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Personal Self-Leadership
Are You Self-Aware ?

Leading yourself well means that you hold yourself to a higher standard of accountability than others do. – John Maxwell

Leadership begins with leading oneself. All “great” leaders must address personal self-leadership

There is no doubt about it, leadership is an inside job. When you dive into looking at yourself to examine, reflect, and see how you align with your values or don’t, delve into limiting beliefs, and set a renewed course of action, you have begun the journey of leading within. Self-leaders look closely at long-held beliefs about themselves and dump those that hinder their progress and goals. It is crucial to know your strengths… As these are your super powers! 

Effective leaders master the C-suite competencies and responsibilities: setting strategic direction; communicating an inspiring mission; understanding financial data; planning and coordinating resources; and ensuring that processes, systems and people achieve results.


Most leadership development efforts focus on leadership competencies and responsibilities, but they do not cover the most essential core part of leadership, the ability to lead within.  Personal self-leadership consists of character traits like honesty, passion, vision, risk-taking, compassion, courage, authenticity, collaboration, self-awareness, humility, intuition and wisdom. This list covers the core “inner” essentials for authentic leadership training and development. 


The only way you will ever be free is when you decide you have had enough of living up to the standards other people force upon you through shame. Never wear their chains of judgment when they can’t break free of their own. – Shannon L. Adler

The results that we produce in the outer world are driven by our thoughts and motivators. The mental models we create for ourselves are based on our own experiences, limited or erroneous beliefs, and even fears. 

When we learn to change our thinking by developing self-awareness and taking responsibility, we are able to modify our behaviors and the results we achieve.

A fear of failure interferes with the ability to take risks. Waiting until you have enough data to assure certainty in today’s business world, may mean missing the boat. When you avoid risk and play it too safe, you fall victim to missed opportunities. 

Effective leaders weigh the risks and decide when to act, despite ambiguity and uncertainty. Their level of awareness allows them to master their inner and outer worlds.

You cannot master leadership without emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Personal self-leadership has more to do with character, courage and conviction than with technical competencies. It’s an ability to trust their internal “know-how” to act when situations are complex, volatile and ambiguous. This is the key to leadership and unlocking your potential.


There is always an inner game being played in your mind no matter what outer game you are playing. How aware you are of this game can make the difference between success and failure — Tim Gallwey, Creator of The Inner Game

In his books on the inner game, The Inner Game of Golf, The Inner Game of Tennis and The Inner Game of Work, Tim Gallwey introduces the idea of Self 1 and Self 2. These “selves” exist in everyone, whether we’re giving or receiving a message. 

Self 1 is the “big ego”: The know-it-all who:  

  • Is judgmental; concerned with winning, being right and showing off.
  • Doesn’t trust; acts from a place of insecurity and fear; always judging self and others, while focusing on being right and winning. 
  • Uses pressure and high standards to get the most out of self and others. 
  • Is critical and stressed because Self 1 doesn’t trust natural abilities.

Self 2 is the “wise one”: The real human being with inherent potential, including the ability to learn, grow and enjoy life.  Self 2 Individuals:

  • Are receptive and neutral.
  • Observe and listen without any preconceived ideas. 
  • Are relaxed, focused, and able to take in and use information. 
  • Trust themselves to make appropriate decisions; extend trust to others because they act from a place of security and safety.

Guess which Self interferes with high performance? In everything from sports and music to work and relationships, Self 1’s stress and anxiety prevent high-performance results. With worry and lost confidence, Self 1’s think about too many things at once, tighten up, and hit the ball into the net. That which is feared becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It’s a vicious cycle—one that the inner game urges us to circumvent. To break the cycle, involves nothing more than observing nonjudgmentally. Don’t change anything for a while. Just observe yourself talking, listening and doing. Become acutely aware of feelings and responses. Nothing more. Just watch and learn. 


Developing self-awareness makes you a better leader.  

To develop your personal self-leadership, keep these points in mind:

  • Professional leadership coaching provides a platform for learning inner leadership.
  • Self 1’s ego interferes with Self 2’s inherent wisdom.
  • Nonjudgmental awareness is restorative. 
  • Learning and performance goals will prepare you for the future’s increasing demands.

Personal self-leadership is the ability to lead ourselves and our relationships effectively. Leading others starts from leading within.  Through developing self-awareness, we learn about ourselves, our impact on others, and how to be more effective leaders. Entering into an open partnership with a leadership coach can assist you to tackle your fears and work through inner-conflict, help you become more effective by maximizing your strengths and capabilities, strike the balance between performing and learning, and implement change to reach your leadership potential!   

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