The Continuing Practice of Self Leadership
Do people just wake up every single day as the captain of the ship, waiting to take charge, knowing exactly what to do, how to do it and most importantly having the driving force to execute…(immediately)?
I mean, sure...some days we’re full of a lot of drive, zing, follow-through, assertiveness and holy smokes...the ability to totally make a hard decision.
And other days...not so much.
Solopreneurs wear oh-so-many hats in their businesses and lives... we have to have an element of drive and skill. I mean this is how we're in business! It's how we drive revenue, create the things, hire, make decisions, take risks and help carry us into better leadership roles in life overall.
Actually, Dan Goleman, in his book Emotional Intelligence said: “Exceptional leaders distinguish themselves because of superior self-leadership.”
But sometimes we get stuck. Procrastinate. Get indecisive. Make a bad decision, or fail miserably at something. Do something we weren't supposed to do. *gasp*
Does that mean our self-leadership skills suck? Does that mean we just aren't cut out for this roller-coaster entrepreneurial life?
I do believe it’s quite the opposite...In fact, here is where they kick in.
What if we look at self leadership as a daily practice and not as a skill we either have or we don’t?
Not as a skill that one day we master because we need to really be the Master of the Self-Leadership Universe?
Something cultivated, intentional and always shifting.
In my daily yoga practice for example, I do some of the same poses every day. Every day! So reasonably, you would think I could nail these things every day. Not so. I get better every day, and most days I can hit those poses.
But some days I'm off.
My balance is not there or I simply am lacking strength. Although the practice grows, it takes some humility, self compassion and curiosity to say "hey...today this isn't working...I wonder why?"
Some days we will rock, and others we will roll.
I think this is a beautiful recipe for growth and improvement.
It’s the practice itself that keeps the momentum going and therefore our self-leadership skills get stronger.
Scott Jeffrey has a good list of 10 characteristics of Self-Leadership:
Inner faith (I would use the term intuition, personally).
When we consider self-leadership as an intentional daily practice, we can get curious and use some self-honesty to see where these skills are showing up...or lacking throughout the day. We can invest time to learn and grow skills, or lend compassion to them.
And just like yoga, or soccer or singing...you’re going to show up different every day. Maybe not vastly different, but we’re not always on our A-game. Let it be. Meet yourself where you’re at.
Designing a Self-Leadership Practice
My self leadership practice is a series of mini-practices, all of which I show up for daily and have added/removed from over several years. (And, BTW, if by chance I don’t consciously do this...there is a noticeable difference in how my day runs, my level of focus and overall productivity. I do thing we can reduce reactivity in our day-to-day with this practice).
Much is built into my morning routine, that is sacred. It consists of showing up for myself, creating discipline with healthy habits, and meditating to tap into my intuition. It also includes pro-actively planning my day.
Self compassion is a skill I’m consciously developing right now, as it’s likely one of my weaker areas. I can also challenge myself in ways to be assertive and to sharpen that saw.
By consciously practicing in these 10 areas daily, you will grow your self-leadership tool box and condition the muscles. So the good news is, you can grow your skills, if you feel that one or more are still a seedling.
When adversity or a bad day hits, it’s an even BETTER time to practice and use the skills you’ve cultivated over time.
Is self-leadership something that is an ongoing intention for you? What does that look like?
Brooke Simmons is the principal of Green Door, small business systems strategist, baby pilot/aviation nerd, yogi and nature lover. She loves mixing super practical systems strategy with a cup of common sense and a dash of mindset mastery. She works with clients by creating courses and programs to help them master their business and 1:1 strategy sessions. You can get in touch with her here.