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Great Leaders Know Themselves to Grow Themselves

“I would rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.” - Robert H. Schuller. It’s no secret that successful people fail many times before achieving greatness. Their level of success was determined by their level of self-awareness. They assessed their failures without internalizing the negative emotions that come with them, and they addressed the flaws in their performance by making the necessary improvements. Hitting the Ball out of the Park New York Yankee switch hitting slugger Mickey Mantle, hammered 536 homeruns during his illustrative career. Yet, he struck out 1,710 times, and walked 1,733 times. Taking these stats together, Mantle literally came to bat 3,443 times without hitting the baseball. He averaged about 450 at bats a year in his eighteen seasons. If we placed his strikeouts and walks back to back, they would be the equivalent to coming up to bat for more than seven seasons without hitting the baseball! Mickey Mantle achieved greatness because he didn’t quit, he made the necessary adjustments to his performance and kept swinging! Leadership and Good Character Abraham Lincoln, one of our greatest Presidents, is an excellent example of a leader who struck out many times during his political career, but kept on swinging. He was a man of strong character, genuine honesty, and had a stubborn determination that would not quit. He was a man of integrity, trustworthy, and loyal to all he worked with. He possessed high moral values and demonstrated courage under fire. Lincoln was comfortable working with people whose political views differed from his own. “Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad.” - Debbie Ford Lincoln’s depth of character was tested in the fire of many failures and hardships. He lost numerous elections, failed in business, failed early on as a military leader, suffered the death of a fiancée, and a nervous breakdown. Lincoln developed self-awareness to a high degree that kept his emotions in check, while working through his setbacks. Leadership and Self-Awareness “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” - C.G. Jung We can learn much from Lincoln’s ability to intelligently assess his failures and hardships, and using what he discovered about himself for personal development. To recognize and honestly admit what we’re feeling about something or someone (good or bad), is invaluable. Connecting on a deeper level, enables us to empathize with those around us. Self-awareness develops and deepens character, bringing us to the reality, that even in our uniqueness, in many ways we’re just like everyone else. Being consciously aware of the realities within us, awakens us to the impact and influence our behavior and decisions have on others. Whether you’re the leader of a nation or a local social club, your moral values and guiding principles, are behind every decision you make. What You Don’t Know “Will” Hurt “Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.” Andre Malraux Leaders lacking self-awareness often limit themselves and sabotage their careers. Self-awareness allows us to see and experience ourselves as we are. Growth begins with understanding and addressing those weaknesses we see in ourselves. Because Good leaders practice self-awareness, they’re not threatened when questioned, possess a calm demeanor when settling disputes, and never take disagreements personal. They have a clear understanding of who they are and a laser like focus on their life’s purpose. To know yourself to grow yourself:

  • Be honest with yourself

  • Practice self-discipline

  • Manage your emotions

  • Build on your strengths - seek help with your weaknesses

  • Trust your instincts - focus on your purpose.

  • Set healthy relational boundaries

  • Recognize emotional hot buttons

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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