Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk how self-management is the best management.

Managing yourself is one of the most important skills a person can develop, especially if you want to be a successful leader and manage other people.

In today’s episode of the show, Steli and Hiten what self-management means, the importance of self-management, some principles of good management and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic

00:39 Why this topic was chosen.

01:21 Why knowing what you control is super important.

02:25 Why self-managed people are some of the best people to work with.

02:39 What self-management means.

03:38 Why you should start with you.

04:27 Why you should live a truly good life in front of your children.

05:35 How it’s so much easier to tell people what to do.

08:40 The importance of self-management.

09:07 The principles of management.

3 Key Points:

  • A lot of it has to do with knowing what you control.
  • Self-managed people are some of the best people to work with.
  • Self-management is figuring out what to do and not ask other people what you should be doing.

Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.

Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah. And today on The Startup Chat, we’re going to talk about how self-management is the best management, because I tweeted that and I think Steli liked it.

Steli Efti: Yeah.

Hiten Shah: And I tweeted it because it just came in my head. I had no rhyme or reason.

Steli Efti: How the fuck do you do this? You’re just like, you’re just walking down the street and you see birds chirping, and you’re like, “Ah, wait a second, before I continue watching these birds. Self-management is the best management.” How did it just pop up in your head?

Hiten Shah: I don’t know. I just thought about it. I don’t know. I just thought about it. I just thought about something and it just popped in my head, and I was like, “Oh, yeah, this is a good one. Let me go share this today.” I strongly believe that. And a lot of it has to do with knowing what you control. And you just control yourself and how you manage yourself. And I think that can extend to many different areas. We can talk about it in many different ways, but at the end of the day, I really truly believe self management is really the best management. And one thing, one way, if you are a manager of any kind that you can kind of resonate with this or maybe have some familiarity with the concept, is when you have somebody who you’re managing, you’re responsible for, and their ability to manage themselves is just incredible. So, the management you have to do is very light because they’re bringing what their needs to the table for you. They’re documenting things. They’re basically managing themselves, which makes it so that you don’t have to manage them. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t manage them. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be involved. This isn’t even a management style thing. This is literally, self-managed people are some of the best people to work with. Self-managed people are sort of some of the people that have the most … That appear to be more put together because they’re just managing themselves. Even if everything’s going to hell in a hand basket or whatever they call it, they’re still sitting there capable of basically figuring out what to do. So, a lot of self-management to me is more about figuring out what to do and not having to ask other people what you should be doing. And this applies to so many different scenarios. It’s kind of hilarious because it’s kind of like this thing where you’re taking control of what you can control, and you’re not worried about things that are outside of your control. If you think of self-management and think of it as self-management, you could put yourself in that mindset even if you don’t have a lot of experience with management or managing people and things, or feel like you’re not good at to-do lists, and stuff like that. It’s not about that. It’s about having the sort of awareness that if you manage yourself, you get to control your time. You don’t manage yourself, you don’t get to control your time. Someone else is controlling your time.

Steli Efti: I love that. And this is one of these universal uncomfortable truths where if you want to start changing the world, clean your room, make your bed. Right?

Hiten Shah: Yeah.

Steli Efti: Get your affairs in order. Do your shit first. I remember. I used to say this to people jokingly. Before I had children, I always used to tell people, “I’m going to write a book about how to raise children before I’m becoming a dad.” I never did that obviously, but I was like, “I’m going to write a book.” [crosstalk] And that-

Hiten Shah: You and the books. Yes.

Steli Efti: And I’m like, “And that book is going to be two pages. And it’s just going to say, ‘Get your shit together. Just whatever you want your children’s life to look like, make sure you live it in front of them. You’ve got to tackle your fears. Be honest, grow, learn, be humble. Just live a truly good life in front of them and they’ll be fine. They’ll learn everything they need to learn by watching you. There’s nothing you need to pretend to do or say to them while privately your shit’s fucked up.'” Right? And think, “Well, I read these 20 books about perfect child education. And so, my children truly are going to benefit from this.” Maybe they will a little bit, but if you just don’t have your affairs in order, they’re not. They’re just going to copy your behavior. It’s the same thing … Back in the day when I was a kid … I don’t know I was for you, but all my uncles would smoke and all of them would forbid their children to smoke. And I always thought that’s kind of weird. I was like, “What logic is this? They’re sitting here in the living room smoking a cigarette.” But then once they saw that one of the kids, when they were 16 smoked in school or something, they had lost their shit, and they were screaming at them. And I’m like, “Motherfucker, you’re smoking as well? How you manage your child? What is this?” So, the same thing. But it’s so much easier. It’s for all of us. It’s so much easier for me to tell you what to do than to do it myself correctly. [crosstalk 00:05:24].

Hiten Shah: Always, yeah.

Steli Efti: To live up to it. And-

Hiten Shah: My dad actually told me, “Do what I say, not what I do.”

Steli Efti: Do what I say, not what I do. Your dad is not the only one, right. How many people have done this?

Hiten Shah: He just straight up told me that. I was like, “All right, dude. Cool. Great.

Steli Efti: Yeah. How illogical is this? Don’t do what I do. Just do what I say. Well, why don’t you do what you say?

Hiten Shah: That’s right.

Steli Efti: Why does your life not apply to this standard? This golden standard of [crosstalk 00:05:55].

Hiten Shah: Yeah. The background there is my dad doesn’t eat vegetables and stuff. He just doesn’t. There’s a short list. So, he’s always … So, it was really about the food all the time. But yeah, he meant that. So, yeah.

Steli Efti: This reminds me. I’m sure. I’m certain I’ve told this story before on the podcast, but this reminds me of this Gandhi story. I don’t know how true it is or not, but I love it. And I’ve told it a million times where there was this mother that came with a child to see Gandhi, and the child was obese and was eating too much sugar and was about to die because of diabetes or something. And so, this mother traveled really far distances and long times with her child, waited forever to get like a couple of seconds with Gandhi. She’d heard that this was this amazing person. And she asked him and pleaded with him, “Please, please, tell my son something so he stops eating sugar so he can become healthy and doesn’t die. He’s too young.” And then, he looked at her and told her, “Come back again in a month or something.” And she went on this … The whole travel back and all this time to travel again there and wait for days and days and days. And then when he saw … Got the audience with Gandhi again and saw the child, he just looked at him and said, “Stop eating sugar,” and then smile to them and was like, “Oh, sure. Nice day.” And she got really mad at him and was like, “What? Why didn’t you say this a month ago? Why did we have to wait?” Ta-da-da-da-da-da-da. And Gandhi was like, “Well, a month ago I was still eating sugar.” Right? I fucking-

Hiten Shah: It’s good.

Steli Efti: It’s so good, right?

Hiten Shah: So good.

Steli Efti: I love the story. He’s like, “Well, I couldn’t tell him to stop eating sugar. I was eating sugar myself.”

Hiten Shah: Because I was eating it. Yeah. What do you want me to say? [crosstalk 00:07:34].

Steli Efti: So good. And this is pretty much it. And this relates to self-management. People, we all, we like to complain, “Oh, there’s no leadership here,” or management is not this. Management is not that.” Or even better, “I should be given more responsibility. I should be given a chance.” Or on the flip side, “Oh, my God. I’m given this responsibility to manage people, but I’ve never managed anybody.” And it’s like, “Wait a second.”

Hiten Shah: What about yourself?

Steli Efti: What about yourself? You could start gaining management experience right now. You don’t need anybody. Just becomes really good at managing your own life. You can gain tremendous leadership experience by leading your own life. Right? Becoming a leader of your life, becoming a leader of your work.

Hiten Shah: Totally. Yeah.

Steli Efti: And the principles to becoming an amazing manager or leader, they’re always the same. If you know how to manage yourself really, really well, chances that you’re going to manage other people really effectively are incredibly high, because it’s the same principles. And if your life is a mess, if you’re always late, if you don’t get your shit and affairs in order, the chances that you’re going to read some book and then become an amazing manager of other people is zero. Right. So, [crosstalk] that book … Is there a Peter Drucker book on self-management. I feel like there’s a Peter Drucker book [crosstalk] management.

Hiten Shah: I think there is. Managing Oneself [crosstalk 00:09:06]. Is that it?

Steli Efti: Managing Oneself, yes.

Hiten Shah: Yeah.

Steli Efti: This is one of those books that I think I’ve read sometime, or at least I know have on Kindle, but I don’t remember it. But I’ve heard a couple of people recommending it, but I can’t recommend it firsthand, but this fits the [crosstalk 00:09:21].

Hiten Shah: [crosstalk 00:09:21]. Yeah, yeah. It’s Peter Drucker style. Yeah. Good book.

Steli Efti: All right. I think this is it for us for this episode, but this comes back to, I think the tidbit for people out there. As you said in your tweet, self-manage is the best management. Start with self-management, right? You have to ask yourself, How can I [crosstalk 00:09:44]?

Hiten Shah: How can I now [crosstalk 00:09:44]?

Steli Efti: “Right now, how can I be better at self management? How can I become better at managing my life and myself?” And then, pick one thing and start working on that. Start working on becoming a great manager over yourself. And lots and lots of things will fall into place afterwards.

Hiten Shah: Yep.

Steli Efti: That’s it for this episode. We’ll hear you very soon.

Hiten Shah: Happy managing.