“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” ~ Lee Iacocca
In a world where challenges and difficult times are the norm, the need to lead yourself is more important than ever. We’re bombarded with information on what to do, how to do it and when to do it. We’re facing multiple pressures, juggling multiple roles. feeling overwhelmed, and unsure of where to turn for leadership that has our best interests at heart.
When you think of leadership, do you look outwards and wait for it to come from your government, business, family, friends or other influencers? The reality is that everyone has to cope with difficult times and they do so in their own way. They can give you guidance, but you’ll need to think for yourself and take intentional action to overcome challenges.
Being a leader doesn’t mean that you have a certain title. When you take the initiative to lead yourself effectively, you naturally become a leader and an example to others. You teach them how they can better lead themselves. You become the pillar for someone else who’s struggling to cope. The most effective leaders are often the people in our lives who “walk the talk”. They show us what true leadership means.
What does it mean to be a capable leader to yourself? The following suggestions can help you to build your personal leadership capacity and cope with adversity.
Pay attention to what’s happening around you. Be open to learning every single day. Aim to learn something new and useful, especially during difficult times. Strive to know more than you did the day before.
Build daily habits and routines that help you manage yourself better. Come up with ideas that help you to do things differently and take control, rather than doing the same frustrating things repeatedly. Look for mentors and free resources that can help you.
Learn to manage your emotions and reactions. Microaggression* has become a norm both online and offline. Many people find themselves in trouble because of outbursts and inappropriate behaviour toward others. When you manage your emotions and take accountability for your actions, you allow your adult self to take control. You ensure that you have a realistic view of every situation before you act. You can improve your self-awareness by tracking your daily thoughts and responses in a journal.
Focus on what’s important
Our lives are filled with distractions. News, information, gadgets, emails, noise, busyness…the list goes on. If you allow these distractions to penetrate every minute of your day, you’ll have no room to focus on what’s really important to you. Do you need more time to connect with your family and friends? Should you pause and reflect on your direction in life? Do you need more time alone to meditate and re-energise? Chances are that you can remove some distractions and make more time for the things that are important to you. It’s often the difficult times that give us a chance to get off the proverbial hamster wheel, take a step back and shift our focus.
The ability to lead oneself is an important part of overcoming adversity. When you’re equipped with the necessary personal leadership skills, you’ll find it easier to face and cope with today’s challenges.
* Microaggression: “a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional…” ~ Wikipedia