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The bond between self-leadership and self-awareness

Are you struggling with self-awareness? Here are 4 easy tips to kickstart your transformation journey

This article is also available in audio here: Village Conversations Podcast

Have you ever considered that successful leadership of others begins with mastering the art of leading the self? If you haven’t mastered self-leadership, this will certainly reflect on how you lead your teams at work, your family, etc. Self-leadership is a precursor to great leadership, which is characterised by leading individuals authentically and effectively.

But how do you do this? How do you navigate?

Self-leadership begins with self-awareness. Leading one-self efficiently requires a high level of self-awareness. Self-awareness empowers the one in a leadership role to lead themselves in a way that also positively influences others.


Positively influencing others requires transformation from the inside out.

Here are some tips on how you can begin this transformation:

#1. Look at your life objectively

Looking at your life through this lens will bring you to a place of truth, where you are not guided by your feelings but by factuality. Think of a time something went wrong in your life and instead of acknowledging your part in it, you felt justified in pointing a finger at the other person. This is hard but necessary. Looking at your life objectively means you’ll come face to face with parts of you which you wish to keep hidden. However, in the hidden parts of our lives lie our deepest yearnings for unconditional love and acceptance. But before we unlock this desired, unconditional love and acceptance from the world, we first have to grant it to ourselves. The journey always starts with us.

On the flip side, looking at life objectively also affords us the opportunity to acknowledge ourselves for how far we’ve come, the good that is happening in our lives, the challenges we’ve overcome and how much we actually have to be grateful for. The lens of objectivity empowers us to truly live life authentically, and allows us to step into a realm of abundantly experiencing the fullness of life, just as we were meant to.

#2: Be open to receiving feedback

We all love it when people rave about how great we are and we never really want to hear what may be perceived as “negative feedback”. But, who needs feedback that just strokes the ego but lacking in substance that leads to growth? Certainly not me. I would rather receive ALL feedback to support the transformative journey I am on.

When you embark on a transformation journey, you need to be open to receiving feedback. Just as in point one above, objective feedback can only help empower you as an individual. If you don’t know where to start, enlist the support of your friends, family and co-workers on this journey. Ask them to highlight your strengths and weaknesses, helpful and unhelpful habits, character traits, etc.

#3: Be a good listener

The digital landscape has imposed always-on behavioural tendencies. It is very rare that you find two people engrossed in a conversation without distractions from external forces, such as the inclination to respond to a text message when it comes through. We are all guilty of this, and unfortunately, as we do this, we also miss out on being good listeners.

Peter Drucker says: “the most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” Being a good listener requires the ability to hear. But how can we hear when we are distracted?

Communication doesn’t just relate to our interactions with others but interactions with ourselves too. What story do you keep telling yourself? What is prevalent in your internal dialogues? How are you distracting yourself from what you are feeling? When your body or intuition communicates with you, are you listening and heeding its cautions? Think and reflect on these questions to get clarity on how good your listening is.

Whether you are a parent, leader in an organisation, you need to listen in closely, with a firm focus on what is not being said. When in conversation with yourself or others, be on the lookout for cues presented in body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and energy shifts. Be daring enough to explore those. Get into the habit of having quiet times so that you can listen to yourself. Because of digitalisation, we live in an “always-on” world, with loads of noise around us. If we don’t take time out to listen in stillness, we miss opportunities of inner transformation. Quiet time allows us reflective moments which are vital to our self-awareness and subsequent growth. Try it some time.

#4: Keep a journal

The power contained in the art of journaling is unmatched. A journal helps to keep track of your thoughts, emotions, moments in time worth noting. Taking time to journal, most effective when coupled with quiet time, will really empower you to reflect on where you are and how you are feeling. Journaling serves as a visual representation of where your thoughts may be leading you, placing you in a powerful position of redirecting the route to where you really want to go or be.

Journaling is a supportive tool towards greater self-awareness as it helps you better understand your triggers. When you have a view of how you feel and where your feelings are leading you, which will be reflected in your journal, your triggers surface. When you are aware of your triggers, you are empowered to self-regulate, allowing you to lead in all aspects of life, with affluence.

From what I’ve highlighted, it is clear that effective self-leadership as an outcome of self-awareness requires vulnerability. Vulnerability breeds authenticity. So I urge you to be curious about who you are, your thoughts and why you think them. Be curious about how you are feeling and why you feel that way. To better self-lead, you need to be curious about YOU as a whole person not parts of you that look appealing. This curiosity will lead you to a place of greater self-awareness, necessary for your growth and towards living a more fulfilled, authentic life.

If you need coaching support on this journey, do reach out to me on via the link below. The first session is on me.

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