Lead yourself first.
How many versions of the truth must be written before we finally honour it?
Ten years of working with CEOs taught me one thing about leadership. You’ve got to know who you are if you’re going to lead others.
All the leadership books we read. All the seminars we attend. All the development courses we take. All the quotes we share will teach us nothing if we’re not actively dealing with our own blind spots.
‘Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom,’ said Aristotle. I know that on some level you know that to be true. Yet we run away from it.
Why? Because it’s not easy.
It is much easier to pick up someone’s book, sign up for yet another course, listen to the latest podcast, anything but examine our own thoughts and feelings.
At some point, we accepted a limiting belief that there’s a secret society of people in-the-know, and then there are those who should kill themselves trying to catch up. You read the books. You go to pricey conferences. You implement the new advice of some ‘expert,’ and yet the same confusion lingers.
Great leaders (or those in-the-know) become great because they lead themselves first. They hold themselves accountable to be the best version of themselves. They do the inner work. They read the books, take the courses, they do absolutely everything, but above all, they don’t overlook themselves. That, is their secret.
They observe their thoughts, examine their beliefs, identify their values. They analyze their impact on others. They remove their blind spots. They gradually make the unconscious conscious to make better informed decisions.
They actively and courageously explore themselves first. Before they expect you to.
This is what great leaders do.
And you know what great leaders are? They are rare.
If you want to succeed, you must devote time and energy to self-knowledge.
Understanding yourself enough to understand how you are perceived by others, and make the necessary changes, is a turning point in leadership.
‘Know Thyself’ was carved into stone by the ancient Greeks at the entrance to Apollo’s temple at Delphi in 300-400 BC. It’s been expanded on by many sages, scholars and philosophers from Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and Descartes to name a few.
What’s important about me telling you this, is the date.
It is 2021. How many versions of the truth must be written before we finally honour it?
Do the inner work needed to become the type of leader you always wished you had.