As you may have noticed from our social media feeds a couple weeks ago, we were at the first-ever Leadercast Quinte West. Man, did we learn a heck of a lot! The theme of this year’s conference was self-leadership — the importance of finding your purpose and understanding your actions/behaviours in order to better lead others.
The incredible list of speakers at the conference ranged from astronauts to entrepreneurs, but you don’t need to be either to be an effective leader. Throughout this one-day conference, nine speakers plus a local panel revealed their struggles and triumphs with self-leadership. There was also a common thread woven through the presentations that effective leadership skills are essential for both professional and personal development.
While we learned a lot from the speakers, three overarching topics emerged from this year’s conference: self-care, purpose/honesty, and individual agency. As a young professional, these points resonated with me and provided some clarity in thinking about the direction of my personal and professional paths. I hope you can implement a thing or two from these leadership experts and feel empowered to become a leader who makes an impact in the Bay of Quinte and beyond.
Three Keys to Effective Self-Leadership:
The notion of self-care was touched on by a number of the speakers at the conference, though none quite as passionately as Michael Hyatt. He said that self-care “makes for a meaningful life outside of work, while contributing to success at work.” While wellness practices have permeated our private lives as a means of boosting personal health and happiness, they are often seen as irrelevant to our work lives.
Hyatt vehemently believes that self-care is integral to achieving balance across the work-life binary. He distilled it down to three main advantages:
- Self-care gives you energy. Productivity is less about managing your time and more about managing your energy, says Hyatt. Taking care of your body and mind will give you more energy so you can accomplish more in less time.
- Self-care gives you an edge. Sleep, exercise and fun are not indulgent but essential! They boost your confidence and ultimately lead to higher performance and creativity.
- Self-care gives you endurance. In order to achieve sustained, multidimensional success, you must consistently prioritize your own health and happiness.
PURPOSE & HONESTY
Jim Loehr opened his session with a quote from Mark Twain that perfectly encapsulated this particular theme:
“The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
Purpose and honesty go hand in hand in order to understand the importance of what you’re doing and why. Andy Stanley insists that you have to be brutally honest with yourself and ask the question, “Why am I doing this, really?” Stanley and Loehr’s sessions complemented each other well, offering thought-provoking ideas that made me pause and reflect.
Self-awareness was touched on by most, if not all, of the speakers throughout the day. Take some time to think about how you want to be remembered, what kind of impact you want to make. You will begin to understand what you value most and this will determine the direction and quality of your life.
Kat Cole, who went from serving at Hooters to climbing the corporate ranks, summed up this theme perfectly during her session: “I have permission to change, to evolve, learn and grow.” This sentiment was echoed by the panel of local speakers who agreed that to be a great leader you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to take chances and learn from your mistakes.
Andy Stanley talked about the role we play in determining our own path: “We face our greatest leadership challenge, every morning, in the mirror.” I’ll admit that I often let fear and anxiety get in my way! He emphatically pointed out that you will not be a leader worth following if you don’t lead yourself well. By understanding what is holding you back, you can reflect and course-correct if you don’t like the path that you’re on.
What do I do next?
I spent an hour last Saturday looking at my Leadercast notes, trying to organize them into a more actionable plan. Here are three tips I came up with to help you on your own journey!
- List a few self-care methods you would like to start. Write down how they will make you feel (eg. Relaxed! Replenished! Ready to take on the world!) and why doing them is important for your personal and work life.
- Ask yourself: ‘Why am I doing this, really?’ Think about how your everyday actions align with your true purpose.
- Write down what is holding you back from being a great leader (eg. Fear, self-doubt) and the actions you can take to evolve, learn and grow from these obstacles.
And finally: don’t miss out on this year’s Leadercast Women conference on October 12.