Self-leadership for spiritual growth and happiness

Self-leadership means you accept full responsibility for your life, your thoughts, your emotions and your actions. Self-leadership is about stepping out of blame and victimhood and stepping into ownership and empowerment.

by Patricia Raya — 

Most of us, in one capacity or another, have been involved with or taken a workshop on leadership development. Typically, participants are taught strategies for communication, team development, motivation, conflict resolution and vision planning. All of this is helpful; I have been teaching those strategies for 30 years.

However, there is a critical, absolutely essential aspect of leadership development that is usually left out — self-leadership! If you are thinking self-leadership applies only to people who lead teams of professionals, think again.

Self-leadership is for anyone who wants to take charge of their own destiny and create more happiness in their life. Self-leadership means you accept full responsibility for your life, your thoughts, your emotions and your actions. Self-leadership is about stepping out of blame and victimhood and stepping into ownership and empowerment.

Being the leader of your own life is essential for those seeking spiritual development, because the last thing that will help you grow is a dependency on a spiritual guru who claims to have your best interest in mind, but really wants only your obedience and your money.

How to be the leader of your own life

1. Know thyself — If you want to be in charge of your life and enjoy it a whole lot more, you cannot escape this one, because knowing yourself is where it all begins. You have to take the time to think for yourself, about who you are, what you are and what is important to you. Changing the mental tapes of family and culture takes time and effort.

Getting to know yourself is an ongoing process. An important step toward that includes examining your thoughts.

What triggers negative emotions for you? Are your thoughts, emotions and actions aligned with your values? Do you even know what your values are? What does integrity mean to you? Do you live your life with integrity? How do you know?

What drives you every day? Are those the things that you want to drive your life? Are you happy? Are you numb? Are you on an emotional rollercoaster? Are you honest with yourself or caught in self-deception?

2. What do you believe? — There are natural “laws” that play out in this universe. Do you know what they are? Do you distinguish between what you “hope” is true and what you “know” to be true for you? What do you believe? Are some beliefs unalterable and some beliefs relative? How do your beliefs and understanding of the laws of the universe translate into your conduct and attitude?

3. What is your guiding ideal or principle? — What is the one ideal or principle you use to help you live a purposeful existence physically, mentally and spiritually? Formulate your ideals and then go about activating them.

4. Identify your core need, your core values and your talents — We have a lot of daily needs, like clean clothes, nutritious food and clean drinking water. A core need is something you need to flourish spiritually as a human being. Core values are those ideas that are worth standing up for, such as compassion and honesty. And finally, what are your talents? What are you good at that brings joy to you and service to others?

5. Be patient — Patience is not a passive word. It is an activating force that allows us to align with our integrity and intention. Patience allows us time to think things through, to apply our knowledge into purposeful and healthy conduct. It is an active process. Learn to observe what is going on around you and notice what appear to be coincidences.

6. Detach — Do not seek only results. When you plant the seeds of a flower, do you run out the next day and expect a fully blooming plant? Of course not! You know that there are certain things you must do as the gardener, but you also realize that the rest is up to the laws of nature.

7. Get comfortable with the mysteries of life — As much as we try, we cannot know everything. With life comes a large measure of uncertainty and mystery. No one can change this; instead, learn to live in the present, not the past or future. Staying focused on the present helps us live more comfortably in the space of mystery and uncertainty.

 

Patricia Raya is a leadership coach and trainer. 602-787-9509 or www.patriciaraya.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 3, June/July 2006.

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