the entire PHOS team took a day out of the studio to attend Leadercast, an all-day, immersive leadership development event.

Leadercast is a live event hosted annually in Atlanta, Georgia, and simulcast to host sites throughout the world, including right here in Gainesville, Florida.

The event brings in speakers from various industries, from global business leaders to sports agents to actors. Its vision is to develop leaders worth following.

Leadership is one of our core values. To quote our definition of leadership at PHOS:

Leadership is a behavior, not a position. Within our team, within our industry, and with our clients, everybody at PHOS is called to be a leader.

This is PHOS’ fourth time attending Leadercast to build into that value and grow as leaders.

Lead Yourself

This year’s Leadercast theme was “Lead Yourself.” It explored such topics as:

Below, a few of our team members shared one of their big takeaways about self-leadership from Leadercast 2018.


I appreciated the topic of core values, operating out of them, and self-care the most. It is of the utmost importance to learn and discipline yourself to find and move through the core values you’ve defined for your life, something we can all struggle to define or operate through. Learning to keep your health in check when grinding through your responsibilities arduously, whilst maintaining a consistent flowing from your core values, can be one of the most beneficial and difficult things to really master. It serves as a reminder that the key to operating at your best must first come from keeping yourself from the burnout and stress by keeping yourself taken care of – even during the difficult times.


Kat Cole shared inspiring advice about seeking the truth and giving yourself and the people around you permission to change. She and her husband meet regularly and ask each other these questions:

  1. What is something I can start?
  2. What is something I can stop?
  3. What is something I can change?
  4. What has been the best part of the last 30 days?
  5. I would be failing you if ________.

These questions really resonated with me. Not only are they extremely insightful in personal relationships but also professional ones. In your next employee review, whether you’re holding the review, or being reviewed, what’s stopping you from asking these questions? Kat’s first point resonated with me again – “Give people permission to change. It’s OK to think differently tomorrow than you did yesterday.”

“What would people do with our privilege to lead?”


Kat Cole has an incredible story of her journey to become the president of Cinnabon at the age of 32. At the end of her talk, she asked this passing question, “What would people do with our privilege to lead?” That question hit me hard. How many leaders have watched their empires crumble because of their unfaithful or unaccountable leadership? Whatever level of leadership we’ve been given (over ourselves, over another, over a team, or over an organization), it is a privilege that we are to treasure and manage with diligence, integrity, and disciplined self-leadership.


What struck me this year was how so many of the speakers tied health to Leadership. How can we expect others to follow us if we don’t lead ourselves? By managing our energy and looking at self-care as a necessity and not a luxury, we can set ourselves up for sustained growth and bring consistent energy to our teams. It’s hard to be flexible and open when you’re burnt out.

Self-awareness, not absolute perfection, is the first building block of a great leader.


Andy Stanley posed a challenge to all of us: “I will not lie to the person I see in the mirror, even if the truth hurts me.” Another speaker challenged us to ask someone we know well, “What is something everyone knows about me, but I do not know about myself?” Both challenges are potentially scary because they make us vulnerable, but the ability to hear or admit the answers is central to the ability to lead yourself. The lesson I took from this year’s Leadercast is that you cannot genuinely lead yourself, let alone others, if you cannot face the truth about your own strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness, not absolute perfection, is the first building block of a great leader.


Embrace what you want to look back on.

Andy Stanley said that we face our greatest leadership challenge every day when we look in the mirror. Every day is a battle with yourself. Perhaps you feel crippled on your goal setting efforts. None of it works because giving up something does not work for you (diets, anyone)? You must prioritize what you value most over what you want now. Whatever stage you are in right now, you can be better than yesterday. You can be the successful version of you.

“Direction, not intention, determines destination.”


Andy Stanley made the point that “direction, not intention, determines destination.” When we wonder why our life isn’t moving in a direction we would like it to, and sometimes it is crucial to stop and analyze what we are doing and why it isn’t working. Wanting something or setting a goal doesn’t always translate into automatic progression towards that benchmark. If we truly want to move in a direction we have to ask ourselves, “What can I do that will get results?” Actions over words.


Andy Stanley challenged us with this question: “What do I want said about me in the end?”

No one likes to think about the end of their life, but doing so can really shed light on our purpose, direction, and where we need to invest our energy. He describes an exercise where he spent a few weeks writing what he’d like his friends and family to say about him if he passed away. I think if more of us spent more time contemplating the reality of death, as morbid as it might be, we might be more inclined to spend our time on the things that really matter in life rather than getting bogged down in the trifles. We’d be much better for it.


The importance of self-care was the biggest takeaway for me. The concept of the “hustle fallacy” made me realize that working longer does not necessarily mean you are working smarter. There is a point where our productivity starts to drop off after too many hours of work. Taking time for relaxation, eating right, and exercising can actually INCREASE your productivity during the time when you are working. Self-care is not indulgent, but necessary to be productive and healthy.


Kat Cole presented a statistic about how hard it is to make changes in your life: “Only 1 in 10 people will actually make the necessary changes when their lives are at stake.” She followed that with a question: “How much harder is it [to change] when this isn’t the case?” If we can’t change when our lives are on the line, how can we make the necessary changes in our career or at home with much lower stakes? Self-leadership is about self-discipline. We must make the hard choices that put us in a better place in the future, even if it makes our lives difficult in the immediate.

Jon Saxton

Jon Saxton

Jon recognizes passion and works to convey that in powerful ways. With an eye toward what could be and an understanding of how, he brings energy and ideas to everything he works with.