Coaching is largely about empowering individuals to create changes and make improvements in different areas of their lives.
Empowering clients to lead themselves, particularly in the area of the mind, has a powerful effect in the coaching process.
What Is Leadership?
What is the first picture that comes to your mind when you think about “leadership”?
Here are some answers I’ve received:
- being led
- leading others
- a group of people following a leader
- a person leading others
For most people, these answers resemble their perception of a leader. If you operate in some type of leadership role, you primarily think of the leadership you have over those whom you lead.
Leadership, for the most part, is seen as a quality that is practiced externally. We see leadership as something someone does for others. However, leadership starts from within and then it extends outwards.
Everyone is a Leader
You may have never considered yourself to be a leader, especially if you are not involved in a position of leadership. You may be an assistant to your boss, so you only see him/her as a leader. You may even be an assistant to your boss’s assistant so you are even further down the chain.
Leadership is an influence and no one or nothing else has a greater influence on us than our own thoughts. They are the voice we listen to most. Their influence on us can be uplifting and encouraging, and at times devastating and disempowering. A thought can stifle our actions and ability to move forward.
Why Lead Yourself?
There are many good reasons for increasing the quality of personal leadership.
Consider several important facts about leading yourself:
- The most important person you will ever lead is YOU.
- Every part of you needs a leader: your mind, your emotions, and your will.
- You are leading yourself every waking moment of your life, regardless of any position or title you may hold, and regardless if you are aware of it or not.
- How effectively you lead or serve others depends on how effectively you lead YOU.
- Where you find yourself today reflects the quality of your personal leadership.
- The best gift you can give your spouse, children, clients, employer, co-workers, is a better YOU.
- A better you is achieved by effectively and constantly leading YOU.
What Is to Be Led?
Everyone leads and is led at some level. When we are led by someone we are simply taking orders and executing them with minimal resistance if any.
In a world that is filled with so many control and manipulation-thirsty individuals and systems, this could be a very vulnerable condition to be in. There are so many people and things that want to take control of you. Those who do not master the art of leading themselves are the ones who are easily persuaded by those external or internal sources that desire to control them.
A thought can lead you, and typically it will lead you to places you won’t enjoy and places you won’t want to stay for very long. A feeling can lead you to say or take an action which you may later regret.
Thoughts and emotions are two powerful forces that intrinsically attempt to lead us. When we are their followers we take their orders and simply march on.
You cannot afford for someone else to lead you all the time because you will never arrive at your desired destination. Instead, you will arrive where that someone or something else wants you to arrive.
Techniques to Lead Your Self
Let’s see how you rate your ability to lead yourself in this area:
- Your thoughts go where you don’t want them to go >> No leadership (the mind is leading)
- Your thoughts go where you allow them >> Poor leadership
- Your thoughts go where you lead them consistently >> Effective leadership
Leading Your Mind
The immature mind hops from one thing to another; the mature mind seeks to follow through. -Harry A. Overstreet
Your mind needs a leader. Who is leading your mind and where is it being led? Here are a few tips:
1. Take Charge of Your Thoughts
You can allow your mind to run wild and it can take you to dangerous places. One picture in your mind, if given enough attention, can make you change your plans. It can cause you to do something you never thought you would, i.e., drugs, alcohol, infidelity, or even murder.
Your thoughts are like children. If not led effectively, they can take control of your life. Your thoughts will have lots of fun with you but it will be messy and you won’t enjoy the cleanup!
When you are led by your thoughts you can see thoughts in front of you. When you take charge you can visualize yourself in front, with the thoughts following you.
You can take charge of your thoughts by positioning yourself as the leader of your mind. As a coach, I assist my clients in this area by creating a series of declarations whereby I install and officially declare them the leader of their mind. This is a fun and impacting experience!
I declare my clients leaders of their minds making a conscious commitment to themselves to lead their thoughts effectively.
2. Increase Awareness
Anything you become aware of you have the ability to control. Anything you are unaware of, or are blinded to, has the potential of controlling you.
Everything man has ever invented has undergone a two-step process. The first step is to see it with the mind and the second is its actual physical creation. The first process is where visualization takes place. One of the most powerful resources we have as humans is our ability to imagine, to think, to dream, to create, to invent. In order for us to unlock this resource and use this God-given capability, we need to have the awareness of how we lead our minds in this process.
There are two things you will need to increase awareness of: your thoughts and your ability to lead those thoughts. This knowledge empowers you to control your mind and dismantles feelings or beliefs of incapability and powerlessness.
3. Develop Consistency
Most of the battles you will face in life will take place in the field of your mind. If you win the battle of the mind, you will win the battle in life. One way to maintain the leadership of your thoughts is to continuously confront them. As you increase awareness of your thoughts, he/she you can confront them by asking:
- Where am I leading myself?
- Am I leading my thoughts, or are my thoughts leading me?
- What is the source of this thought?
- How true is this thought?
- What does this thought or feeling contribute to me?
When thoughts go uncontested our mind plays games with us because it has a green light, the permission to do what it wants. It seems some of the most absurd or obnoxious thoughts tend to infiltrate our minds at the worse times.
Confronting your thoughts on a consistent basis is as installing a traffic light on the highway of your mind. The free access thoughts had to your mind now has a filter that warns them or even stops them cold in their tracks.
4. Correct Your Focus
Whatever you focus on grows.
Correcting your focus is another effective technique to use as you improve the level of your personal leadership.
As you master the art of leadership of self, you become an empowered leader who guides your mind by correcting its focus and bringing it back on the path that advances you toward the goals you want to achieve or the future you want to create.
You can focus on a minuscule problem and after five minutes it has become the size of Mount Everest! Focusing on one small bad thing in life may lead you to one that is worse, to one that is impossible, to feeling distressed and despaired, or to feeling completely powerless to do anything about it.
You can change your state of mind by changing your focus. As your focus shifts, so do your feelings. You can shift your focus on one area of life that is working. This helps build momentum to achieve your goals and create changes in the other areas.
5. Use the Law of Displacement
A thought can hunt and torment you if you do not exercise control over it.
Light and darkness cannot co-exist in the same place at the same time. If you enter a dark room and you want it to be bright, you don’t put a blanket around the darkness, tie it up and carry it outside so that there will be light. Neither do you enter the room and start speaking to the darkness to leave. You simply turn on the light switch! When the light is turned on, darkness is automatically displaced.
Darkness cannot be cast out any more than a thought can. To stop thinking about a pink cow you would not say to yourself repeatedly, “I will stop thinking about a PINK COW!” The more you say this phrase the more you see the cow and the more the cow grows in front of your eyes!
To effectively lead your thoughts you can make use of the law of displacement. If there is a limiting thought constantly knocking at the door of your mind, the best way to take charge of it is by displacing it an empowering one that will create your desired feeling or focus.
Your mind needs an effective leader to accomplish this shift and to take charge. You are the best candidate for this role.
Here are several questions for you to take a sincere assessment of your personal leadership effectiveness:
- Are you a leader?
- Who is the most important person you will ever lead?
- If you are always taking orders from your mind and emotions, will you arrive where you want to?
- Where do you rank in the quality of leadership over your mind test?
- How can you benefit by becoming more effective in leading your thoughts?
- How can others benefit from you becoming more effective in leading your thoughts?
What are some things you’ve done to take charge of your life?