Recently, I was asked to deliver a keynote speech on self-leadership. The idea was that I should know myself and with an MA in leadership studies, I should know leadership…so talk about self-leadership! I considered this and there were a couple of ideas that swirled around in my mind about the topic. I thought about GradusOne, the book I wrote, leaving my position at SFU and ICBC and my realization was that I have chosen the path and made the decisions myself…self-leadership in practice. People often ask me how I have the confidence to pursue and am I ever fearful of the result. The answer is no.
With self-leadership, it is about being accountable to yourself on ‘your’ journey. I am responsible for the path I choose and the direction I go; however, how do I know that I am on the right path? Well, it is about having a level of confidence that any direction I choose is not going to be a wrong path as long as I learn. No matter which direction I have gone, I have always taken the time to use the steps to help me along the way and it helps to make the overall path more clear with each step. Actually, if you think about it, inaction (not taking the step because of fear) is the worse of two aspects. At least I am taking a step and as I go along, I keep collecting and gathering wisdom.
There are many voices along the way that will attempt to guide you but the caution is that if they are quick to provide answers, question whether it is the best advice. We also need to question if the insight is really the best option. What I do is to hear the advice, take the time to process it and then also find those who are familiar with the space that I am looking to venture in to. Voices are there but you have to make the decision on what is viable or not and to not let them sway you. There were more voices when I was starting out but with self leadership, people now come to you for the answers (I give them more questions) than to tell me what to do. You prove to the audience that you have the confidence to make your own decisions.
Self-leadership is also about understanding where you have come from…connecting the dots by looking back. It is by appreciating your journey, you can see where your foundation is and how it will guide you to where you need to go. You build a level of confidence and it becomes part of your DNA. It helps you to establish your goals. Reflection and appreciation are two important ingredients. Self-leadership is about setting your own rewards and then moving forward to accomplish. These are rarely financial but rather intrinsic rewards.
I think the easiest way to think about self-leadership is the following way: When I stop listening to the environment and people telling me what to do and I start doing, I am now embracing self-leadership. It is about you having the self confidence to move forward.
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