Self-Leadership: the Art of Achieving Your Dreams

Before leading others, we must have taken control of our lives. Orienting our thoughts, emotions and behaviors in balance and intelligence towards well-being and personal goals is the key to success.

Self-leadership is the art of intentionally influencing our thoughts and emotions. It involves directing all resources, motivation and internal energy towards an achievement. We are facing a competition that we can all develop, a tool of success that would allow us, above all, to feel good about ourselves in every circumstance.

Let's face it, when we hear the word leadership, we almost immediately visualize a figure inspiring a group to achieve specific goals. Leading is, above all, projecting influence from the inside out. Now, perhaps we forget that the first step should be to previously work on a good internal direction .

This term, that of self-leadership, is not exactly new. It first emerged in the 1980s from Charles Manz, a professor specializing in this area of human behavior at the University of Massachusetts. From here, it began to grow and consolidate with greater perspective thanks to trends such as emotional intelligence .

On the other hand, and although this concept is especially useful in the field of business and human resources, it is an exercise that directly reverts to psychological health. Leading ourselves is leading our destiny towards happiness. We are facing an area of personal growth that integrates exceptional dimensions for human well-being.

Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power”. -Lao Tse-

What does self-leadership consist of?

The concept of self-leadership emerged more than four decades ago for a very specific reason. When training or orienting a person towards leadership, one area was left aside, the most important of all. No person will be a good leader if they do not first deepen their self-knowledge , if they do not master the art of good emotional management and also if they are not able to guide their own behaviors towards the desired goals.

Neglecting these areas is synonymous with failure in the management of human groups. How to guide or inspire a series of people towards specific goals if you don't know how to manage yourself? Socrates already pointed out in his day that no one is a good teacher if he does not know himself first.  No one can influence others if he is unable to be a daily guide for his own inner being.

To this day, research on this type of self-influence continues to appear with increasing frequency . Works like the one carried out at the University of Arizona, for example, try to understand whether this dimension varies between cultures. On the other hand, books like S elf-Leadership: how to become a more successful, efficient, and effective leader from the inside out, by professors Andrew Bryant and Ana Kazan, give us the keys to achieve this.

Self-knowledge, know who I am

Benjamin Franklin pointed out that there are three extremely hard things: steel, a diamond, and knowing yourself. Indeed, few areas are as complicated as delving into one's own universe and knowing what it is made of. Something like this implies recognizing limitations and vulnerabilities. Also explore potentials, navigate your own needs and glimpse who we are and where we are going.

This is the authentic rosetta stone of self-leadership, knowing each other seamlessly and authentically.

Intention, what do I want?

What do you ask of life? What do you ask of yourself? Intention is above all projecting ourselves on a vital purpose and working on it. Without a why there will not be a why , without a reason, every effort is meaningless and people, remember, we need meanings to guide our illusions and energies towards any goal.

Self-awareness, what is happening inside me?

Self-awareness is an indispensable hinge for self-leadership. This dimension allows us to become aware of our relationship with the world, of how emotions affect mood and therefore decisions and behavior.

Working and exercising good self-awareness awakens that ability to look inside ourselves wisely to read, understand and regulate each process.

Self-efficacy: I know my worth and I can do it

Self- efficacy is a concept of high interest and importance that the psychologist Albert Bandura coined. It defines that perception that each of us have about our ability to do something correctly and effectively.

Self-leadership needs this dimension so that we become aware that, whatever happens, we have the resources to face it and solve it. Feeling capable of handling many of the challenges that we encounter gives us confidence, temperance and motivation.

Self-management: the disciplined mind

Ability to create habits, routines and proper time management to achieve daily goals. Competence in creative problem solving.

Knowing how to react to each situation autonomously without depending on others, without waiting for others to save us in each situation and circumstance. All these dimensions outline that area of great importance for self-leadership: self-management.

To conclude, this is a very valuable tool in which we should all invest time and effort. Let's think about it, because having a developed sense of who we are, what we can do and what we want allows us to harmonize emotions and behaviors to conquer dreams. How to resist?

"I am the master of my destiny, I am the captain of my soul." -William Ernest Henley-