My fellow Lead Change Group author William Powell has written a brilliant eBook entitled, “Personal Ecology: Self Management and the Art of Cultivating Healthy Relationships.”
What William genuinely wants you to be able to do once you’ve read the book is beautifully laid out in his last sentence:
“Find Yourself, Be Yourself and Change the World.”
While some may find this goal to be “fluff,” I agree with William regarding its critical importance in leadership. You will not be fully confident in your leadership until you are sure about who you are at your core, what you stand for, and how you want to change your part of the world.
This is a journey I have been on myself these last few years, a journey to connect with my true self and what I most want to create in this next phase of my life. William wants this for each of us, and I’ve found many parallels between my travels and William’s key lessons.
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Four lessons from the eBook that resonated with me and I believe are critical:
1. As leaders, we must understand the importance of our “Belief System” and how it influences us
One, simple example of this is a relationship I had with a man who grew up with a belief system that told him avoiding conflict was a good thing. He believed his ability to date women for very long periods of time without experiencing conflict meant he excelled at relationships. I know through my experience it meant he never got to a level of depth, because when we open ourselves up completely there are destined to be chasms we discover between us and must maneuver.
Similarly, in a recent conversation with a wise friend about a challenge I was facing I remarked, “I know this is supposed to be painful.” Her response was, “That’s your belief system talking. It doesn’t have to be painful, it can feel freeing or any number of other feelings instead. Your choice.”
When we understand how our belief system influences us, we better understand how we inadvertently bring it our leadership roles, and what we must do to release belief systems that are holding us back from creating excellence.
2. Your actions and beliefs must be in agreement
William refers to this as “congruence.” It seems so obvious, but how often do we say we hold certain values yet find ourselves acting in ways contradictory to them? As a leader, your actions must be in alignment with your stated beliefs or people will be wary of following you. And you won’t be able to sleep well either.
As William eloquently summed, “This is a place of having inner peace with one’s self. Without congruence, a healthy personal ecology is not attainable.”
3. We must let go of our “baggage” to open ourselves up to new opportunities
Just as we hold onto belief systems that no longer serve us, we hold on to past experiences, negative energy and even grudges that keep us from being clear enough to recognize and welcome new opportunities. We have to put the baggage down…and then walk away from it.
Just as I shared my own eye-opening lesson in my post on forgiveness in leadership that once we forgive it is essential that we forget, it’s also essential to let go of the baggage so it no longer travels with us. This frees us to be fully clear about our vision forward.
4. There is great power in living your life without limits
This is something I believe I’ve always inherently known. But I only came to understand the true importance of this recently when I spent a lot of time with people who are not living from this mentality. Rather, they are living from a place of limited expectations.
As William explains, “Living out of a mentality of expansion (not greed) is true freedom.” I believe when you are able to live from this place, you begin to imagine how you can lead from this place!
As William goes on to reveal, “If you aren’t questioning the possibilities, you are limiting the quality and effectiveness of your confident self-expression.”
How will you let go of belief systems and baggage that no longer serves you, create congruence between your beliefs and your actions, live your life without limits, and bring all of this freedom to your leadership roles? If you’re not sure, William’s Personal Ecology eBook will guide you!
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