Self-leadership Definition:
“the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and actions towards your objective/s”.
(Bryant and Kazan 2012).

A misconception is that once we master conflict, or our fears, we won’t feel any more of those negative emotions.

We will be “comfortable” with the confrontation, be courageous with a smile, and won’t feel tense or anger or unease.

Well, even the most seasoned conflict resolver still feels the full range of emotions related to that difficult conversation. They have just mastered how they manage those feelings.

And this is true also for those moments when we need more courage – like when we need to speak up or start something new or put our creation ‘out there’.

Those who have learnt fear management, are more likely to let their courage take over and hence they can take the brave action that is needed.

Self Leadership is this ability to master ourselves. When we can intentionally influence and direct our feelings, our thoughts and our behaviour, we are more likely to take the constructive actions we need towards what we want to achieve.

And this personal mastery does not mean that we don’t feel the unease or discomfort of a difficult moment.

It is more about us having developed the ability to be comfortable with the uncomfortableness of things, especially when they are in the process of being resolved, or we don’t know what the outcome will be.

Emotions are useful, especially the negative ones, as they get our attention and tell us that what is going on is important or dangerous and we need to show up fully to get through this.

So, a key aptitude we can foster in ourselves is to develop our capacity to be with not knowing and to be with the uncomfortable negative emotions.

The more we are comfortable with being uncomfortable in these discussions or moments that need us to be brave, the more the focus shifts off our distressing feelings, and onto the process of finding a win-win or a way forward.

Part of this self leadership is the capacity building to be able to differentiate between what is unhealthy and literally dangerous to us, versus what is just uncomfortable because there are emotions involved and a complexity in people’s understandings.

Our relationships, conversations and ability to add our value to the world is directly related to our ability to lead ourselves.

Q: So how are you leading yourself, and managing your emotions in order to [be brave] and [be you]?

[Hat tip to Andrew Bryant for introducing me to this definition.]