Self-leadership: Where Do You Start Leading Yourself?

Discover the transformative power of daily actions and self-leadership with Matt Elliot, former professional Rugby League player and head coach. As the owner of The Change Room, a well-being business, Matt draws on his diverse background, education, and qualifications to bring you a best-in-the-market program. In this blog, he shares insights on transformative self-leadership across the physical, mental, emotional, human community, and spiritual aspects – a holistic approach that has changed countless lives. Learn from his expertise and take meaningful action in your leadership journey.

Quote by Matthew Elliott


Why is it important to be able to lead yourself?

Effective leaders lead by example. Self-leadership is about understanding yourself and taking responsibility for your actions. It involves recognising, understanding, and changing your inner thoughts to guide positive behavior consistently. Therefore, self-leadership is a crucial skill for achieving professional goals and being a good leader to others.

Developing self-leadership means going on a personal journey to enhance your leadership abilities. Self-leadership makes you proactive, disciplined, and an independent decision-maker, all essential for building credibility as a leader. Take a good look at these foundations of developing self-leadership—can you truly be great at anything without looking after these basic elements?


Foundation 1: Physical 

Self-leadership means recognising how you feel and improving yourself from the inside out. Your physical shape reflects your mental strength and discipline as a leader. Keep in mind that small changes in habits affect other parts of your life. For example, practicing deep breathing improves sleep and energy levels. This positive cycle benefits our minds by giving us more clarity and confidence. Food and nutrition is also a great way to start and will lead to improvements in all other areas. Ultimately, these small acts of self-leadership in terms of taking care of our body can help us enhance our overall wellbeing. When you feel better because you’re eating better or because you are exercising, more benefits follow suit. 


Have you read: The Change Room by Matty Elliot


Foundation 2: Emotional

Emotions have the biggest impact on all our behaviors. Every day, we experience various emotions, often intense, which can lead to fatigue from a constant adrenaline rush. If you’re frustrated, it’s a sign that something isn’t right and that you must pay attention. With self-awareness, understanding why you feel a certain way becomes clear, and you just need to figure out how to navigate through it. Ask yourself, how do you relax? You may not know the answer right away, but having a reliable way to unwind after a day of emotional ups and downs is essential for maintaining balance in your life. In this aspect, self-leadership means that you develop emotional resilience, especially when tasks become too overwhelming.


Foundation 3: Human Connection

Our relationships are valuable in developing self-leadership. Companionship, shared values, sense of purpose, and intimacy are just some of the connections we form that help us feel comfortable and secure in the company of others. Research in Blue Zones, where people live for over 100 years, consistently highlights the vital role of human connection in well-being and hormonal balance. As social beings, we flourish when we cultivate meaningful connections and share vulnerability with people we deeply care about. One valuable act of self-leadership in this area is actively seeking guidance from trusted mentors and coaches. These open dialogues allow you to learn more about yourself, as well. One effective way to enhance this skill is by practicing deep listening and approaching conversations with a mindset focused on learning about the other person’s experiences. 


Woman carrying coffee to work - Self-leadership


Foundation 4: Mental

Self-leadership is the ability to direct and influence your thoughts. With all the information available everywhere these days, constant mental stimulation can cause people to shut down, withdraw, or say things that don’t make sense. To combat excessive thinking, try simple practices like meditation, mindfulness, or activities like painting and journaling. Taking a short 5 to 10-minute break from stressful tasks is another strategy that works wonders for your productivity. Another effective strategy is to learn one new thing each day. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just something new. This daily learning helps create new pathways in your brain, breaking old habits and forming healthier ones. 


Have you read: Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson


Beginning Your Journey in Self-leadership

Having self-leadership skills helps enhance how you approach life. Instead of trying to change everything at once, pick one habit that makes sense to you. If you’re not feeling your best physically, mentally, or emotionally, ask for help from those who know better and those you trust. Approach them with questions like, “Can you help me with this? I value your opinion on how to improve.” With this feeling of security, it becomes easier to navigate through these changes.

Do you remember what they always say during the safety briefing on a plane? Put on your own mask before helping others. Extend this principle to every facet of your being – physical, mental, emotional, communal, and spiritual. Self-leadership is all about knowing how to balance these areas.

What are your key takeaways from this blog? Let us know in the comments, on YouTube, or via our socials.

For more insights into how to effectively lead yourself, you can listen to the full podcast episode of Self-leadership: Where Do You Start Leading Yourself?

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