Choosing self-leadership is a bit like rearranging the furniture.
How often do you rearrange the furniture in your home or office? When we do, the space often seems lighter or more open because we see the space differently.
As a teacher, I rearranged the classroom every term. I needed to see the children I taught in different groups, to see them in different ways.
Rearranging the furniture in our lives works the same way.
Reframe for self-leadership
We all have life events, life stories, that impact the decisions we make and the way we look at our careers. Some life events influence more than others and so play a greater role in our lives.
One of my most significant life stories was my 28-year marriage, a marriage I ended because I could no longer stay. It took me a few years to realise that my ex-husband’s passive-aggressive way of relating was really a form of emotional abuse.
However, I felt I had failed because I’d left the marriage. I’d tried so hard. I’d invested huge amounts of mental and emotional energy on “getting things right” because, If I could do that, then the marriage would work. Right?
The success of any relationship – business, career or personal – depends on the input of both people. It wouldn’t have mattered how hard I worked, or how long I worked, the marriage was not going to succeed because I was the only one working on it. Cognitively, know the truth of this, but from time to time I still feel like I failed at the one thing that was most important to me.
I remember so clearly the day a psychologist congratulated me on having had a 28-year marriage. Where I could only see failure, she saw huge success in maintaining a relationship for that length of time. She helped me rearrange the emotional and mental furniture around my marriage.
Rearrange how we see life
When we rearrange the furniture in our lives, when we look at our life events and determine to change the stories that we tell ourselves about our worthiness, our ability to succeed, our desirability as a partner, or any other thing that is important to us, we are not immune from wanting to change the furniture back to the way it was before.
Just like I occasionally feel that I will never succeed at anything because my marriage didn’t succeed the way I wanted it to, we can fall back into the default ways of thinking and looking at life…IF WE CHOOSE TO!
Realising that I get to choose how I look at my life stories, understanding that every day I get the opportunity to rearrange the furniture however I choose, is hugely freeing.
As a leader, I am first and foremost responsible for myself and to myself. I can choose to self-sabotage by allowing the default ways of thinking to influence how I see my life in 2019. I can also choose to shift that furniture around and look at my life stories in new ways.
Self-leadership is a choice
I can choose to see the success of holding together a marriage for 28 years. And I can choose to see the safe warm family I created for my sons which two have gone on to emulate and exceed in their own families. I can choose to have pride in what I did in saving myself from an abusive relationship. Or I can choose to see my life and business ventures as doomed to fail because my marriage did not work out as I hoped it would.
The art of self-leadership is being able to connect the dots between life events and what is happening today, right now. It is being able to see the patterns of behaving and thinking that may be unhelpful and then choosing a different path. Self-leadership comes down to choosing, often daily, the stories out of which we live.
If you are a woman who leads, who wants to explore ways you can lead yourself, and others you’re your peak potential, I’d be honoured to facilitate that. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self-leadership is a choice we all can make.