“Put your own oxygen mask first, before attempting to help those around you”.
A sentence you’ll have heard if you’ve ever taken a flight, and one that’s often used in the world of personal development.
It’s a wonderful metaphor for putting yourself first and is so logical, too!
When you take care of yourself and start to implement and build on good habits, it becomes easier to encourage, support and be a role model for others.
Of course, you know you best.
Leading yourself is about remembering that the journey of life involves continuing to get to know yourself better on the way!
In the meantime, here are 5 tips to help you lead your life:
1. How you do one thing is how you do everything
This often rings in my head first thing in the morning, like my inner alarm going off, reminding me to make my bed. And make it well.
A former colleague used to say “at least if you’ve made your bed, you’ve already achieved success today!”.
And if you do it right, you’re not only more likely to attend to the rest of your daily tasks with focus and attention…you’re also showing great self-care, recognising that you’re worthy of having an inviting bed to return to after a productive day.
This lesson can be brought forward with you during the day, as you show yourself respect when you realise you’re slumping and correct your posture, when you fuel yourself with healthy food and stay hydrated to help you thrive in all you do, when you catch a negative thought and re-frame it to something that makes you feel better or when you take any action that supports you!
2. Get routined
I was never a fan of routine, feeling it constrained me and held back my creativity. Then I discovered the power of The Morning Routine.
Once that bed has been made, carving out time for you is a priceless investment.
Whether it’s 30 minutes or an hour, it’s about filling those moments with activities that matter to you.
Taking this precious time for you in the silence of the early morning makes you feel like a winner.
You launch yourself into the day feeling great because you’ve already accomplished things that make you happy, things that move you closer to achieving your personal goals and dreams.
Your morning routine doesn’t have to be fixed, variety keeps it exciting and worth getting up for!
A balanced morning routine might include some movement, meditation, positive affirmations, gratitude, journaling, enjoying a nourishing breakfast.
For me, one of the keys to set me up each day is writing creatively for at least half an hour. I feel fulfilled, as no matter how many words I write, I’ve made some progress. The practice of expanding my imagination in this way makes me more focussed as I approach my other work and strengthens my problem-solving abilities.
3. Become more self-compassionate
In other words, don’t be so hard on yourself.
While it’s important to challenge yourself to be at your best, I’m sure you’ll agree that beating yourself up is draining and counter-productive.
We often think if we’re kind to ourselves we’re being lazy, yet think how much time and effort goes into feeling stressed out and worrying?
Why not feel good more of the time as you go about your work, follow your passions and spend time with loved ones?
Perhaps you’ve experienced a wonderful leader or mentor in your life. If not, imagine someone who’s always encouraged and inspired you.
Now be that person for yourself.
Think back to all that you’ve already achieved and overcome and how you can and will continue to do so throughout your life.
Remind yourself, don’t undermine yourself.
4. Put healthy boundaries in place
Being the leader of your life means prioritising and getting what you want to get done, done.
In order to make forward progress, there are some things you need to say no to.
What are these things?
I’m sure you know what they are, but some examples might be: scrolling on social media, bingeing on Netflix, saying yes to other things that distract you from your goals.
Making sure that your non-negotiables get done each week is a great way to show more compassion to yourself, too!
Feeling more fulfilled, knowing that you’re achieving on your way to further achievement makes you magnetic and a joy to be around, even in your own company!
5. Start or develop a self-coaching practice
How often do you listen to yourself and your needs?
Complete your own internal audit by having regular check-ins with yourself.
You can do this daily at regular intervals, asking yourself how you are feeling and what is making you feel like that.
With this information, you have greater awareness of what your needs are in that particular moment and identify if there is anything you can do to support yourself in feeling better, or simply take a minute to appreciate where you are at at that point in time.
You might also like do a more formal review once a week, reflecting on the following:
- What worked, what didn’t and why?
- What do I need to do more of?
- What do I need to do less of?
- What do I need to stop doing altogether and
- What do I need to start doing?
You can journal your thoughts down- a great way to track and measure your progress, as you have something tangible to look back on and can see how far you’ve come.
You may even like to give yourself in-depth performance reviews a couple of times a year to reflect, re-set and re-focus on your goals.
Having a self-coaching practice is a wonderful opportunity to get to know yourself better and get clarity on what matters to you.
When you are focussed on what you want, you are more likely to take actions to move you in the right direction!
Be a conscious leader, in all that you do!
As Wayne Dyer said,
“You can’t give away what you don’t have”.
Tapping into conscious leadership means that you are more aware of what you stand for as an individual.
Tuned in to both your strengths and areas for improvement, you are continually challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone while being mindful that you can only do your best in any given moment.
Having this understanding promotes authenticity in everything you do- a great antidote for imposter syndrome.
Creating positive change as a leader, in whatever capacity that may be, starts with YOU.
Getting to know yourself better, your struggles and challenges, reflecting on your story to date and all of the experiences you have soaked up already means that you can have greater empathy for others, a wonderful trait for a leader to have.
You understand that we all have our concerns and anxieties and that everything is relative to the person experiencing these things.
Likewise, just as we need to establish and maintain our boundaries, the more you practice this, the more you realise that others’ boundaries need to be respected too.
This connection to others, through better connecting with ourselves, is what creates true inner peace through acceptance.
And, when a leader has inner peace, think of the ripple effect this has on those around them.