One of the biggest things I coach folks on is around relationship dynamics, often at work, but also more generally.
As humans, we have a tendency to elevate those in important roles in our life as being something ‘more than’ us, we also elevate our expectations of them to match that pedestal.
For a long time I was right there with you, a new ‘leader’ would come in, I would expect them to be supportive and for them to champion me as I grew. And so often, at best that expectation led to disappointment, at worst, that expectation saw me choose to be in an abusive relationship for 12 years.
So who is at fault here? Me or them?
For a long time, I thought it was them. I would work alongside them, hoping the magic dust of leadership (good or bad) would rub off on me.
It never did.
The truth is, my expectations of them was all wrong. It was me that needed to become the leader that I was seeking.
Why do we want to be led?
- Because we are afraid
- Because we perhaps got a little stuck in childhood and are looking for someone to become the parent that we didn’t have
- Because adulting is hard and it’s easier to have someone else do it
You see, you don’t need another leader, or to be controlled by another partner or friend. You need to sit firmly in the driving seat of your life, and start to make your own choices.
- Self leadership is learning to trust your instincts
- Self leadership is taking the time to figure out who you are and why you are
- Self leadership is embracing imperfection
- Self leadership is knowing how to access the things that you need, at the time that you need them
What happens when we lead ourselves?
I cried when I got my wedding pictures back recently. It was an emotional moment for two reasons, firstly because I was marrying a man beyond my wildest dreams. But secondly, I looked at those photographs and I saw that I had become a woman beyond my wildest dreams
Ruth at 20, 25, 30, even 35 wouldn’t have imagined Ruth at 42. She therefore didn’t set goals that led me in this direction, but what she did do was gradually start to lead herself. She set boundaries. She learnt who she was. She learnt who she wasn’t. She learnt how to love and accept herself.
That self leadership saw her change her life many times over, build a career, start a business, find love with another human (that was actually love this time haha) and ultimately, move to America.
Our story isn’t about a knight in shining armour, arriving from America to rescue a woman in her 40’s. It’s of two people leading themselves, learning themselves and then choosing the right partner for their next chapter.
Big change starts with little change.
Having realised the magic of self leadership on my own, I make it my mission to support other humans to step into their power, and to become the leaders that they are seeking.
How do we step into our leadership energy?
By focusing on the most important relationship in your life, the one you have with you. You do that by figuring out how you can love and accept yourself, just as you are.
I want to be really clear that this is not about starting to live in toxic positivity and pretending everything okay when it isn’t. The ‘just as you are’ is the most important part. It is easy to love ourselves when we think we are doing well at something, but what about when we are not? Can we still love and accept ourselves then?
We are aiming for a true friendship with ourselves, where we can be our own cheerleader; a steady drumbeat of love, support and commitment.
Then it becomes much easier, given that we know how to be a good friend to others, we already understand the theory when it comes to applying it to ourselves.
For me that means things like:
- Being the person that helps you process life’s setbacks
- Being able to catch yourself in negative self talk
- Offering yourself support, knowing how to access the things that you need, at the time that you need them
If we can learn how to become our own best friend, we can then hopefully stride forth into self leadership in all aspects of our life. How can you be your own best friend today?