What does Leading Yourself really mean?

Leading: to guide in direction, course, action, opinion

Yourself: an empathic and appropriate positioning of you; used as an indication of one’s real, normal, or healthy identity or condition; suitable, well adapted, pertinent, relevant

When you are leading yourself, you are taking responsibility for your life, thoughts, behavior and results…for creating what you are. You are proactive and choose to shift your thoughts and actions from those that block you to those that increase your personal power. Unless you are able to Lead Yourself, your overall effectiveness is diminished.

The way you think and feel leads to choices and actions, which produce specific results. Those results then impact the way you think and feel.  For example, Jessie is a senior research scientist for a large biotech company. She has to sell her research ideas to her boss, who is very quick to judge, does not listen, and is quite dismissive.  Before she can take it to the next step, she needs his buy-in but always thinks her idea will be shot down. This thought is pervasive and causes her considerable stress before the meeting. She gets tense and tends to trip over her words when she tries to “sell” the idea, the result is as she predicted…no buy-in!

What we think and believe about organizations, ourselves, and other people colors how we act and react to every situation in our lives. Our thoughts and beliefs become screens or filters through which we view the world around us. Information is passed through this filtration system reinforcing our dominant thoughts and beliefs.  Until we become aware of this process and interrupt it with a conscious choice to be open to new ways of thinking and believing, we limit our ability to respond in fresh, creative ways to whatever we face.

When someone “pushes our buttons” or holds a belief structure different from our own, we tend to react with our habitual thought patterns which usually produce a negative reaction. A real challenge in Leading Yourself through Personal Power in tough situations is to recognize that empowerment can happen even with a single, small thought.  So try this…instead of walking into that meeting with the negative thought, make a conscious shift. What does that look like?  The thought would be “I am really looking forward to this meeting”. It’s amazing how a small shift in your thoughts, which only takes seconds to do, can impact your results positively.   Sound simple?  In theory it is, but it takes awareness in the moment to set the intention and put it into practice until it becomes a new and positive habit.