A new decade has dawned, and with it comes a feeling of inner knowing that things have to, and will, change. For quite some time, many of us have become aware that our current economic, business, social, cultural, and ecological situations need a drastic overhaul. There needs to be a shift in our thinking and behaviour so that we can x the problems we’re facing in our modern world. This all starts with inner leadership.

Our traditional way of thinking won’t be enough to meet the challenges that are upon us, and a change in perspective is urgently required. As much as you may think that the current chaos in the world is not yours to solve, or even beyond your control, you can make an impactful change in your working environment by starting to shift your leadership perspective and set your 2020 leadership goal to match this.

It doesn’t matter what leadership level you hold in your company, or perhaps you aren’t in a leadership position. You don’t need a title to create change. It’s a personal and conscious decision you make. By changing your workplace, you’ll start a positive ripple effect that touches your family, your health, your social networks, and your communities. If we all take a small step forward, the collective impact will filter through to the meta level of our economy, culture, environment, and society.

A New Decade, A New Beginning: The Age of Inner Leadership

As is customary, we start the year with reflections and the desire to bring our best into the world. We earmark personal and professional areas we want to change. We want to improve our health, better our wealth, spend quality time with loved ones, study some more, find time for our hobbies, climb the corporate ladder, expand our own business, and honour work-life balance. These are all important goals to focus on, but I’d encourage you to add in a new goal of raising your consciousness.

Strive towards your true self, full your potential, because that’s what motivates you and keeps you moving forward. As human beings, we want to self-actualise and become the best possible version of ourselves. To reach that goal, we have to raise our awareness and consciousness to a higher level.

By focusing on your professional and leadership competencies, you might have identified skills that you’d like to develop. These can range from soft skills such as emotional intelligence, conflict management, time management, or assertiveness, to hard skills like training in human resources. I invite you to include an area that might be new to you; something that entails growing your inner leadership.

Setting Your Inner Leadership Goals

If you’re wanting to improve and transform your leadership ability, then you’re going to need more than just soft and hard skills. You’ll need to develop your inner leadership, which means going inward and shifting your perspective.

Inner leadership is a courageous process which involves confronting yourself, and taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. Inner leadership means believing and accessing the best in yourself with love, compassion, sensitivity, and inspiration.

You need to be consciously aware of what’s happening in the physical and material world, and learn to not react to it. When you turn inwards, you’ll be able to see the interconnectedness and interdependence of people, situations, and events. In an outward approach, you can only see these things separately, and won’t understand the connection.

Going inwards requires ongoing practice, and, over time, previous limits and boundaries will disappear as you let go of fear and anxiety. Instead, you’ll gain in autonomy and confidence, and will be astonished at the learnings, opportunities, and possibilities that open up for you. Inner leadership is not a skill any leadership course will teach you. It’s a personal decision you make to take your leadership competency to an increased level.

How to Start Developing Your Inner Leadership

You might be wondering how you can develop your inner leadership. There is no shortcut here; you’ll need to practice it every day. Uplifting your consciousness means becoming aware of every situation that offers a change or a challenge. Welcome these opportunities so you can see them in an original and new way. Leave judgement and preconceived beliefs out. You’ll need to set aside some time to learn how not to be actively play the game, but to step off the pitch and watch it from the side-line. Become curious about what’s playing out in front of you, how you contribute to it, and what’s the opportunity for you. Take failures as valuable information to discover what didn’t work, and be open-minded to try another way. Also, it’s not about trying to understand the catalyst that gave rise to the situation, because it can be a situation, a thought, a feeling, or a reaction. Rather, see the interconnectedness of the situation. Don’t focus on “why did this happen?”, but rather on “what is the opportunity for change?”.

What opportunity does this situation allow for so that you can behave at your highest level?

Don’t be reactive and try to x the weakness; rather look for the strengths in the situation and raise them. Inner leadership is a mindset shift, and one that is possible for everyone. You can raise your level of consciousness with regular awareness and practice!

I’m aware that this article might appear a little heavy and intense for our first one of the year, but it’s time for us all to actively decide to be the change we’re yearning for.

Be bold and courageous, and take the first step forward. Don’t wait for others. Take charge and set yourself the goal of embracing your inner leadership.

I know that the philosophy of inner leadership may resonate with you, or it may not. It might be something you yearn for but are fearful of starting. You may question whether you can reach this level of raised consciousness, or anxious of what will happen if you fail. Rest assured, you cannot fail! Turning inwards is a new leadership mode that expands thinking and raises consciousness. Both are needed to address the current workplace and other world challenges we’re facing.

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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