How to lead yourself first : Brighten Project leadership development for wildly ambitious leaders

Lead Yourself First!

thought leadership Sep 10, 2023



When you start out as a leader, you're mostly thinking about leading and managing others right? You spend lots of time pondering questions like how can I coach my team? How can I get others to listen to me? How can I inspire others?

BUT listen ambitious legend -  here's the tea - without a strong foundation in self-leadership, you can just forget about leading others effectively. Leading others without leading yourself is like trying to build the second floor of a building without having the first floor built - you're building in mid air, and it's probably gonna collapse. 


What is Self-Leadership?

At its core, self-leadership is the profound understanding and guiding of oneself in both personal and professional life. It's not just about management skills or strategic thinking; it's about self-awareness, self-control, and the ability to motivate yourself under any circumstances.

Every great leader, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Indra Nooyi, had a profound grasp of self-leadership. Their clarity of vision, unyielding motivation, and resilience stemmed from a deeeeeeep understanding of their personal strengths, weaknesses, and convictions. As a new leader, you may not be shaping civil rights movements or helming multinational corporations, but the essence remains: to guide others, you first need to know and guide yourself.


Challenges New Leaders Face

Being new to leadership comes with its own set of challenges. There's the ever-looming imposter syndrome, resistance from seasoned team members, or the tightrope walk between assertiveness and empathy. Creating your self-leadership skills first become your rock solid foundation that helps you lead others, and stay grounded amongst all the other challenges that come your way. 

Self leadership looks like:

  • Self-awareness: Recognising and understanding our moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others. I know how I feel and why I feel that way.
  • Self-regulation: Handling disruptive impulses, controlling or redirecting them, and thinking before making decisions. I can manage my feelings and ensure my actions are effective.
  • Motivation: Being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement. I keep myself going in the right direction towards my dreams and goals.
  • Accountability: Taking responsibility for personal performance. My actions are within my control.
  • Continuous learning: Recognising the need to acquire new knowledge and skills and taking action to do so. I always have room to grow and improve.

Self leadership doesn't just impact you - the halo effect impacts all those around you too. Leading yourself with confidence, integrity, and vision creates a ripple effect. Your team members don't just follow your directives; they follow your example. Self-leadership fosters an environment of trust, respect, and shared ambition. The skills you hone through self-leadership aren't just for your own personal benefit. They are directly translatable to leading a team. By mastering self-awareness, for instance, you'll be better equipped to understand and empathise with team members, making you a more effective and compassionate leader. By being able to motivate yourself you can motivate others, by being resilient through challenges you create resilient teams and coach others to be resilient too.


Sounds good right? Here's some habits and actions to cultivate your self leadership:

  •  Self-reflection: Set aside time weekly or even daily to introspect on your actions and decisions.
  • Seek feedback: Regularly ask for input from those around you – be it peers, mentors, or team members.
  • Set personal goals: They shape your direction and give you milestones to aim for.
  • Prioritise self-care: A balanced leader is an effective leader. Avoid burnout, work reasonable hours, do fun sh*t for yourself like massages, adventures, holidays.  
  • Continuous learning: Whether it's reading, workshops, or mentorships, always seek to expand your horizon.



🪩 Reflect on Your Self-Leadership.

As you continue crushing your leadership journey, remember to turn the lens inward - peer into the mirror at yourself, your skills, your strengths, your opportunities. The strength, clarity, and guidance you find within yourself will be your most potent tools in leading others. As always - here's some reflection questions to help guide you

  • In what areas of self-leadership do you feel most confident, and where do you see room for improvement?
  • Can you recall a recent situation where self-awareness or self-regulation would have changed the outcome?
  • What motivates you the most, and how can you harness that motivation more effectively?
  • How often do you seek feedback, and how do you act upon it?
  • In what ways are you prioritising self-care and continuous learning in your current leadership role?


While understanding the concept of self-leadership is foundational, actually CREATING self leadership requires structured guidance, mentorship, and continuous learning. This is where the Epic Self Leadership Accelerator Leadership Program comes in - this program isn't just about teaching leadership; it's about instilling self-leadership.

Your career isn't just about climbing the ladder or making more money - it's also about creating a future for yourself that's packed full of clarity, purpose, and fulfillment. Transform your understanding of leadership from something you do to something you embody. Let the Accelerator Leadership Program be the catalyst for this transformation > ENROL OVER HERE


Because (inspired by the legendary words of Ru Paul) If you can't lead yourself, how're you gonna lead someone else?


Happy leading!




Want to hear from me again?

Sign up to Bright Ideas emails for piping hot inspiration and insights delivered to your inbox.

You're safe with me. I'll never spam you or sell your contact info.