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Becoming Your Best Version: A Look Inside


Having coached over 150 owners, 1000's of team members, and now running my own business, I've come to understand the profound impact of self-awareness and the practice of taking a step back to gain clarity. Especially in the pursuit of personal and professional growth, which is why you're here.


For those of us who navigate the tumultuous waters of leadership, each day presents new challenges, emotions, and fires to extinguish. Unchecked frustrations, even those that last a few minutes, can quickly spread and create emotional waste for everyone in the vicinity.


"All that we are is the result of what we have thought" - Buddha

It's not just about driving your team towards success or ensuring client satisfaction; it's about preserving your own well-being and ensuring you can show up as your best self, not only in the boardroom but also at home with your family.


So what is self-awareness? Part of it is recognizing our own strengths and weaknesses, acknowledging our emotional responses, and understanding how they impact all our decision-making processes. We are all allowed to slip up to some some degree, but by regularly taking a step back and engaging in self-reflection, we can gain the clarity needed to make more intentional choices, rather than simply reacting to the chaos around us.


Moreover, as leaders, our emotional state has a ripple effect on our team and clients. When we are self-aware and in control of our emotions, we can lead with empathy and composure, fostering a more positive and productive work environment. This, in turn, leads to better outcomes for the organization as a whole. But it doesn't stop there; taking care of ourselves through self-awareness also ensures that we can be fully present for our families at home, striking a healthier work-life balance. In essence, it's not just about being the best leader; it's about being the best version of ourselves for all aspects of our lives.


This exploration delves into the profound significance of self-reflection, unearths real-world anecdotes, and offers simple strategies to ignite a journey of leadership metamorphosis.



The Art of Transformative Self-Reflection



#1 TIP: Scheduled Solitude: The Sanctuary of Introspection

The frenetic pace of modern leadership often leaves little room for introspection, leading to decisions devoid of a holistic perspective. Designating time for introspection is a critical investment in your leadership journey. Treat these moments with the same significance as your meetings with teams, and consider them appointments with your growth.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, practices quiet introspection before making significant decisions. This habit ensures his choices are guided by a deeper understanding.


Our Suggestion: Set aside at least 15-30 minutes daily or a longer block weekly for uninterrupted self-reflection. During this time, disconnect from emails, devices, and external distractions. Find a tranquil space where you can connect with your thoughts and dedicate time for solitary reflection. As important as meetings with your team are, so are appointments with yourself.



#2 TIP: Harvest Insights: Forging Wisdom from Challenges

Neglecting to extract wisdom from setbacks limits growth and stifles opportunities for innovation. Instead, view setbacks not as stumbling blocks, but as stepping stones toward growth. In place of dwelling on failures, extract valuable lessons from them. Likewise, celebrate your successes and harness their wisdom.


Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, often speaks about the pivotal role failures played in his journey. Each setback contributed to his eventual success.


Our Suggestion: Celebrate successes and mine lessons from every pivotal experience. Each experience holds a valuable nugget of wisdom. After a project concludes, gather your team for a "post-mortem," aka "glow and grow," aka "wins and stucks" discussion. Encourage open dialogue about successes and challenges, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.



#3 TIP: Holistic Vision: Weaving Decisions into the Grand Tapestry

Leaders who make decisions in isolation risk losing sight of the broader organizational strategy. As Cy Wakeman likes to say, your ego is not your amigo, and we cannot believe everything our minds tell us. Like pieces of a puzzle, decisions contribute to a larger narrative. Reflecting on decisions within the context of your overall mission and vision helps you align them with your strategic goals.


Our Suggestion: Reflect on decisions within the context of your organization's vision. Create a visual representation of your strategic goals and post them in several public areas. Use this as a reference point when evaluating decisions, ensuring they align with your long-term aspirations. Each choice should contribute to a larger narrative.



#4 TIP: Mindful Presence: Harnessing Mindfulness for Leadership Clarity

A lack of mindfulness hinders self-awareness, leading to reactive rather than proactive leadership. Practicing mindfulness cultivates self-awareness, which is pivotal for effective leadership. By being fully present in each moment, you can tackle challenges with clarity and intention.

Arianna Huffington, founder of Thrive Global, emphasizes the role of mindfulness in leadership. She integrates mindfulness into her routine to remain centered.


Our Suggestion: Embrace mindfulness practices to enhance self-awareness and engage with challenges from a place of clarity. Begin your day with a short mindfulness exercise. As you engage in tasks, practice being fully present in the moment, cultivating a habit of focused attention.



#5 TIP: Empathy Enrichment: Vulnerability as a Pathway to Deeper Connections

A lack of empathy stemming from a failure to recognize one's vulnerabilities can create barriers between leaders and their teams. Reflecting on your vulnerabilities fosters empathy and understanding. Recognizing your humanity opens the door for more meaningful connections with your team and colleagues.


If your employees are scared to come to you, even on occasion, it's because they don't see themselves as equals to you and might be holding back their true value in owning more hats. And more often than we like, common sense is not that common. Have you taken the time to teach, set expectations, and law down explicit standards?


Our Suggestion: Reflect on your vulnerabilities to foster empathy and strengthen connections within your team. Read literature on vulnerability in leadership. Brené Brown's book "Dare to Lead" offers insights into how embracing vulnerability can enhance leadership effectiveness.



Forging Leadership Transformation


In the symphony of leadership, self-reflection is the key to achieving harmony. By delving deeper into these strategies, you embark on a journey of growth that resonates beyond the confines of the boardroom. The transformation isn't just personal; it's a ripple effect that shapes the culture, innovation, and success of your organization.


Embrace self-reflection not as a mere exercise, but as a cornerstone of leadership excellence, and let it guide you toward becoming a beacon of inspiration and transformation for those you lead.


 

Maya Isharani
maya@levelupws.com

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