Self-discovery is critical in leadership development because it allows you to understand your strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals. This has a significant impact on your leadership style and decision-making and helps you build stronger relationships with your team and stakeholders in your organization. It’s a technique to help you be more effective in your leadership overall.
So, what is it?
Self-discovery is the process of understanding yourself, but more than that, it’s about understanding your potential. It is the key to unlocking the power of personal growth and achieving success in any area of your life, especially in leadership development. Through self-discovery, leaders and those who aspire to be can gain unshakable clarity on their future potential and learn how to think about themselves in a positive and empowering way.
Here are some suggestions to pursue to start your journey of self-discovery.
Understand how you think about yourself.
This includes identifying and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs that may be holding you back. These pesky thoughts can impact your self-esteem, your motivation, and even your ability to achieve the goals you desire personally and professionally.
Whenever you think that you can’t do something or don’t have “enough” of something to achieve what you want, those are the red flags you need to pay attention to. If you think you can’t be successful or that you’ve never been good at something, these negative thought patterns keep you from seeing the opportunities that could be in front of you.
Recognize and utilize your strengths.
Take the time to reflect on your past success in your personal and professional lives. When have you felt confident and successful? What were you doing that allowed you to feel that way? Create an inventory of what you discovered. Also, consider the skills you were using and any other patterns that come up.
Assessments are also a great tool to tap into hidden strengths and leverage the strengths you’re aware of. There are various assessments online, and some of the assessments I have taken and particularly enjoyed are DISC, Clifton StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs, Wealth Dynamics, and Predictive Index. I recommend Predictive Index for business purposes because it solely focuses on how you show up at work.
You can leverage feedback to understand your strengths too. Seeking feedback from others, such as friends, family, or coworkers, can be especially helpful. Ask them what they think your strengths are and how and where they see you excel. This can give you a different perspective on your abilities and help you identify skills you may have overlooked or underutilized.
Discover how you navigate challenges and setbacks and what you can do differently.
Self-discovery also involves learning how to navigate and cope with challenges and setbacks. This means managing stress and maintaining a positive attitude, even under challenging situations. It also means learning how to bounce back from failure and use it as a learning opportunity.
This might include some mindset shifts on your part. For instance, instead of seeing challenges and setbacks as failures, you can reframe them as opportunities for growth and learning – seeing the silver lining. As a result, you don’t go through it; you grow through it. This subtle shift in thinking allows you to learn from your mistakes, learn to focus on what you can control, and let go of the rest.
Self-discovery is also about learning to let go of the need for external validation and trust yourself. This means learning to be comfortable in your own skin and being confident in your decisions and actions. It also means learning to rely on yourself for happiness and fulfillment rather than seeking it from others.
To unlock the power of self-discovery, you must take the time to explore. Curiosity is your most helpful tool by far. When you listen to what comes up as a result of this work, you learn to become a more authentic leader with a strong foundation that will serve you as you lead others.
Until next time, here’s wishing you all the Clarity you deserve, and the self-discovery you desire!