Inspiring You to Lead~Transform~Perform!

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The Inward Journey: How taking time to reflect will make you a more effective leader

Have you ever taken the time to get away from daily responsibilities and truly look at where you are in your life and where you want to be? I did just that over the last 48 hours in a cabin in the mountains by myself. I had been thinking of doing this towards the end of the year but I hadn’t decided exactly how I would go about it. Then I met Dr. Robert Lorber one of the authors of Who Are You and What Do You Want? He gave me a signed copy of his book which I was very grateful to receive. But the bigger gift came when I read the book and discovered the last section on taking a 2 day personal retreat! It outlined how to go about this by using the self -interrogation processes called Four Dimensional Thinking which is presented in the book.
The first afternoon of the retreat I jumped into the series of exercises outlined in Dr. Lorber’s book. It was practical and insightful and truly helped me to examine where I am at this point in my life and what I want going forward. I have been doing a lot of personal reflection over the past two years since transitioning from an executive to an entrepreneur so I am comfortable with this type of activity. Yet the exercises gave me a structure that I had not had in the past which made my time very productive as well as driving to a set of conclusions that are extremely useful, both personally and professionally.
To give you an example you start by listing all the roles that you have in your life. For me it was; mom, wife, author, speaker, business owner/entrepreneur, board member, triathlete, artist, etc… Then you narrow the list down to your top 4 roles and take a deeper look at your effectiveness in each. I really appreciated the broad life approach to this exercise. It wasn’t just your personal life or your business life, it was both. Too often we let one role dominate our life or we don’t take time to look at all aspects. This was a thorough look at who you are from top to bottom. There were other exercises that included reflecting on your strengths and where you could use improvement.
Eventually you end up with a list of areas you want to improve. Some could be personal goals and other professional. Again, I like the holistic approach to reviewing my life in total. This isn’t a corporate exercise where you are just examining work, you are looking at your life and making choices on how you want to change or improve going forward in order to have the best life possible. The authors, Robert Lorber and Mick Ukleja, both nationally respected leadership coaches, have discovered, ‘…once you define yourself and your needs, you gain clarity about your purpose, passions, and values and everything else in life falls into place.’ I completely agree with this and have been on a journey the last couple of years in aligning my life purpose and passions with how I spend my time each day.
How does this translate into improving your effectiveness as a leader? It is best stated in the forward of Who Are You and What Do You Want which is written by Ken Blanchard, ‘…I believe that effective leadership is really a transformational journey that includes self leadership, one-on-one leadership, team leadership and organizational leadership. Self leadership comes first, because effective leadership starts on the inside. Before you can hope to lead anyone else, you have to know yourself and what you need to be successful.’ This is so true and stated well by one of the guru’s of leadership himself! Not only is it a much more enjoyable life when you are leading from a place of purpose and passion, but the people you are leading will be inspired beyond measure. Certainly there are leaders who are not in tune with themselves and they can get by, but a leader who is aligned with their life and work is an unstoppable inspiration. The leader who is aligned and integrated with all aspects will drive their objectives with focus and purpose. Their organization will connect with this and be energized and empowered to get the intended results. These are the leaders that everyone wants to work for because they lead on a personal level relating to everyone on their path in a way that is authentic and powerful.
What will I do with this new found reflection? I am returning home with a set of goals that I will be using as my guide for the coming year for my businesses, fitness, health and home. I also have a list of areas I want to make improvements on relating to my personal effectiveness which I will be reviewing to make sure I am holding myself accountable. This is more than a ‘new year’s resolution’ which for me in the past has been more of general thoughts of things I should do. Now I have a plan for the coming year that has deep meaning to me.
I am so grateful that I was introduced to Dr. Lorber and that he gave me his book. I will be using this process every year as a way to continually look at my life and what is important to me. It has given structure to a very important activity which is creating the life I want.

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