To lead others well, you must first know how to lead yourself. You can’t be an effective boss or leader without first taking care of your own responsibilities and striving to live a life with integrity and purpose. Laurie Ruettimann, a speaker, writer and social media expert, says that one of the most important keys to success in 2020 is self-awareness, or what she calls self-leadership.

According to Ruettimann, self-leadership includes three components: self-awareness of personal values, self-awareness of intentions and behavior, and self-awareness of your perspective. Self-leadership requires that you be an expert in your thoughts and behaviors before you attempt to help others in the world.

Want to learn how to become better at self-leadership? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, where we’ll share Ruettimann’s thoughts on the three components of self-leadership.

Self-awareness of personal values. Self-leaders have a set of personal values that guide their interactions in the world. They’ve done the hard work of getting to know themselves and strive to create a life where mindset informs their words and deeds, says Ruettimann. The way to develop personal values is to become self-aware. Get to know yourself on a deeper level. Interview yourself, journal or meet with a counselor who can help you develop a stronger and more vivid sense of self. After all, you can’t lead others—including yourself—if you’re not crystal clear on important facets of your personality, such as preferences, communication style, values and expectations.

Self-awareness of intentions and behaviors. Self-leaders say what they mean and mean what they say. They’ve clarified what’s important in life, aligned their actions with their goals and values, and have cleared their emotional and physical calendars of anything that gets in the way. When something goes wrong, self-leaders don’t blame people or look to others to solve problems. Ruettimann says they look to themselves first. There’s inner confidence that comes from having done the hard work of aligning philosophies and actions in the first place.

Self-awareness of personal perspective. Life can be hard. Work presents us with difficult problems to solve. Everybody has a bad day. Self-leaders are emotionally regulated individuals who don’t panic, ruminate or fantasize. There is only one direction in life, and that’s forward. When the world falls apart, self-leaders aren’t looking for answers from other people, notes Ruettimann. They’re ready to go with problem-solving techniques because they’ve meditated, journaled and invested in continuous learning to gain insight into themselves and human behavior.

Ruettimann says the act of self-leadership is more art than science, but it starts with a natural curiosity. She suggests asking yourself:

1. What am I good at?
2. What exhausts me?
3. What is the most important thing in my life?
4. Who do I love?
5. What stresses me out?
6. What’s my definition of success?
7. What type of worker am I?
8. How do I want others to see me?
9. What type of person do I want to be?
10. What things do I value in life?

Ruettimann admits that self-leadership may feel awkward at first but keep at it. Most of your colleagues are behind the ball and waiting for someone to take the lead in teaching them how to become self-aware themselves. If you want to be the best leader in 2020, start the journey of self-awareness today.

Source: Laurie Ruettimann is an influential speaker, writer and social media expert focused on HR, careers and the human capital management industry. She created Punk Rock HR, which was recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 100 blogs for women. Ruettimann is listed as one of the top five career advisors by CareerBuilder and CNN.