Like a tree trunk, your inner leader gives you strength and guidance in how to stand tall in your whole self and spread the reach of your leadership. When we are in alignment with our values, life is lived with balance and authenticity.
"Living up to an image you have of yourself or that others have of you is inauthentic living."
The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
Why is this important?
Our behaviours and actions arise out of our values, so when our values are out of kilter with the organisation we work within, or the boss we work for, then it can feel like nothing we do is right. Everything starts to feel off balance. Instead of feeling in flow and at our best, we can start to feel tired at the thought of doing something, let alone actually doing it. Often when there is a clash of values, work feels draining instead of invigorating. We feel compromised. One coaching client used to talk about her fountains and drains; sometimes they were people, sometimes they were projects. The fountains would give her energy and renew her, whilst the drains would sap all that energy away and leave her feeling flat and tired.
It's not always possible in life to work with or for people who share your values and this is where the benefit of uncovering and knowing your Inner Leader helps you out. It helps you develop awareness of what is happening and how you are contributing towards the situation. It gives you the opportunity to experiment with new actions and create new patterns of behaviour. Add on a strong reflective practice and you can see how it is the dynamic you create between you and it's not just about you. The reality of life is that you can only change yourself. By having a strong and clear Inner leader, you can now evaluate what to do next. Either change yourself or leave the situation. Your Inner Leader gives you the tools to do bring the situation back within your scope of influence to shift the dynamic.
“Insights can be powerful, even exciting, but they do not necessarily lead to transformation.”
Immunity to Change, Kegan and Lahey
As the above quote suggests, knowing something about yourself in your brain is not a substitute for wanting something to change. This determination or will comes from lower in your body; it comes from your heart and your gut. You have to want something to be different in order to put your Inner Leader to work. I call this a Purposeful Intent. It's like looking over a range of mountains and knowing you want to cross them, but not knowing what's on the other side or what the path looks like to get there.
A continual 3 step spiral process to uncover and tap into the power of your Inner Leader:
Develop Awareness: determine your Purposeful Intent, know your core values and take stock
Action your Knowing: give yourself permission, be mindful and boldly experiment
Engage in Reflective Practice: create space to be still, listen deeply, discover diverse perspectives
"Our Inner Leader is a place of strength and clarity within us that guides our actions"
Living from a place of strength and clarity has substantial benefits to well being. It supports us in moving from helpless to curious "What is it about me in this situation/with others that is making me feel/think like this? This shift in thinking is generative, creating more energy rather than diminishing energy. It supports us to shift from stuck to action and towards effectiveness, productiveness and satisfaction. A state of forward movement anchored in one's inner wisdom is the momentum to realign with our values.
Felicity Hodkinson is Founder of Bend the River, and brings over 20 years of commercial experience in small and corporate businesses to her individual and group coaching transformational relationships. Kanchan Prinsloo is an executive coach and specialist in leadership development who engages her clients to achieve their personal best.
Uncover your Inner Leader 3hr taster experiential workshop was created in collaboration between Bend the River and Kanchan Prinsloo. For further details on this or individual coaching to uncover your Inner Leader, please email either Felicity Hodkinson or Kanchan Prinsloo.