In a society that emphasises external leadership skills, it is often natural to overlook the importance of leading ourselves. Self-leadership on the other hand, promotes the ability to direct your thoughts and actions toward successfully reaching your goals and holding oneself to account during the process. In essence, it is the practice of knowing who we are, recognising the experiences we want, and purposefully directing ourselves towards them—what we do, why we do it, and how we achieve it.
Let's explore the pillars of self-leadership.
The first step to self-leadership is self-awareness—the ability to see ourselves clearly through introspection. This can be achieved by regularly practising mindfulness and self-reflection, providing clarity on our values, aspirations, strengths and weaknesses.
2. Goal Setting
This competency includes setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Breaking down larger aspirations into smaller, manageable steps helps to create a sense of progress and momentum.
3. Motivation & Resilience
Building resilience is part of the journey. Regardless of the situation, we have the power to choose how we respond and turn obstacles into opportunities for growth. Maintaining motivation in these circumstances is essential. We can do this by celebrating small victories and being kind to ourselves. By recognising and rewarding our progress, it boosts our motivation to keep going.
4. Time Management
An effective self-leadership involves managing time wisely. Making a daily or weekly schedule will help us stay focused and organised towards our goals. This entails sorting work into priority lists according to importance and cutting out unnecessary activities.
How do we start mastering self-leadership? Here are some simple and practical strategies:
1. Mindful Practices
Make mindfulness a part of your everyday activities. This can be achieved through more formal techniques such as meditation or informal practices such as mindful eating or cultivating being present in the moment.
2. Personal Development Plan
Create a plan that defines your values, motivations, and long-term objectives. This can act as a compass, ensuring your choices and actions are consistent with your overall vision.
3. Build a Support System
Surround yourself with uplifting and encouraging people. Talk about your goals and difficulties with trusted friends, family, or mentors who can offer support and direction. Constructive feedback may provide valuable insights and having someone to keep you accountable can also be a catalyst for personal and professional growth.
By being thankful for the things we often take for granted i.e. health, the basic necessities and family, and celebrating your accomplishments, no matter how small, a gratitude practice helps to foster a positive mindset and contribute to your overall well-being.
Self-leadership is an ongoing journey that not only enhances your personal and professional life but also inspires those around you to do the same. It's about leading from within and embracing self-awareness and a commitment to your personal growth. As 2023 comes to an end, remember to be kind to yourself in the way you would to a close friend or a family member.
If you would like to unlock your full potential today and would benefit from training in these areas, we are here to help.
The Open Mind Institute.
Xin Yi Ng (Michelle)
Research & Development Lead