How Looking Inward Can Make You a Better Leader

Thinking: The talking of the soul with itself. ~ Plato

Knowing yourself is the first step to becoming an effective leader, business owner, and instructor. 

We can discover our Self through a continuous exploration with curiosity and empathy, understanding and innovation.

Philosophy of The Self: Ancient Knowledge of Introspection

Ancient Greek philosophers, Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle respectively reflected on the nature of the Self. The self reflection of wonder within. Those guys are the ones who set precedence in the mastery of self and explored the mystery two thousand years ago. We have studied it, through institutions like Philosophy, Spirituality and Religion, Psychology and the like. Simple meditation is an ancient practice which has helped us delve even deeper into ourselves.  

How well do you know your Self? When is the last time you got lost in the moment and enjoyed the beauty of raw emotion? 

It’s time to get to know yourself if you don’t already. Once you’ve gained simple awareness, you are ready. Try starting with big picture questions like, what motivates you?

Do you have a daily activity or practice for self reflection? Perhaps you already partake in simple mindfulness, or get deeper with meditation? Do you maybe say a nightly prayer? Or do you let loose and just dance? Maybe you experience a trance while taking a regular run through your neighborhood? There are many simple types of conscious self reflection.

If you already partake in these activities of self care, how do such methods make you feel? Are they useful to your mental well being? Are they habit formed? Do we do them out of obligation, like we feel we have to, rather than because we want to?

I challenge you to look within.  

    •    Start a daily journal
    •    Ask yourself meaningful questions 

Get yourself a journal. You can use any old notebook lying around the house if you want. Or maybe you want to get a mole-skin and a calligraphy pen to bring out your inner poet. The point is the content. Carry it with you throughout the next few weeks. Start jotting down how things, people, smells, places, sounds, experiences, affect you. Does it sway your mood? Do they make you react rather than respond? How so?  Begin to explore your reactions in this way. How often do you act based on second hand beliefs? How often do you cling to preconceived notions, without venturing outside of your comfort zone?  For example, I didn’t try Curry until I was in my twenties because my parents said that it was terrible. Turns out, I absolutely love it! 

Try asking yourself the following questions: 

Who am I? Truly, deeply, at my core. Not my role in society. Not what I do for a living.  
What is my passion? What gets my blood flowing?  Do I engage in it? Why/Why not?
What makes me excited about life? What triggers a genuine joyous experience? How?
In what ways do I present myself to the world? (posture, dress, voice, confidence). Why?
What do I feel I need in order to feel happy/content? Security or freedom? Why?

Perhaps we will never truly know ourselves at the deepest level. Perhaps that is the beautiful paradox and mystery of life; to have it not figured out, per se, but to be able to truly reflect on it as part of the journey and the experience. The idea is to constantly search and always check in with ourselves and yet to also remain curious. The point is to always aspire to be better in one form or another.

The better we understand our true self, the more we can offer other people.