Leading is a verb. It is how we practice leadership in the moment, in any given moment. And each moment may require us to do the leading differently. However, the constant in all those different moments is us. So, it would be helpful if we were aware of how we lead ourselves, in leading now.
Leading self. Reflective practices are the necessary starting point for moving from unconscious/reactive leadership to conscious/creative leadership. Why is this so? Any reflective practice begins to insert a pause between our thinking and acting. The pause creates an opportunity to see that we have choices about what we feel, think, and ultimately decide to do. I first learned about this in high school when I volunteered to be hypnotized at a school assembly.
When I was in high school, I was so convinced I would be a physician, that I was already working as a certified orderly in healthcare. I was curious about the mind/body connection and was reading about biofeedback, amongst other things. Yes! I was a genuine “nerd” at the time. So, when the guy doing hypnosis for the school assembly offered volunteers a training on self-hypnosis, I was in.
Yes, there were some entertaining parts to the assembly, and those will have to wait for another time. What intrigued me was how we could learn to intentionally relax our bodies and minds in the process of self- hypnosis. I learned that I did not have to be held captive by what I was feeling or thinking. I now had a tool to shift my thoughts and actions. Now, many of my classmates were actively experimenting with mind/body altering substances – it was the 70’s! However, I could access this tool anytime I wanted, it was legal, and in unlimited supply for free. It was the beginning of my own mind/life altering journey.
One of the gifts of our time, is that consciousness and practices to develop our awareness have become mainstream through: contemplation, meditation, and mindfulness. All of these allow us to learn how to insert the pause into our lives that creates the space for making better choices. Leading self will always include a practice of self – awareness. What works best for you?