• Tony Richards

The Seven Sides of Self


Leaders determine the ceilings for themselves. They determine how high they will rise.

Consequently, organizations and businesses’ ceilings are also determined by the leaders who are in charge of them because they are determining they own ceilings, therefore the business’ eventual measure of success, or lack thereof, will be determined by the leaders’ barriers to success.

This is important for us to understand, as most leaders would like to be more successful. They would like to see the people they are leading become more successful. They would like to see the organizations they have either started, purchased or been trusted with, become more successful.

To gain an understanding of how to better accomplish this success, today I want to write about a leadership coaching model I call the Seven Sides of Self.

The Seven Sides of Self are based on key areas leaders need to examine and reflect upon for planning and growth.

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Looking at the upsides, downsides, behaviors and beliefs of a leader can empower them and escape the constraints which have previous held them and their businesses back.

1. Self-Discovery

Who are you? This is the first question on the list. Looking at the authentic you, uncovering what makes you tick. What behaviors are most natural to you? What energizes you? When you learn where you can win, you don’t mind losing everywhere else. This is why we developed the Personal Leadership Paradigm model, it’s the best self-discovery model I’ve been able to come up with to help leaders discover themselves.

2. Self-Evaluation

This is being brutally honest about your past performance. Taking full stock of all the events in your life, accepting your role in them and coming to the realization of where you are and why, so you can begin the journey toward where you would like to be with the results you would like to have. A strong self-evaluation reveals areas you need to strengthen and areas you need to avoid altogether in the future.

3. Self-Awareness

This is the moment-by-moment awareness of a couple of items. How you are currently behaving and why you are behaving that way? Why did you make that decision? Why did you react rather than respond?  Having that awareness gives you more control over the “old program tapes” you may be running on. Raising the level of your self-awareness may be one the the greatest tools in a leader’s personal transformation. When this is developed, a leader who has always automatically reacted in a fashion, can now respond in a different more productive way based on what the situation is calling for.

4. Self-Esteem

You build your self-esteem when you love and care about yourself. It’s not ego and it’s not prideful to care about yourself. Everything around a leader is a reflection of the relationship they have with themselves. Every relationship is a reflection of the relationship they have with themselves. The first step toward improving your self-esteem is accepting who you are and dedicate yourself to do what is necessary to improve your shortcomings. In leadership, you must believe in yourself in order to convince others to believe in you.

5. Self-Confidence

Once your self-esteem begins to turn around, you begin to put yourself in position to get some small wins in life and leadership. Winning big comes later, always start with little victories, this builds your self-confidence. When leaders begin to accept themselves for who they are, it’s the purest form of self-esteem and respect, an increase in self-confidence is automatic. Remember, everything in balance, self-confidence run amok can cause too much pride and ego, which can be a major team disrupter. Sometimes, leaders who have never had a win in their life all of a sudden start winning and start believing they are better than they are. This is a road to a downfall. Having a mentor or coach is important in leadership development to help avoid these kinds of pitfalls.

“I have never been contained except I made the prison”- Mary Evans

6. Self-Sabotage

The thoughts, feelings, decisions and actions in these next two sides of self are critical because they occur during real-time daily activity when leaders are on their goal-oriented quests. They are two sides of the same coin. The negative side is self-sabotage, in which leaders engage in the previously mentioned thoughts, etc which lead to actions that create sabotage or blockages which keep them from where they had previously determined they wanted to go. People are not always aware they are sabotaging themselves.

This is where self-awareness practice is helpful. In other cases, they may simply be deceived into believing the decisions/actions are helping them when it’s really hurting them. Examples would be procrastination, drugs or alcohol, “comfort food” and so on. Fear also plays a major role here as leaders sometimes are not emotionally ready for greater success or promotion to another level, so they self-sabotage themselves to stay in a comfort zone. Remember, people are human beings and they do fall back into old programs and thought patterns, possibly many times over before improvement is noted at all. There are no ready-made leaders, leaders are not born that way, they are developed.

7. Self-Direction & Improvement

The positive side of this coin is having clarity of your self-direction and dedicating yourself to doing whatever is necessary to reach your intended goal. Leaders who have this clarity believe they have the ability to write their on story and then live it out completely, they sidestep the potholes of behavior that come which would sabotage their success and instead leverage all the knowledge and dedication they have thus far acquired to propel them forward instead of the constraints holding them back.

While I have been able to explain this model to you in this short blog article, this is anything but a short term process. My opinion is that is a lifelong endeavor and you never stop working this system. Even if you have a high level of self-discovery in your 20’s for example, you learn even more about yourself as you get older and the process continues forward as you advance in life and leadership.

Looking forward to your thoughts and comments!

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