Most of us walk around thinking we’re capable of greatness, but we’re not sure how we’re going to fulfil that aspiration. Genius entrepreneurs, industry leaders and inspirational visionaries started on the path to achieving greatness by – defining their values and philosophy. By Knowing Yourself. Great leadership isn’t about greatness in a sense of power and fame, but rather in knowing yourself and mastering yourself first.
Ask yourself this: Who am I? Where do I stand in life? Why are these ideas important to me? Are these ideas coherent to my identity? Why am I driven to share them with the world?
The word identity has many meanings. It is a part of us, the very foundation of who we are. It is the finger print of our mind, body and soul, which is ever-learning and ever-evolving. It is the source that constantly tells us what we were meant to do in the world. (READ: Declutter Your Thoughts Into One Big Idea)
The principle of ‘GNOTHI SEAUTON’ i.e., Know Thyself is universally adopted and placed at the foundation of temples of philosophy. These words originated in Apollo’s response to a question Chilon of Sparta asked: What is best for man? The answer, “Know Thyself,” is an expression of self-knowledge, where a man of action and not philosophy should know his own strengths, know what he wants, and call us to action.
While it is true, that creative thinking comes from an over-grown problem that needs to be addressed, it also comes from one’s identity. As Gerald Sindell, author of Discover Your Genuis points out, the concept of individual identity is often confused with the concept of affiliation. For example, I’m third-generation German-America, I went to UCLA, I come from a family of writers. These are all affiliations. They are associated to us by births or by choice and can tell very little about the personification of ourselves. In a way, it gets in the way of understand who we are. For example, past experiences or unresolved traumas, or religious beliefs you once held, only offer you a clue to your identity. But in reality, it is through your experiences that you can discover who you are as an individual. (READ: Leadership Goals ‘Finding Your Purpose’)
Knowing yourself is extremely useful when you’re advocating an idea – no matter how big or small it is. Knowing who we are helps us check whether our idea/work contributes to what we are trying to do in the world.
To become an influential leader, great leadership demand good management. It acts as a catalyst to exceptional performances of people and teams. It demands that you know yourself and to walk that talk. To get people to believe in your idea/vision, you need to understand your values and principles first. You need to stay true to who you are, why your ideas matter and be absolutely clear on those aspects.
To know yourself:
You need to be aware of your strengths and weakness,
Become aware of how your moods, reactions, and emotions are affecting your state of mind,
Introspect how you interact with others; and
Observe how your surrounding affects you.
When you know who you are, you will see all the hallmarks of your identity as clear expressions of the drive to contribute to the world. You’ll know what you stand for and what you believe you’re doing. Knowing who you are will give you the necessary tools to guide throughout the innovation process.