What would I tell my younger self?
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Why is it when we leave school or university, we spend so much time and energy trying to be successful? Making our way up the career ladder?
I am not painting everyone with the same brush here, however we do spend our early careers trying to be successful. And there is nothing wrong with that.
However, if I could go back in time I would say to my younger self; yes if success is important to you, go for it. But why it is? What does it mean to you?
I would tell her to focus your energy and attention on getting to know who you truly are – as a leader and as an individual.
Yes life and leadership is a journey. However today when we work emerging leaders, their focus is the next big role, gaining more and more technical ability and the next big pay rise or even getting that fancy new car. I get it. Of course it is great to climb the career ladder, get that new car or a pay rise. In turn, learning more skills and tools are a must as well as having a career plan and strategy.
I think we need to spend more time early in our careers on self-awareness. It is the KEY. Knowing your strengths, values, triggers, passions, motivators, purpose, talents, styles – and building true awareness of who you are as a leader and person. What makes you different, what is important to you, what trips you up, your story, your preferences and vision.
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” C.G. Jung
The more you know about yourself (and believe me this changes over time too), the more you will understand others, what success means to you, what matters to you and why, what you really want, who you want on your tribe, how you can effectively interact and communicate with others and how you self regulate.
Yes we need skills and tools. We do; doctors, dentists, mechanics, engineers, retail attendants and cleaners etc.; however a leader’s greatness tool is knowing themselves. This is success to me. Success in how my talents and abilities as a leader can make a difference and how I can be significance to others. Cool hey?
I get it; and I know that all the leaders we have worked with; who have gone through the self-awareness journey with us either through our diagnostics, coaching, books or programs find the path confronting and enlightening.
I know this one thing for a fact; this self-awareness has changed their world, life and leadership. They have been truly successful because they opened themselves up to who they are as leaders, authentically who they are, owned it, worked on it, changed it and grown from it. This takes true vulnerability.
In turn, they have been the best they can be for those around them.
Whether it is success or self-awareness; the key to either is knowing what they mean to you and why? And enjoying the journey.
What are your thoughts?
Leadership is a journey.
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