Every leadership theory, class or book out there points back to the same core fundamental principle: that self-awareness is foundational and core to all successful and meaningful development as a leader.
But how to do this? For some of us, we might have been taught that focusing on ourselves is selfish, navel-gazing hooha. Or we might think: "I've got systems, groups and other big stuff to change out there – why would I want to focus first on me?"
Because you are the central figure in your own leadership agenda. Without being very clear about who you are, what you bring to the party, and what you are called to do, it is more difficult to successfully lead other people and initiatives. As you gain clarity and grounding within yourself, you will be more able to bring that clarity of purpose to your work and actions.
While we often want to see change – particularly own growth and development – happen quickly, I think about self-awareness and meaningful leadership development as a series of muscle building exercises: low weight, high repetition.
Through small repeated, persistent and consistent actions, we slowly gain the skills, tools and beliefs that support the vision of the leader we want to be, and the changes we wish to enact out in the world.
Or in other words: practice, practice, practice.
1) If there is a specific skill you are wanting to improve upon, make an "intention-acknowledgement sandwich."
It works like this: at the beginning of your day, write down your intention, such as: to reduce your stress response by taking a mindful breath before answering your phone; to meaningfully acknowledge three people; to take a risk by trusting and speaking from your intuitive hunches.
At the end of your day, acknowledge yourself: write down what you actually did, what happened as a result of your actions, and what you learned.
2) Be sure you've signed up in the box in the upper right hand corner to receive instant access to my e-workbook "Unfold Your Personal Road Map" for some great tools to clarify your leadership agenda and path.
In the comments below, I want to hear from you! Let me know:
1) What self-awareness muscles are you currently building as a leader?
2) What's one small, repeated action that would support your leadership development and self-awareness that you could try this week?