Leadership is an endless unfolding and, if we choose it to be, an endless process of self-discovery and self-renewal.
Self-renewal is the choice, curiosity, and courage we bring to ensuring that our life is moving forward, with every age and life phase bringing us closer to becoming our authentic selves in the world. Becoming a leader demands that we take the time to probe the fearful and wonderful world within. That we identify our purpose and values beyond the self and stand for something.
Are you feeling stuck? Dull? Plateaued? Bored? Lacking purpose? Perhaps it’s time to take a few small steps to renew yourself. Lacking self-awareness and self-renewal, “empty suit” leaders often devote themselves to fitting in rather than standing out. They suffer from “inner kill” – the art of dying without knowing it or showing it.
By the time we reach our twenties, our family, friends, school, and society in general have framed our story of how to be. But we begin to “become” leaders at the moment when we decide for ourselves how to be. We must separate who we are becoming from who the world thinks we are and wants us to be. Otherwise, by midlife many of us will become accomplished fugitives from ourselves.
John Gardner, author of the classic book “Self-Renewal” captured the essence of renewal with his challenge: “Don’t set out in life to be an interesting person; set out to be an interested person.”
Gardner’s book covers decades worth of reflection and shows how many leaders overcame odds, at any age or stage of their lives, by embracing the changes within themselves needed to affect change in the world.
To paraphrase the bumper sticker – “stuff happens” -. We cannot avoid the stuff of life, but we can change the way we respond to it.
We all know leaders who have become burned out or are rusting out. And, we know leaders who remain on purpose and fully engaged. So, what makes the difference? How can we cultivate the self-renewal practices to stay engaged?
Here are ten powerful ways to renew yourself.
Richard, known to his 1 million readers as “The Purpose Coach”, has written ten books, including three bestsellers – THE POWER OF PURPOSE, REPACKING YOUR BAGS, and LIFE REIMAGINED. He writes about unlocking the power of purpose at richardleider.com.