[Employee Wellbeing, Mental Wellbeing, Personal Development]
As lockdown restrictions ease and we remain uncertain of what the future holds, there has never been a greater need for self-leadership.
We get so used to looking outside of ourselves for comfort and reassurance, so what happens when we have to navigate day to day life again, without our usual norms and comforts?
How can we move forward with confidence when there is so much uncertainty to navigate?
At Life Ladder, we exist to improve wellness, the name of our game is helping people increase their happiness and success. With this in mind, we want to step up and play our part.
We have written this article to provide self-leadership tips to equip people with mental resilience strategies.
Every leader needs a strategy and we are all a leader when it comes to our own life and our mind.
When outside circumstances are unfavorable, it’s essential to know how we can find strength from within.
There are ways to lead our thoughts rather than allowing our thoughts to lead us.
Here are 3 self-leadership tips you can use to be resilient in the face of uncertainty.
1. Focus and vision
It is a well-known fact that great leaders have vision. They can take their mind forwards into the future and they have the imagination to see what they haven’t yet seen. That’s how businesses grow, with imagination and creativity. Every invention was first in someone’s imagination.
Our mental wellbeing is significantly impacted by what we choose to focus on.
It’s most natural for us to focus on what we are experiencing right now. It takes more focus to create something we have not yet seen or experienced.
Great books start with a blank page, the world’s greatest paintings start with a blank canvas.
Success is generated from being able to look beyond the here and now and create in our minds a future.
Children do it exceptionally well don’t they?
I spoke to my Godson’s brother and sister last week; they are 5 and 6 years old.
They are completely relaxed about lockdown even though they are missing their friends. When I asked them how they were they said they were great because they were imagining their next birthday party and being dressed up as a prince and princess.
The pictures sound and feelings in their imagination easily and effortlessly took them out of their current experience and into a future beyond their current challenges. They were full of pure joy; you wouldn’t know we were in a global pandemic.
We all have the gift of imagination but how much do we use it?
It is what high performing athletes use to prepare for success.
Just as leadership requires strategic vision, self-leadership requires imagination.
What you focus on influences how you think and feel.
Research suggests we have 50-70,000 thoughts per day, directing this much energy towards negative circumstances weighs heavy and can feel like a real strain and a cycle you can’t get out of.
The good news is, you can get out of the cycle, if you’re willing to make a commitment to leading your mind in a different direction.
How to ignite your imagination:
Ask yourself questions, it opens the mind. Then allow your imagination to get going. Here are some examples:
If I could fast forward in my life, a year down the line and I could create anything I want, what would I see, hear, and feel around me? What would I be doing? Where would I be?
Remember the ‘in a world of no limits’ approach. It takes you outside of logic.
Albert Einstein said,
“Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere.”
2. Tap into inner strength and resources
Although we’re all facing unprecedented times which seems to be beyond us. The truth is our power is beyond us.
Science is still exploring the power of the human mind and many aspects of our miracle selves remains a mystery.
At one time or another, we have all achieved something or got through something that seems beyond our capability at the time, can you relate to any?
What have you achieved or made it through that you didn’t know you had the strength or capability for?
There are many examples of unexpected outcomes happening against the odds, I have experienced several myself.
My earliest and most fun memory of this was when I was told I needed glasses when I was young and after being bullied at school and finding the courage to stand up to the bullies, I decided I had the power to conquer anything. So I remember as a young girl looking at the optician saying ‘No, I don’t want to wear glasses anymore.’
He said he couldn’t see how my eyesight would improve enough to be without glasses and it would depend on the test.
I told myself ‘I will not wear glasses and I am going to show him I don’t need glasses.’
Back then I imagined myself a superhero with superpowers and I could change the outcome. I can’t remember how old I was, but I remember the feeling very clearly, the fire in my belly.
I didn’t do anything other than put my mind towards what I wanted and made a contract with myself that I would make it happen no matter what. I believed I had the superpowers to do it.
So I had the imagination, I made a decision and I had the belief (3 steps of our Life Ladder Seven Step Approach).
When I went back to be tested, the room was silent as they waited for me to say the words I saw, I didn’t know if I was saying them right but I was still in the mindset of being a superhero.
At the end, the optician said, “Natalie, I don’t know how this has happened, but your eyes seem perfectly capable without glasses.”
I felt so thrilled to get my way when everyone told me I had to accept I should wear glasses.
Throughout my life there have been many examples of defying logic and digging deep for something inside me I didn’t know I had.
We have all achieved something we didn’t know we could do, even if we have forgotten it.
Grab a pen and paper and answer the following questions:
- What have I accomplished in my life, however big or small that I didn’t think I could do at the time?
- When I have found something within myself that I didn’t know I had?
- When have I done something against the odds?
- Who do I know who has accomplished something they didn’t know they had the strength for?
- Who do I know in the world who accomplished things against the odds?
Why is this important?
Because we are all faced with circumstances requiring us to dig deep for flexibility, strength, resilience, courage.
Your memories contain resources and learnings from how you have got through the unknown before, so accessing these memories is reassurance and clarity for the mind. Even though it may have been on a smaller scale, you have been through uncertainty before, you have defied the odds at one time or another and we can all do it again when we know how to access the power and potential of our minds.
As we embrace new norms, let us embrace self-leadership and that we can not only get through the new norms, we can thrive.
3. Provide for your needs with an inside-out approach
We may think we want to play sport, or go out with our friends, however what we are really pursuing is the feeling it gives us. The joy, the love, the fun, the freedom.
I love hugs and I would give anything for a hug with my family and friends, but I have been getting through this using other ways.
There is a framework in NLP called ‘Hierarchy of ideas’ is containing 3 questions which takes us up out of the specifics where we can find more general alignment and then find alternative specifics which still meet the same need.
I’ll explain. Here are the questions:
For what purpose? What’s the intention of that? What will that get for you?
So, as I consider hugs and I ask myself these questions, here are the outcomes:
For what purpose? Love.
What’s the intention of love? Connection.
What will that get for me? Joy.
So, if joy is fundamentally what you’re seeking, what are some other ways to find joy?
Now, I appreciate nothing replaces a hug with friends or family and this may sound weak in the face of the craving and longing to hold someone you love, but love comes from within. We can find ways to love ourselves and we can find other ways to find joy.
We may not have the joy in the usual ways, but there can be many ways to find joy if we look for it with a determination to find it.
I know someone who has developed an incredible passion for sewing during lockdown, she’s got the bug for it now and she didn’t realise she would find so much joy in it. She looked for it, embraced the possibility of finding new joy and she found it.
Our minds tend to show us what we’re looking for.
It’s why when you have been to a showroom and looked at a specific car, you suddenly see loads on the road.
During leadership training programmes I have run, I do an exercise to say you get what you look for, by asking the group to count how many things they can see in the room which are blue within 2 minutes, I then ask them how many things are red and they don’t know. Why? Because they found what they were looking for and deleted the rest because the subconscious mind does this for us to help make it easier to process information.
So, what you look for, you’ll find.
Look for what you can do, not what you can’t. What you are looking for you’ll find, and you’ll feel more freedom and strength to face the unknown.
Start celebrating moments of joy too, however small. Celebrate all you do have and all the comforts you can appreciate, it gives you good energy which you fuel you on throughout difficult times.
So, remember, you’re a leader. A leader of your mind and a leader of your life. You are capable of more than we comprehend.
If you’d like to discover more about how to unlock the power and potential of your mind, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial here.