Empowered Leaders

No matter your position, title or level of authority, you are as worthy and capable as anyone else of learning powerful leadership. The foundation to becoming an empowered leader is mastering fierce self leadership. We’re going to break down how to grow from the inside out to become your most empowered leader. 

There are many people in authoritative positions who make ineffective leaders. They believe leadership is rooted in authority and power; to them,  being in charge means giving direction and holding everyone accountable to follow their instructions. As a result, people follow them because they feel obligated to, not because they want to. 

The best leaders are followed regardless of their title. People believe in them and what they do.  They work to develop more leaders and focus on their own self-development in the process. They uplift those around them to be the best version of themselves and light up when the people in their charge rise. They lead from the inside out. 

This is the leader we strive to be. To know if you currently lead from the inside out, I want you to ask yourself these questions: 

Do you know how to create sovereignty for yourself to be able to guide others without drama or being triggered?

Do you know why you do what you do?

Do you know your value?

Are you taking action towards your goals? 

To become an empowered leader, I believe there are 4 core areas of knowledge you’ll need to master. 

1 – Empowered Awareness 

2 – Empowered Vision

3 – Empowered Belief 

4 – Empowered Action

Building these four categories increases your capacity to achieve more with ease instead of getting caught up in the hustle. Instead of hustling for success, create flow and harmony in your business and life. 

I’m Marisa O’Brien, an Elite coach at Kathleen Black Coaching & Consulting, Founder of Parent Breakthrough and a Master Practitioner of Evolved Neuro-linguistic programming(ENLP) and trauma aware transformational coach.

ENLP helps us understand how our thought processes and the language that we use influences the way that we think, the behaviours we have, and the results that we get or maybe don’t get. The E is for evolved which takes a holistic approach to building business and leadership. The N is for neuro, that refers to the brain and the nervous system. L is for linguistic, which refers to language and other nonverbal communication systems, and P is for programming, which refers to the ability to discover, utilize, and work with the programs that we run to impact our choices and create a compelling future. Using ENLP we are going to dig into the first and most crucial step in being an empowered leader: self-awareness.

Most leaders think they are aware. Statistically, most are not. 

In fact, a study of more than 3,600 leaders across a variety of roles and industries found that “95 percent of people think they’re aware, but only 10-15 percent actually are.” (Tasha Eurich,PhD 2018). This pattern was consistent in not only self-awareness but also emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment, empathy, trustworthiness, and leadership performance.  

Effective leadership requires self-awareness. If only 10-15% of leaders meet the criteria of self-awareness, we all have to assume we are not in that 10-15% until we do the inner work together to learn more. Now, since you’re reading this I’m sure you’ve done your share of self-discovery and do know a fair amount about yourself. If not and you’re just starting this journey, welcome. The number one recommendation I have is to give yourself grace from self-judgement while you dig in. This is a learning experience to help you become a better and empowered leader, which means you will discover things you don’t like about yourself – and that’s okay. Once we know better, we can do better. So put down your magnifying glass and hold up a mirror with the intention of exploration and curiosity.  

I believe the reason the vast majority consider themselves self-aware is because mentally, from a conscious level, they have a lot of knowledge. Interestingly though, how we operate day-to-day mostly occurs at an unconscious level. Today’s science estimates our subconscious mind controls 95 percent of our life. A staggering statistic for sure, but if we think about it logically it’s not that surprising. We know our subconscious mind controls each and every physical movement, whether voluntary or involuntary so it makes sense that the majority of our emotions, behaviour, decisions and actions would also run beyond our conscious awareness. Do you know what’s running at an unconscious level?  

Today we are digging into how you can use your conscious knowledge to learn more about your unconscious programming, and start making the necessary shifts to become an empowered leader. 

Get ready to know yourself better than you ever have before! Learning about our beliefs, triggers, strengths and weaknesses as well as witnessing how we respond to any given situation gives us insight into our subconscious and enables the creation of our best self, and best life. 

Reframe Limiting Beliefs

Write down your beliefs about money, success, and leadership. 

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Reflect on what you’ve written down. You may have written beliefs that are healthy and supportive and others that are holding you back. It’s critical to identify your unsupportive and limiting beliefs, and reframe them for yourself. 

Here’s an example: 

For success, entrepreneurs commonly write down a belief about avoiding failure. They don’t realise that failure is a part of the success formula; it’s a necessary process to become the best at your craft.  Trying to avoid failure is counter productive to achieving success. We want to embrace our learnings and grow our knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Afterall, some of the world’s greatest inventions were discovered by mistake.

 “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Here’s my favourite reframe on failure:

First, shift failure to the word mistake. To achieve any desired result, it’s inevitable we make a few mistakes in the process. Next, break the word down into MIS-TAKE. Now we can view our mistakes as Missed Takes, instead. A missed take gives us the opportunity to pull apart what worked and what didn’t, so we’re empowered to keep what worked, and shift what didn’t. The more missed takes we have, the faster we grow and wiser we become, because we have data on how to improve the process for better results. 

Shifting to a logical perspective instead of an emotional one is crucial in this process. This is when knowing yourself and the thoughts that pop into your mind is incredibly helpful. This is a part of your emotional intelligence. In sales and leadership, having high emotional intelligence is essential for relationship building, self awareness and management of our behaviours and communication. 

Reframe your current beliefs so they do support you and your goals like we did with failure above:

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If you’ve found some big things that are holding you back and you’re not sure how to reframe them, bring them to your next coaching call.

Leverage Your Strengths and Weaknesses 

Your strengths are likely what you are complimented on. They are the things you’re good at, that energize you and fill your happiness cup each day. Your weaknesses are typically things that you avoid doing, or tasks that you find draining. These should be leveraged to someone else as soon as possible. 

With our clients we use a fantastic GENIUS model that comprehensively analyzes your strengths and level of ability in all areas of your business. But to start, tap into self reflection:

What are my strengths?

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What are my weaknesses?

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Great leaders know who they are, and by extension, they know the strengths of every team member and shine a light on those qualities. They leverage each person’s genius for not only efficiency but also to elevate joy in the workplace. When we are doing things we love and are recognized for it, we feel good about what we do and where we work. 

Identify Your Triggers

Reactive moments are often things we are not proud of. I want you to avoid self-judgement here because triggers are a layer of what is running at an unconscious level. Change cannot happen until we are aware that change needs to be made. Ask yourself: 

When have I reacted? 

What was the circumstance?  

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Our triggers can be complicated, but it’s important to know there’s more involved than conscious volition. The key to unpacking them is allowing ourselves to witness how we respond to different situations, because this is where we gain insight into what’s running unconsciously. 

To rewire trigger responses, we have to reflect on what happened, and decide: how do I want to respond instead?

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Hold on to your vision of how you want to react and handle the situation. Practice this behaviour when you are not triggered to start building your new neurology in alignment with the best version of yourself (I’ll give some more tips below when we tap into relationships and reacting vs responding). 

Harmonize Internal and External Self-Awareness

There are two types of self awareness: internal and external. Effective leaders need both, which requires a commitment to learning about what’s running at an unconscious level and getting feedback on how others see them. The way we “think” others see us is our own perception. Check out this chart below from the Harvard Business Review to learn more about the different archetypes of self awareness. 

Discovering our internal and external self awareness is another step towards empowered leadership. Knowing our strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, values and triggers,  as well as how you affect the people around you is the part we can do consciously. But that’s only half of the story. Successful leaders pair self-awareness with social awareness and self-management.

How do you manage your own responses and relationships with others?

Are you empathetic and able to accurately pick up on the emotions of other people? When you find yourself in a place of judgement or lack empathy, can you shift yourself into a state of curiosity? All behaviours have a deeper component and are there to fill an unconscious need. We don’t need to understand or agree with the other person. We do need to listen with curiosity and shift out of judgement. 

How can I empower myself, clients and team members or colleagues through self-management? 

Take notes on what ah-ha’s you have and what areas you need to shift your perspective to unlock your potential. Notice how this spans across every area of your business and life. 

If you’re reading this I am willing to bet that you care about your clients and colleagues, you want to do the absolute best for them and be showered with thanks for exceeding their expectations. 

Maybe you are holding back because of perfectionism or fear of rejection or maybe it’s because you don’t want to be compared to the icky sales people out there and it’s preventing you from taking action. Regardless of what’s holding you back, now is the time to dig in and embody the leader that you are and want to be. 

Let’s get started shall we! Grab a pen and paper because you’ll want to take some notes for yourself.

What is holding you back? 

There are some similarities about the different things holding people back that I mentioned above.  They are all reasons not to take action. What are the things you tell yourself as to why you can’t?  

Another thing that holds us back is blame. Blame on market conditions, blame on a colleague or system, and don’t forget self-blame. 

Blame, drama, repetitive unwanted scenarios, reasons and excuses why things are not happening or why we are not taking action lead us into a place of  disempowerment. This happens because we put the solution and control outside of ourselves.   

So what is the answer whenever we find ourselves in this place? 

The answer is actually quite simple. Responsibility!

We have to take responsibility for everything that is working and not working in our life. Remember when we talked about failure? This builds on that!  Regardless of the situation, whether it was your fault or beyond your control, the only thing that matters now is how you respond. What steps can you take that get you back on track or closer to your end goal? 

What can you do or not do differently than you are right now? Where is your response ability currently at? Are you reactive? Do you regret what you say often? Or do you pause and respond instead of react?  

All of our responses either lead us closer to where we want to be or push us further away. 

So, what is your ability to respond? 

Here are the questions to ask yourself whenever you find yourself blaming, inside a drama cycle, making excuses or are feeling disempowered:

  1. What does this have to do with me?
  2. What can I be doing or not doing differently than I am right now? 
  3. What is the next best result for my team, clients, and self with my new circumstances? 

These questions shift us into curiosity. Curiosity leads us to solutions and opens us up to new possibilities. Options and possibilities shift us into a state of empowerment where we are the creator. Here we find more ease, flow and peace! 

Now that you are an inspired leader and know how to shift yourself into a place of empowerment from disempowerment, leading others becomes simplified. Since we can’t lead others until we know how to lead ourselves, mastering that first part is essential. 

If we know what we want our outcome to be, we can adjust our thoughts  and questions toward what we want and make the best decision to get closer to that outcome and achieve the results we desire. 

When you know how to self-manage your reactions and triggers to pause and respond instead of react, you have become an empowered leader! As an empowered leader, you can manage your responses and work towards the next best solution. You know your end goal and you are able to lead the person you are communicating with by stepping into curiosity and being empathetic. You’ve created connection and shifted their emotional response into a logical conversation that works towards solution. This allows you to manage conflict and adapt to any circumstance. 

Find your own sovereignty. Notice your patterns of behaviour. Lean into your strengths and weaknesses. Get curious about your triggers and work on resolving them. Know your emotions, and label them regardless of if they are a positive or negative. Emotions are energy in motion; they are neither good nor bad when they are moving. Notice them and allow them to process. When we can understand why they are there and how to move through negative emotions in a healthy way without impacting others around us we have mastered our emotional awareness and health.

You have so much to give, and with these simple tools you can step into the empowered leader within you and achieve your dreams. 

Dig in more with your personal coach at Kathleen Black and stay tuned for the next level of leadership. 

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