The opportunity to self-renew brings a rare win-win-win to managers and leaders: personal, professional, and organizational benefits. John Gardner in “Self Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society” (1964) stated, “Meaning is something you build into your life.”
This sentiment is echoed by leadership experts such as Peter Senge (1990): “The leader’s purpose story is both personal and universal.” In his writings, Senge delves deeply into the need for a shared vision to create the organization’s future state.
TA Loeffler, Canadian naturalist, professor, mountaineer and leader extraordinaire, has climbed six and four-fifths of the world’s seven tallest summits. She shares her own vision in this remarkable zen-like analogy between the journey of self and mountain climbing:
“Mountains are both journey and destination. If my only goal as a teacher and mountaineer is the summit, I risk cruel failure if I do not reach the highest apex.
Instead, if I accept the mountain’s invitation to journey and create meaning in each step, success is manifest in every moment.” (italics added)
There are many paths to consider with respect to personal and professional growth. This process is for managers and leaders of all stripes- those who manage a few, some, or even hundreds. As all of us manage the department of one, expending time and energy on this process can be well worth the effort.
Making the real connection with our core beliefs and values to discern the next steps on one’s personal and professional journey is the key. Here is one method to consider:
- Meditation, skiing, exercise, or perhaps a walk on the beach – whatever activity works for you.
- Write down the thoughts and insights presented.
- Approach a trusted colleague or friend who can discuss these messages with you openly and non-judgmentally.
- Consider and choose the next step to reflect your commitment to your life’s journey and true self.
I always wondered who coined the phrase regarding serving as one’s own jail-keeper and discovered it was John Gardner in his book on self-renewal. In a later article, he modified this statement asserting that parents and society at large also have a hand in building these prisons, creating roles for us that can keep us firmly entrenched in our false selves. To this sentiment, I would add “if we allow this to continue” as all of us have a choice. In our coaching practice, these roles are known as scripts. Upon discovery and reflection, clients have admitted that these templates were operational often without them having any conscious awareness of how these messages influenced their lives. Thankfully, the majority of managers leaders are ready to engage in personal growth and write their own, unique scripts.
Why discuss the life journey and true self in our blog? Because journeying to the authentic self has been shown to be a transformative event for the leader and their followers – whether they be family, associates, stakeholders or perhaps even citizens.
We look forward to hearing from you – thanks for visiting.
Best to you and yours for 2020!
Joe Lemmon, PhD