Do you ever feel like you’re going through life in a superficial way?
When work brings so many tasks to fill up your to-do list, there’s little space for you to dig deep into your thoughts, feelings or dreams.
But starting a self-exploration routine and cultivating self-mastery can bring invaluable benefits to your leadership. Not only do you strengthen your self-esteem, but you also show up as authentic and human.
See, the fundamental rule of leadership is: if you want others to trust you, you need to trust yourself first. That’s why to starting a self-exploration routine can greatly help your leadership.
Aristotle said “knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”. Here are 10 ways to start a self-exploration routine.
Make a life audit
Managers often measure their lives on a scale of professional achievement.
Leaders start a self-exploration routine to engage in continuous life assessments.
Try the one from the book “Designing your life”. Take stock of your current situation in work, love, health and play (yes!). Draw a scale from 0 to “full” and rate.
What did you find? How do you think these results affect the way you lead others? What needs improvement?
Explore your values
It’s simple. What do you stand for? What makes you different from other people?
Your values are the guiding principles that drive the way you work. Better to make your values mean something so that you can stand by your convictions.
Living by their values sets great leaders apart from the crowd. And this is precisely the reason why they inspire others.
Journal your thoughts
Journaling is the easiest way to start a self-exploration routine. It can be a safe outlet for your most intimate frustrations. It can be a way to reflect and think deeply about your life intentions. And yes, journaling does make better leaders.
Journaling is a time to process emotions and internalise what happens in your life. It’s a gate-opener to change what you’re not happy with about yourself.
Set your vision / intention
If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know you’re walking in the right direction?
What are your drivers for your teamwork? What is the North Star that will guide you on your journey? It can be as simple as “Make people work together. Happily” (that’s mine btw).
Take a risk. Today.
And see what you learn from it. I’m not asking you to go skydiving (even if, according to Will Smith, you learn a massive life lesson — video here, it’s a must-see!)
You can start with a step as small as delegating a simple task(sending a team member to represent you at a meeting is my favourite one). You can be vulnerable and open up about something that worries you, asking your team if they share the feeling.
Part of a self-exploration routine is to challenge yourself and do it.
Then record what you learned from it.
And do it again tomorrow or next week.
Get yourself a personal development plan
If you *know* what you need to learn… the only remaining step is to plan for it!
People who write their personal development plans are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to achieve their goals.
So bookmark this post about how to achieve your self-development goals and get started!
Write your life movie
Could you describe the “you” you’ll be in a couple of years?
But if you were asked what your journey would look like on screen, that would take real dimension.
One playful way to start a self-exploration routine is to write the movie of your life. Will it be a drama? A thriller? A comedy? What is your own main character doing?
You get the point. The movie has to be entertaining and have a hero to make sense of the good and bad moments.
So what does your inner hero need to learn?
Identify your limiting beliefs
Because you probably don’t notice… but you project them everywhere.
When you don’t address your major limitations, you’re likely to develop a biased view and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. So replace limiting beliefs with enabling beliefs.
It takes honesty to start a self-exploration routine. What are the reasons you tell yourself to act or not to act? Where do they come from? Childhood? Teenage years? If your mental patterns come from your younger self, it might be time to assess if they’re still suitable for the adult you are.
No one has a monopoly on great ideas. Ever.
Leave your statements alone for a while and work with open questions instead. Can you make it a habit to hear others’ opinions? How does it enrich your knowledge, attitude or yourself generally? What impact does it have on collaboration and communication?
From a leadership standpoint, you saw me coming: give and ask for feedback.
Do a behaviour test
Yes, you think they’re cliché (and some really are).
Such results are handy when you need to assess if it’s the right time to play your hand. But what if it’s not?
Maybe it’s time to let others step in. A wise leader knows exactly the right moments to step in to make an impact. Get your insights sharpened!
Getting other people to follow you and inspire them is all about you being human, relatable, and confident to share your perspective on work and sometimes life!
There are simple ways to start a self-exploration routine and trigger inner change. But why not try something completely different?
Since last year, I have been teaching yoga to adults with disabilities. It’s been leadership training on steroids. And a massive lesson in empathy that drove me to reflect deeply on my values and attitude towards others.
There’s definitely one thing that can teach you more about yourself than any other training. So it’s time to go get it!