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Leading from Within - Does Self-love create Better Leaders?




Do we as a society have an issue with saying these three important words, “I love me” and even further than that  “I love me first” I have worked really hard on loving me especially since I started my parental journey in 2014. Probably even before that on the journey to becoming a parent, feeling like a failure for nearly five years because you struggle to have kids and then feeling inadequate for the next eighteen because you don’t know what the hell you are doing?


Before that I was cruising through my twenties absolutely unaware of the systems I had put in place to overcome my the undiagnosed ADHD.  These systems allowed me excel in work, be an amazing partner, friend. While not realising I was supressing who I really was. So what if I put me needs behind that’s what a great friend, daughter, sister does. So what if masked my way through my 20s and 30s, people like me, some walked all over me but they liked me….


In this blog, I’ll explore five ways in which self-love can significantly contribute to personal and professional growth, ultimately enhancing your leadership capabilities and I’ll share some insight into how self-love has helped me become a better person, parent and leader

Since 2016 I have worked on project “I Love Me” I just came up with that, but that’s what it’s felt like. It has honestly led me to becoming the person who I am today who has grown and learned.


Over the past eight years I have become self-loving good parent, supportive wife and loyal friend but rest assured once it doesn’t harm someone physically I am putting me first. Yes, even ahead of my two beautiful, amazing children because if they are going to thrive, I must function. This has involved leaving a career I loved for the ultimate benefit of my mental health. Understanding my ADHD and how it has affected my parenting, learning how to regulate and be patient, live my kids childhood, not mine.  I’ve walked away from friendships, people I adored because they were treating me like shit. I have developed a three strikes your out method granted sometimes it’s four or five but once I’m done with you I’m done. I hold people accountable for my living and I do so in my life as well. I have called people out for their shitty behaviour which has led me to walk away. If I have walked away, I have been hurt, I have cried, I have learned, I have grown and I am done.

And that’s why I believe having that self-love, putting your feelings at the fore allows you to learn from mistakes and not simply make them over and over and over again.

It's easy to get caught up in the responsibilities and pressures that come with life and being a leader. The concept of self-love may seem unconventional in a professional setting, it plays a crucial role in shaping individuals into better leaders.

 

 

What have I learned since starting project “I Love Me” and how Self-Love creates better leaders?


Resilience

Leadership is synonymous with challenges, setbacks, and unforeseen obstacles. In these moments of adversity, a leader's ability to remain resilient is paramount. Self-love acts as a shield, protecting individuals against the harsh blows that come with leadership responsibilities. When a leader practices self-love, they create a strong sense of self-worth and self-compassion. This in turn empowers your team and clients to react to failures and setbacks with a newfound strength.


By loving me, I have taught myself not to internalise failures and shortcomings as much as I had previously. It was eye opening to understand the RSD aspect of my ADHD, Rejection Sensitivity Disorder, this is where you feel failure and rejection at a much more an intense emotional level due to the ADHD condition. Even before diagnosis I had created processes in my head to feel the feelings but not let them takeover my life. So rather than seeing it as a challenge, I viewed it as an opportunity for growth and learning. Mindset is a fundamental part of my client process. A huge aspect being feel your feelings and manage them to a certain extent however you don’t have to stay positive or smile. Toxic positivity ultimately undermines social and professional relationships. Leading with a positive mindset allows you to lead teams with grace and optimism.

 

Enhanced Emotional Intelligence and Balanced Decision Making

Effective leadership goes beyond technical skills and strategic thinking; it requires a high level of emotional intelligence. Self-love plays a crucial role in developing and refining emotional intelligence, as it encourages leaders to be in tune with their own emotions. When leaders are comfortable with their feelings and understand the impact of their emotions on decision-making, they can navigate interpersonal relationships more effectively.


One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past few years is let your kids be kids. Stay with me, I was part of a “friend” group, now I am strongly air quoting here. A few instances happened and as always everything is from your muddied perspective, there were a few instances of absolute disrespect over the course of about 18 months. I challenged the disrespect and I never heard from that person and was never part of that friend group again. Unfortunately, our kids were friends and their relationships were impacted. I am adamant that my children will live their own lives and I will not live it for them. To this day they are unaware of any incidence despite reduced playdates, not invited to birthday parties. They still see the good in their friends and as a good leader I encourage that, my feelings, my pride does not affect their happiness.

 

Leaders who practice self-love are better equipped to empathise with their team members and personal relationships. Empathy is hugely important however being overly empathetic can lead to people pleasing and allowing yourself get taken advantage of. The ability to make balanced and rational decisions is crucial, when leaders love themselves, they prioritise their well-being and mental health. This flows through a family, a business and an organisation. Self-love acts as a compass, guiding leaders to make decisions that align with their values and the overall well-being of the people around them. You are less likely to succumb to external pressures or make impulsive decisions based on fear or insecurity. I’m still learning but one thing I know for sure now is my approach to decision-making with clarity, empathy, and a long-term perspective. So far on this journey it has led to more sustainable and successful outcomes both personally and professionally.

 

Authentic Leadership & Inspiring Others

Authenticity is a cornerstone of effective leadership. When leaders are true to themselves, they inspire trust and loyalty among the people around them. Self-love plays a pivotal role in nurturing authenticity, as it encourages individuals to embrace their strengths and vulnerabilities. I love me and I am secure in my identity and I don’t feel the need to conform to external expectations.


Has anyone seen that TikTok, it’s an honour to be with me? What I have learned on this journey is absolutely, yes it is. I have a group of friends that have been my rocks for the past 25 years. They are the no question, answer the phone at 3am friends.

I left the corporate world with few friends, I never fit socially in the corporate world. I had 3 women bosses who I never felt were on my side, one of them actually apologised at how she treated me years later. I was not built for the misogyny, the unfairness. It’s funny my best experience was working for a man who fostered my professional development, I thrived over that time, albeit 2 years out of a 15 year corporate career.

I understand now that a lot of this was my responsibility, my ADHD did not help. I was not mature in situations but my temper wowsers!! I was however an absolute genius in a crisis, honestly the plates I could spin. I think they eventually replaced me with three people.


When I moved into the small business world I was so true to me and my business, I was trusting of people I met, I was supportive of other people in business especially women. I honestly want to bring as many people on my journey as possible and I have. What I wasn’t ready for was that not to be reciprocated. I made the mistake of thinking people were my friends, were loyal to me and they weren’t, they were mere colleagues. This has been a huge lesson for me and I’m so grateful for it.


The one thing about authenticity is it’s natural, it’s authentic (way to spell out the obvious) Honestly, I think my light is too bright for some people and that is their problem. I will not dim my light to make other people feel better.

Don’t get me wrong there is a ying and a yang. My ADHD causes crippling anxiety and some days I have not got out of bed. That is when my light is dim. If I perceive anyone has disrespected me, I now wish them love and light. Yes, I have felt the feelings but love and light, what you think about me is none of my business.

 

Self-love has led me to be genuine and transparent with my family, friends and clients. I am blunt and kind. The bluntness is an ADHD trait, yep I’m gonna be honest. My intention from a professional capacity is moving you and your business forward. I encourage my clients to be their authentic selves, boost morale which will lead to overall growth. From a personal perspective, I hold people accountable for how they treat me and others. I encourage you to have the difficult conversations, you will always learn from them. Sometimes there will never be a conversation and that’s ok too, what other people think of you is none of your business. Let it go.



Self-love enables people to celebrate their achievements and acknowledge their strengths. Celebrating others achievements and strengths is just as important. Honestly, 5/6 years ago I may have been green with someone else’s success now it inspires me. If I get triggered by someone else’s win, I question me. Why is that bothering me? Looking inward has helped me grow as a person and a leader. I want others to reach their full potential. I want to create collaborative and supportive professional relationships. Working together harnesses creativity, innovation and growth for all parties.

 

In the realm of leadership, self-love is a powerful yet often underestimated tool for personal and professional development. As leaders we navigate the complexities of life, family, friendships, as well as the responsibility of our clients and teams. Embracing self-love is not only a personal journey but a strategic investment in the success of your small business or an entire corporate organisation.


By putting me first, loving me, I am on a powerful healing journey, I am always growing and learning. I will continue to learn from situations, to trust people and make rational decisions that benefit me, my family, my friends, my clients and the corporations I work with. I believe I am better leader, would you agree Self-love creates Better Leaders?

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