Leadership Blog Series: Understanding “Self”

“You cannot lead others if you cannot lead yourself” – Coach D, Founder of Career Mom Community

In my first blog of the Leadership Blog Series, I defined self-leadership as the ability to push yourself towards achieving your personal goals and dreams.  I submit to you that individuals who lack consistency, discipline, and drive tend to not display self-leadership.  In today’s post, I will dive deeper into the concept of self- leadership and how to cultivate environments that will allow you to grow in your ability to lead yourself.

Think of it this way, if you are never offered a “leadership position” you still owe it to yourself to “lead a life worthy of your calling” Ephesians 4:1, NIV Bible.  We are all called to do something with the lives we have been given here on earth and for some we are called to do extraordinary things, to invent, influence, and leave a legacy here in the earth for generations to come.  A person’s ability to effectively lead themselves determines their ability to accomplish the purpose of their life.

Understanding “Self”

In order to lead, you must understand the basics- who, what, where, when, why. A person selected to step up and lead an organization typically has a firm understanding who they are leading, what the mission is, where they need to go, and why the organization exist, otherwise they would not have been selected to lead.

The same is true for us.  People who master self-leadership understand:

  • Who they are…
  • What they were called to do…
  • Where they are going…
  • When they are to move forward…
  • Why they have been entrusted with such a call…

Who Are You?

What skills do you demonstrate that set you apart from others?  We are all uniquely wired, and our strengths vary.  There are many ways for you to gain clarity about who you are.  I’m a huge fan of the CliftonStrengths assessment and the book “StrengthsFinder 2.0”. The assessment will tell you your top strengths. The book also goes into detail about each strength and how you can best leverage the uniqueness of the skill in life and in business.

Self-leadership requires an understanding of capabilities (the things we do well) and opportunities (the areas in which we need to improve). Effective life leaders leverage their skills to accomplish their goals.  

Emotional Management

Let’s discuss the elephant in the room, EMOTIONS…

Emotional management, simply put, is the ability to regulate and manage emotions. Effective leaders must maintain control of their emotions. Life happens and we can’t be so easily tossed and swayed by external circumstances.  Not to say that leaders should function as robots in crisis, but leaders should have the ability to bounce back with a level of resiliency.

Self-leadership Lived Out

Self-leadership lived out looks like:

A Mom who sets a goal to go back to nursing school and studies hard after the kids go to bed because she has a personal goal of making the Dean’s List.  She knows she was graced with empathy and is called to care for people after they experience abrupt trauma.  Knowing this, she pushes past being tired to implements routines and systems for her kids such as bedtimes, laundry schedules, etc., to ensure she has time to work towards this goal.

Someone who’s goal is to live a healthier lifestyle so they can model healthy habits to their family.  They stick to meal plans and avoids temptation.  They find alternative ways to cope with stress to avoid stress eating.  Consistency and persistence = success. As they accomplish weekly goals, they celebrate each victory as a milestone to accomplishing the overall goal.    

A person who shows grace after making a mistake.  They allow their shortcoming(s) to give them a better understanding of who they are and the areas in which they need to improve. They write their wrong(s) as best as possible and implement guardrails, so they won’t repeat their mistake.    

A Mom with an idea for a business who takes the time to research and determine how their skills align.  They spend time reflecting on their life’s experiences, education and passions before launching out.  She comes up with a strategy, plan of action, and a roadmap to get started.

A career mom who starts a new job under poor leaders.  She shows up to work eager to learn the skills needed to be successful on her own. She invests in herself and makes time for learning.  She does not gripe or complain but sees the situation as an opportunity to define her own paradigm of success! She grows into the SME (subject matter expert) and becomes the change agent the company needs.

These are just a few scenarios of self-leadership.  I’m sure you have your own examples and I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.  

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