Find Your Inner Leader

by Steven Mundahl on August 29, 2013

True leadership begins when we take charge of our lives… financially, ethically, emotionally, in our relationships and in our daily practices. This isn’t easy to do for most of us have plenty of self-negativity hanging about. Think about these statements and see if any come close to home:

    •  I’m overweight and out of shape.
    •  I don’t make enough money and I owe too much.
    •  I don’t have the right education to reach my goals.
    •  I’m not having enough fun.
    •  I don’t have a daily spiritual practice that uplifts me.

I believe that leadership finds us when we have found our “inner leader” that person that can take charge, make internal changes in their life and move forward out of negative situations.

How can we show others the way of leadership if we can’t find our “inner leader?” This is why authentic leadership begins with us… today, right now.

In our book The Alchemy of Authentic Leadership, we walk through six “inner rooms” of our life that takes us on a personal journey of how we’re doing in those key areas. They include: finance, spirituality, education/career, leisure, relationships, and health.

The assessment simply asks, “How are you doing?” and you are asked to simply give yourself an honest rating and evaluation. No rocket science involved.

We are often pushing up against long held negative beliefs about ourselves that can “haunt” and trouble us for our whole lives. Sometimes these negative beliefs are imbedded within us in early childhood. Once we believe them, they take some effort and “healing” to set them aside and formulate healthier and more positive images of ourselves.

Some of these negative beliefs can run very deep. “I’m by nature unclean and sinful,” or “Money is the root of all evil,” or “I’m overweight because my parents were overweight.”

They come in all shapes and sizes and these negative as well as positive beliefs about ourselves shape who we are and therefore, the type of leader we will become.

Someone who lacks confidence in themselves will undoubtedly, lack confidence in others around them. Someone who is pessimistic about the future, will seek those who agree with their premises about the future. See the patterns?

Once we identify the nagging negative behavior, however, we can tag it and become aware of how it is triggered in our lives. Once we can see it, we can heal it.

Be the best leader you can be, but start with yourself first!

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Steven Mundahl

CEO at Goodwill Industies in Western MA
Steven Mundahl is president and CEO of Goodwill Industries in western Massachusetts. He teaches leadership and personal effectiveness in the graduate school of Baypath College.
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