"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." – Judy Garland
In this world we live in as leaders (and yes, I mean you), there is a huge drive to be the best. Do the best. Accomplish and achieve.
After all, if you're a do-gooder, that means doing good, and doing it well, right?
So, in order to do more good and be the best, we look to the experts. The gurus. The ones "further ahead" of us. The heroes, mentors and sages.
We look for best practices. Guidelines. Rules.
All good stuff.
But other people's best advice isn't necessarily the best answer for us.
Question the experts; trust yourself.
Even though I'm a coach for leaders & teams, I'm not the final expert on what people should do with their lives, careers or teams. My clients are.
When I tell this to new clients, it sometimes comes as a bit of a shock.
Why would on earth they work with me if I'm not going to give them "the" answer?
I'm an expert on a number of processes and tools to evoke and create new understanding, growth and change, but I'm not the final expert on anyone's ultimate path.
That doesn't mean I'm a blank slate: I've been around the planet awhile, and heck, I've got opinions.
But that's just it: they are opinions. Good ones, sure, but just my opinions.
In my experience, the most powerful, meaningful and long-lasting answers come from inside you: from the wise advisor that's within.
That's not to say you can't learn, be informed or inspired by others: of course. You'd be a fool not to seek out that wisdom.
But the real art of leadership starts when you can master the art of being you.
By being willing to look deeply to look for the truth within yourself, you will find answers that last beyond the latest self-help book, conference or internet guru.
If you're ready to dump the experts, try this:
1) Imagine that you actually do know something already. Get off the internet. Stop reading. As Rumi says,"There is a basket of fresh bread on your head, yet you go door to door asking for crusts." Imagine, just briefly, that all the answers were already in you already.
2) Get to know your inner knower. Think of a time when you did know what to do – in life, at home, or at work. Who is that part of you, the wise one within you? Where do you find that still, small voice inside that just "knows"? Get curious about it.
3) Mine your values. Along with your inner knower, you have an inner road map, called your values. Cool, huh? Uncovering and using this set of unique principles as guidelines can help you discern and navigate life and work with clarity.
4) Listen in. Every day, find some time in your day to tune into and listen in to that wise self. This could mean 15 minutes of quiet sitting before everyone else in your house gets up, talking a walk outside, a quiet time in the bath at the end of the day, etc. Try this for one week: make a non-negotiable listening date with yourself. See what you learn, and what happens.
In the Comments section below, it's your turn – give me some of your expertise, smarty pants!
– What helps you find meaningful answers to your biggest questions?
– How do you tune into your inner wisdom?
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