Woman Looking at Reflection

“Without self-reflection, how is it possible for one to know himself or herself? And if I don’t know myself, how can I lead myself? And if I cannot lead myself, how can I lead others?”

–Harry Kraemer, former CEO of Baxter International

When I think of leadership, both in our careers and in our personal lives, (parent, volunteer, sibling, spouse, etc.) I cannot separate it from awareness. In fact, from my perspective, you cannot lead your life effectively without it. Awareness, or consciousness, must be at the foundation of your leadership, and it begins with self-awareness.

So what does being self-aware look like? At Life Well LED we help individuals know themselves deeply and honor who they are at their core. Through assessments and coaching that reveal amazing discoveries you can SEE and FEEL who you are and how you interact with others in your world. You can define the foundational principals and values that guide you; the beliefs that support your emotions and actions (good and bad), and the unique combination of talents that only you have, and that with proper investment, become strengths that lead you effectively toward the whole-life success you desire. Conversely, you also can shed light on your default tendencies—those habits that can prevent you from achieving that sense of success and purpose that we all crave.

In some ways we understand these things about ourselves, but with the noise and stress of daily life we often operate unconsciously—just going through the motions with little intention, which often results in a lack of energy (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) to be able to get from point A to point B faster and easier…if at all (spinning our wheels endlessly!).

When we are highly aware we also pay attention to how we are perceived—how we operate through the lens of others. Are we as effective as we can be? Are we being the kind of leader that others need and expect of us? Are we others-focused, or are we only caring about ourselves and how we win?

Science and statistics show us the strong link between awareness and leadership. I cover a lot of this in my courses. I love being a scientist of human potential and connection! In fact, Emotional Intelligence (EI) experts, like Daniel Goleman, teach us how EI (EI = Awareness, Expression & Management/Controlling of Emotions) is far more necessary than IQ in powerful and effective leadership. IQ only takes you so far. You can’t build EI without awareness!

The path to being a highly-aware individual and leader is not easy, but it is so worth it! Through awareness you create meaningful connections… with you at your core, with those you work with and lead, with those closest to you, and with your and your team’s goals and mission.

In closing, to help you become more aware of your awareness (LOL!), try this very simple daily strategy:

  • Set your timer to go off every hour for one week. If this is too much, try it twice a day—one during lunchtime and once in the evening when you’re winding down from the day.
  • When your timer goes off, just take 5 minutes or less (no more than that) to create a short list that answers the following questions:
    • “What did I notice about myself in this hour/morning/afternoon?”
    • “What did I notice about others?”
    • “What did I notice about my environment?”

At first this may be really hard and you won’t come up with much. But as you get used to it, you will realize so much about yourself, others and your environment because you are paying closer attention. You’ll see things you never did before. You’ll have many “hmm’s?” and “aha’s!” You’ll also notice more ways to connect with others and the world around you. We don’t live alone in this world, right? We certainly can’t accomplish much on our own either!

I’d love to hear what you noticed! Please make sure to share below and keep the dialogue moving and growing! Feel free to comment on my Facebook page as well! 

Here’s wishing you a day of shock and awe! You’ll see both with this exercise.

For some more fun reading, here’s a great FastCompany article that details some of the benefits of being aware and mindful. Enjoy!

Wishing you a life well led,


Projecting Happiness

May 12, 2011

It occurred to me today just how easy it is to project onto others our disappointment and unhappiness as well as blame and guilt. The sad part is that I saw how quickly it can happen without the slightest pause; mostly unconsciously.

Today it almost happened to me with my children. Scary! Yet at the same time it wasn’t scary because I cherish these moments of awakening. On an almost daily basis I speak with others about living consciously and understanding the patterns that we continue to live with. There’s no question that we pass along beliefs, expectations and our own patterns to others, especially those we are close with. Yet, if we make a concerted effort to see our patterns– our default tendencies, then we can stop the past from reliving itself in the future, from generation to generation.

Yeah, I know, you want me to tell you what awful thing I almost did, right? Okay, I’ll spill the beans.

This morning wasn’t the smoothest “get out of the door and off to school” morning. My son’s pants didn’t fit right (and we couldn’t find any others!), my hair wasn’t doing its thing, my daughter refused to stop watching SpongeBob to brush her teeth, my bacon caught fire in the microwave, and then my son topped it off by turning on his X Box when we should have already arrived at school. We were super late!

As is certain, however, they were both mad at me for rushing them and being “mean.” I should have been laughing, really, but I was seething in that moment deep inside. To make things worst, they wouldn’t even look at me or speak to me in the car.  Seriously???

I’m laughing now as I replay the entire scene in my head as it is the kind of classic example that I would give in one of my workshops. I was so angry, and I also was feeling sorry for myself. “How could my children treat me this way; I didn’t do anything. Poor me!” Interestingly enough, I’ve had similar mornings where this kind of scenario wouldn’t have phased me at all. Thankfully, the advisor in me spoke loudly inside before I spoke out to my children, potentially projecting the following, “How dare you be mad at me! What did I do to you? I should be the one ignoring both of you! You were both mean to me! etc….”

Scary, right? Yet doesn’t this happen all the time? What if I hadn’t had the uber conscious moment to understand what I was about to do and say to them? My projection would have taught them that it’s better to blame and make others feel guilty and sad instead of just dealing with my own emotions and shifting to higher, more productive thoughts…thoughts that would help the reactive emotions subside, ultimately not affecting my children and others in their path that day (or mine for that matter!).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m human. I do project, probably more than I’m aware.  But what I know for sure is that being more conscious is a way of life; a way of life I am choosing to follow.  Challenging? Yes. But, worth the work.

I read this today which made me feel more secure in my desire to stop negative patterns from holding us back:

Your happiness does not depend on what others do, but only upon your own vibrational balance. And the happiness of others does not depend on you, but on their own vibrational balance, for the way anyone feels, in any moment, is only about their own mix of energies.

More on this concept of happiness and what we can both internalize and project onto others…

The greatest gift that you could ever give to another is your own happiness, for when you are in a state of joy or happiness or appreciation, you are fully connected to positive Source energy that is truly who you are. And when you are in that state of connection, anything or anyone that you are holding as your object of attention benefits from your attention.

What if you can’t choose happiness in that moment?

Well, then, do the next best thing:

  1. Be AWARE of your emotions
  2. ACCEPT them for what they are (Your own mix of energies!)
  3. CHOOSE to not project them onto anyone

When you feel ready to shift, tap into the happiness in the new moment, for each moment provides us with an opportunity to feel different and great.

What might you be projecting?

Stop the pattern.