The Me1st Method

A Leader’s Guide to Finding, Facing, and

Embracing Your Next Big Challenge

Mike Palanski, Ph.D.

Copyright @ 2022. Michael E. Palanski. All rights reserved.

Published by MPower2Lead.

I N T R O D U C T I O N

Hello. My name is Mike Palanski, and I’d like to help you find, face,

and embrace your Next Big Challenge.


If you are a leader who is taking on a new role, moving to a new

company, switching to a new career, or (perhaps most daunting of all)

staying right where you are—same role, same team, same title—but

attempting to do something important that you’ve never done before,

then you are a Next Big Challenge leader. Next Big Challenge leaders

include:

⚫ The accomplished individual contributor who joins an

Executive MBA program to learn about the big picture of

business in order to be promoted


⚫ The bank branch manager who was recently promoted to

regional manager and is learning how to stay out of the day-to-

day details in order to grow the business


⚫ The wildly successful corporate trainer who feels called to

something greater and is contemplating the possibility of

starting their own consultancy


⚫ The project manager who feels stuck and really doesn’t know

what to do next—all they really know is that staying put is not

an option

I bet you are equal parts excited, inspired, and terrified—even if you

are not exactly sure what your Next Big Challenge will be. I look

forward to helping you, but let me be clear about something before

you even finish this first page: there are ways to grow as a leader in

order to meet the Next Big Challenge (and I’m going to show them to

you!), but they still require hard work.


Are you ready to put in the work? Are you ready to grow with tons of

guidance and support? Are you ready to find, face, and embrace the

Next Big Challenge with renewed perspective and courage?


Yes? Good. I’m ready, too—so let’s get started.

HOW TO READ THIS BOOK

I want to help you create forward momentum and achieve clear results

(for yourself, your team, and your organization) by taking the

somewhat unusual approach of focusing on yourself. That is why I

wrote this book, created the Me1st Academy, and coach Next Big

Challenge leaders.


To do these things, I have structured the book in this way:


First, we are going to consider what leadership looks like when you

lead yourself first. Next, we are going to talk about what being a Next

Big Challenge leader is like by taking a look at a few stories of actual

leaders, the challenges they found themselves facing, and what they

did to keep moving forward. Then we are going to look at some of the

biggest hurdles that Next Big Challenge leaders face (teaser: they are

formidable but also predictable, and therefore overcome-able).


After that, we will nerd out on the science behind the Me1st Method;

in other words, the research behind all of this stuff. And then we will

look at the main attraction: the step-by-step Me1st Method of

developing Next Big Challenge leaders:

This book exists for two reasons:


1. To share what I know and help you obtain results before you

even finish this book. Leadership has been my professional life

for almost two decades. I’ve learned a lot, and I want to put it

out into the world with the confidence that it will do some

good.


2. If what you read in these pages resonates and you desire more

help, I want to explore the possibility of you becoming a client

in the Me1st Academy for Next Big Challenge leaders.

Motivate (finding and defining your Next Big Challenge)


Educate & Evaluate (developing your leadership

knowledge/skills and assessing your current situation)


1 thing at a time (not a step, really—just a little reminder)


Strategize (get your plan in place)


Test (experiment and embrace the Next Big Challenge)

We will look at why Next Big Challenge leaders need support (and the

types of support you need). And finally, I will help you get started by

walking you through the process of creating your Personal Leadership

Purpose Statement. I’ll also guide you to create a Team Charter and an

Organizational Change Manifesto. By the time you are finished with

this book, you will have the tools you need to find, face, and embrace

your Next Big Challenge by following the Me1st Method.


Before we go any further, I do want to make one thing clear: Me1st is

exactly what it says:

me, first

But it’s not:


⚫ me, alone


⚫ me, to the exclusion of all others


⚫ me, and others’ interests be damned


⚫ me, Me, ME! ALL ABOUT ME!

We are not trying to create an army of narcissistic leaders here.

Instead, what I want to do is to help you to define yourself so well as a

leader that you can show up to any situation with your own sense of

self intact. You can present your own best thinking and display

emotional maturity, while remaining connected to others.

THIS BOOK IN A NUTSHELL

(AKA THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY)

The entirety of this book can be summed up in three points:


1. Finding, facing, and embracing the Next Big Challenge requires

hard work for leaders


2. This work is best accomplished by following the Me1st Method


3. This work is easier and faster with support and guidance


Along the way, I hope you get to know me a bit better. You’ll see my

nerdy professor side, my passion for developing leaders, and

sometimes my dry sense of humor at its dad-joke best. I even cuss a

little at times. But more than anything else, here’s what I want you to

know about me:


I’ve been a high achiever all of my life, with a real knack for being able

to read people and adapt to them in a likable and affable way. These

qualities have served me very well (and in many ways, continue to do

so). But something was missing. I knew I wasn’t at my highest

potential. Until I learned that taking a Me1st approach is actually not

selfish at all (in fact, as I’ll argue later in the book, I think it is actually

the key to real service and love of others), I wasn’t able to face my own

Next Big Challenge(s) and become what I believed I could be—as a

professor, as a coach, as a business person, or as a dad, a husband, or a

friend.


In different ways, I have seen this breakthrough story play out again

and again in my work with my clients and students. You will meet

some of them in Chapter 1.


So even if you stop reading right here (but please don’t!), I want you

to walk away with this one idea:


Following the Me1st Method is the best way to find, face, and

embrace the Next Big Challenge—to create forward momentum and

clear results for yourself, your team, and your organization.


To help you do that, I’m putting my best thinking forward in this

book. I try to use a variety of examples and ideas in the hopes that you

see yourself in these pages. But this is a book, and therefore a one-way

conversation. If at any point you’d like to make it a two-way

conversation, then the next step is to consider if the Me1st Academy

might be a good fit for you. You can book an introductory call at any

time right here:


Me1stMethod.com/call


As we say in my hometown of Pittsburgh: that’s it, Fort Pitt.


Happy reading!


Mike

The Me1st Method

A Leader’s Guide to Finding, Facing, and Embracing Your Next Big Challenge

Mike Palanski, Ph.D.

Copyright @ 2022. Michael E. Palanski. All rights reserved.

Published by MPower2Lead.

I N T R O D U C T I O N

Hello. My name is Mike Palanski, and I’d like to help you find, face, and embrace your Next Big Challenge.


If you are a leader who is taking on a new role, moving to a new company, switching to a new career, or (perhaps most daunting of all) staying right where you are—same role, same team, same title—but attempting to do something important that you’ve never done before,

then you are a Next Big Challenge leader. Next Big Challenge leaders include:

⚫ The accomplished individual contributor who joins an Executive MBA program to learn about the big picture of business in order to be promoted


⚫ The bank branch manager who was recently promoted to regional manager and is learning how to stay out of the day-to-day details in order to grow the business


⚫ The wildly successful corporate trainer who feels called to something greater and is contemplating the possibility of starting their own consultancy


⚫ The project manager who feels stuck and really doesn’t know what to do next—all they really know is that staying put is not an option

I bet you are equal parts excited, inspired, and terrified—even if you are not exactly sure what your Next Big Challenge will be. I look forward to helping you, but let me be clear about something before you even finish this first page: there are ways to grow as a leader in

order to meet the Next Big Challenge (and I’m going to show them to you!), but they still require hard work.


Are you ready to put in the work? Are you ready to grow with tons of guidance and support? Are you ready to find, face, and embrace the Next Big Challenge with renewed perspective and courage?


Yes? Good. I’m ready, too—so let’s get started.

HOW TO READ THIS BOOK

1. To share what I know and help you obtain results before you even finish this book. Leadership has been my professional life for almost two decades. I’ve learned a lot, and I want to put it out into the world with the confidence that it will do some good.

2. If what you read in these pages resonates and you desire more help, I want to explore the possibility of you becoming a client in the Me1st Academy for Next Big Challenge leaders.

I want to help you create forward momentum and achieve clear results (for yourself, your team, and your organization) by taking the somewhat unusual approach of focusing on yourself. That is why I wrote this book, created the Me1st Academy, and coach Next Big

Challenge leaders.


To do these things, I have structured the book in this way:


First, we are going to consider what leadership looks like when you lead yourself first. Next, we are going to talk about what being a Next Big Challenge leader is like by taking a look at a few stories of actual leaders, the challenges they found themselves facing, and what they

did to keep moving forward. Then we are going to look at some of the biggest hurdles that Next Big Challenge leaders face (teaser: they are formidable but also predictable, and therefore overcome-able).


After that, we will nerd out on the science behind the Me1st Method; in other words, the research behind all of this stuff. And then we will look at the main attraction: the step-by-step Me1st Method of

developing Next Big Challenge leaders:

Motivate (finding and defining your Next Big Challenge)


Educate & Evaluate (developing your leadership

knowledge/skills and assessing your current situation)


1 thing at a time (not a step, really—just a little reminder)


Strategize (get your plan in place)


Test (experiment and embrace the Next Big Challenge)

We will look at why Next Big Challenge leaders need support (and the types of support you need). And finally, I will help you get started by walking you through the process of creating your Personal Leadership Purpose Statement. I’ll also guide you to create a Team Charter and an Organizational Change Manifesto. By the time you are finished with this book, you will have the tools you need to find, face, and embrace your Next Big Challenge by following the Me1st Method.


Before we go any further, I do want to make one thing clear: Me1st is exactly what it says:

me, first

But it’s not:


⚫ me, alone


⚫ me, to the exclusion of all others


⚫ me, and others’ interests be damned


⚫ me, Me, ME! ALL ABOUT ME!

We are not trying to create an army of narcissistic leaders here. Instead, what I want to do is to help you to define yourself so well as a leader that you can show up to any situation with your own sense of self intact. You can present your own best thinking and display emotional maturity, while remaining connected to others.

THIS BOOK IN A NUTSHELL

(AKA THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY)

The entirety of this book can be summed up in three points:


1. Finding, facing, and embracing the Next Big Challenge requires hard work for leaders


2. This work is best accomplished by following the Me1st Method


3. This work is easier and faster with support and guidance


Along the way, I hope you get to know me a bit better. You’ll see my nerdy professor side, my passion for developing leaders, and sometimes my dry sense of humor at its dad-joke best. I even cuss a little at times. But more than anything else, here’s what I want you to

know about me:


I’ve been a high achiever all of my life, with a real knack for being able to read people and adapt to them in a likable and affable way. These qualities have served me very well (and in many ways, continue to do so). But something was missing. I knew I wasn’t at my highest

potential. Until I learned that taking a Me1st approach is actually not selfish at all (in fact, as I’ll argue later in the book, I think it is actually the key to real service and love of others), I wasn’t able to face my own Next Big Challenge(s) and become what I believed I could be—as a professor, as a coach, as a business person, or as a dad, a husband, or a friend.


In different ways, I have seen this breakthrough story play out again and again in my work with my clients and students. You will meet some of them in Chapter 1.


So even if you stop reading right here (but please don’t!), I want you to walk away with this one idea:


Following the Me1st Method is the best way to find, face, and embrace the Next Big Challenge—to create forward momentum and clear results for yourself, your team, and your organization.


To help you do that, I’m putting my best thinking forward in this book. I try to use a variety of examples and ideas in the hopes that you see yourself in these pages. But this is a book, and therefore a one-way

conversation. If at any point you’d like to make it a two-way conversation, then the next step is to consider if the Me1st Academy might be a good fit for you. You can book an introductory call at any time right here:


Me1stMethod.com/call


As we say in my hometown of Pittsburgh: that’s it, Fort Pitt.


Happy reading!


Mike