How well do you lead yourself and others? What, you never thought of yourself as a leader? At minimum, we’re each responsible for creating our own lives as we desire. Our life and our daily results are determined by the choices we make. Our work lies in correlating what we experience with the pre-cursor thoughts, words and actions that lead to the particular outcomes. In order to lead anyone else effectively, we first must be effective at leading ourselves.
The ability to lead begins with self-awareness and self-love. Why is self-awareness so important? Recall a time when you simply felt as if you were going through the motions. It is important to note here that that is a normal part of the grieving process until we begin to emerge through the darkness. However, when there is a continual longing for something more in life, left unresolved, we are shirking our responsibility to ourselves. This behavior tends to lead to blaming and having life pass us by, instead of us being an active participant to create what we desire. A commitment to learning and stretching our comfort zones is the path to expanding self-awareness and practicing self-love.
When we’re without self-awareness, we. . .
- don’t know what we don’t know (or don’t care)
- defend what we believe to be true
- resist anything . . .
o other than what we are convinced is true
o we perceive as illogical
o we see as different and are unable to understand
- are unable to change since we first need to acknowledge aspects of ourselves in order to change
These responses are best evaluated based on the impact they have on results we produce and therefore experience, as opposed to rightness or wrongness, or good or bad. Honesty is crucial here, as many will claim to be content yet complain; an obvious contradiction. Others have convinced themselves that it is foolish to expect anything more in life. Both are a form of denial ultimately leaving us blind to ourselves.
Some common interferences (excuses) with moving forward . . .
- The need to be right – this is so ironic as we claim otherwise while being adamant about our point of view in situations
- “Do as I say, not as I do” – another philosophy we deny believing or practicing, yet often do things totally different than we suggest to others
- Finger pointing (blaming) – looking at what others could change instead of how we’re contributing to the issue and making adjustments
An example of how we can be impacted in a moment’s notice recently occurred in my life. After a very productive and rejuvenating weekend, fatigue struck me, seemingly out of nowhere. The issue for me was the hour versus the loss of energy. Though an awesome weekend, the proverbial thought “you need to do more” plagued me, and quite convincingly too. This consideration, coupled with the tasks before me for Monday, caused an inner struggle that quickly deteriorated my demeanor. Finally, recognizing my escalating misery and inability to function effectively; and in spite of the judgment and illogical conclusion of the hour and my tiredness; turning into bed was the best viable solution. Coercing myself to read before actually going to sleep was the exchange for making peace with the resolution. Oh, the hour? This started at 6:30pm and bed was around 6:45pm, after my ill-advised efforts to force a situation. How many of the issues without self-awareness and interferences from above did you note?
How many of you have read with a book lying on your chest and your eyes closed? That was my condition. At last, accepting that drifting off to sleep was moments away, a willingness to surrender unfolded. Although still without any logical explanation for what occurred, a good night’s sleep resulted. The next day was very successful, accomplishing more than perceived the night before in the fatigued state. The positive outcomes were due to the shift from an old ineffective tape, to yielding to the flow of reality. What adjustment can you make to create a beneficial impact in your life?
Besides the obvious, rest, exercise, eat well, and take care of yourself, what are some ways to practice self-love?
- Be honest with yourself (without berating yourself) where you need improving. You know when you’re deceiving yourself by how you feel inside and that eventually shows up in your behavior.
- Forgive yourself for anything that is done and unchangeable
- Correct any wrongdoing on your part, EVEN when the other person is unable or unwilling to admit their part, or you feel embarrassed, or you owe something. All these are less costly to you than the inner destruction of attempting to escape yourself.
- Admit, without excuses, when you make a mistake and resolve promptly
- Take continual and steady steps to improve yourself and the quality of your life, even if those around you choose otherwise
When you practice self-love and strive to improve your self-awareness, you are out of the starting gate for being a leader. Being a leader is an on-going choice. What one thing will you do to elevate yourself as a leader?