Leadership Reflection: The Strength to Change Ourselves

He was an elderly man whose face had life written all over it. He sat drinking tea as he reflected on his life:

When I was young, I was full of fire and I wanted to awaken everyone. I prayed for enough strength to change the world.

In midlife, I awoke one day to realize my life was half over and I had changed no one. I prayed for strength to change those close around me,   who so much needed it.

And now, here I am a very old man, and my prayer today is very simple. I pray for the strength to at least change myself

In life we must learn to first assemble the inner, than the outer.

We must first acknowledge the important rather than the insignificant.

We must recognize the great rather then the trivial.

We must first lead ourselves, and then only then we can lead others.

Whether you call it prayer, meditation, or some other name, you can each learn something every day by asking these questions and reflecting on the answers.

Who am I?

Until you identify your authentic self, it is difficult to effectively lead. When you make a conscious commitment to know yourself, develop yourself, learn about yourself, you are allowing yourself to change step by step. Knowing yourself is a process that can only take place internally.

What is my purpose?

There is an amazing sense of empowerment that comes when you identify what you are meant to do. It grows out of learning what matters most to you. Once you have it, it provides direction and focus, it brings clarity, it establishes goals. It helps you achieve results and stay connected to meaningful thought and action.

Who do I want to be?

As Michael Jackson sang, if you want to make this world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change. Who you are going to be is rooted in your talents and skills and fueled by your passion.

The only place you can truly create change is within you.

The essence of leadership is not in telling of others what to do, but in being your best self and inspiring those around you to do the same.

Lead From Within: Most of us want to make the world a better place. To do so, we must start within ourselves, where we are, making one change at a time, and we must not stop reflecting until we are done.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Alli Polin

    15. Apr, 2014

    Change really does start from within. For years I’ve been doing the inner work, learning so much about myself and the way my way of being impacts others in the world. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that it’s never done. There is always more room to grow, places to look and long-held beliefs to better understand. Along the way purpose can shift as we know more about who we truly are and most want to become.

    Great story to start as well, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  2. lollydaskal

    15. Apr, 2014


    You are so right change starts with ourselves.

    But for so many they are so busy wanting to change others, they don’t stop and look in the mirror.

    If we reflecting more about ourselves and how we can do better, we would have a much better world, a much richer society, and much more meaningful relationships.

    Thanks for stopping by.


    Reply to this comment
  3. Martina

    15. Apr, 2014

    Well-said, Lolly.

    We are at the heart of any changes we wish to make in our lives, families, teams or organizations. We cannot change other people, but we can demonstrate an ability to take in new information and make changes in ourselves. We cannot often change situations or circumstances, but we can master how we choose to react to them.

    As leaders, one of our duties is to exemplify the behaviors we seek in others. We cannot continue to be recalcitrant, locked in the past, and refuse to make any changes in our attitudes or behaviors, and expect those around us, and especially those we lead, to act or feel any differently.

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  4. Jon Mertz

    15. Apr, 2014


    Excellent points! We need to tap into our purpose-filled identity and then develop it, letting it shine from our inside out while letting our communities feed our spirit to keep growing and doing.



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  5. LaRae Quy

    15. Apr, 2014

    Great story, Lolly. And so true…change begins from within.

    This is something I learned a few years back when I did the 30 day Ignatian Retreat. It’s intense, but the purpose is to provide a framework where you can’t run away from yourself.

    It’s hard work to get to the center of our being and begin that inner work…it’s not for the weak hearted…

    Reply to this comment
  6. Maria Garcia

    16. Apr, 2014

    Wow, what a great post Lolly, you don’t stop surprising me! It is so true, that sometimes we are so busy trying to change other that we fail to change ourselves, and like LaRae commented getting to the center of our being is not for the weak hearted, so I will take the challenge to change my self before trying to change others, or better yet get to know my self better each day and modify my being everyday, little by little. After all being in leadership position of any kind is not an easy journey, but it’s not an impossible one either
    Love this post will frame it as a reminder, lol so timely too :-))

    Reply to this comment
  7. Terri Klass

    16. Apr, 2014

    Looking inside of ourselves and being honest in how we might go about making change can be a challenge and very hard work. Yet, if we don’t reflect, we can’t lead in our best possible way.

    Leadership growth involves asking why we are here and where it is we want to go. It is ever-changing in a healthy way.

    Great post, Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  8. sridhar laxman

    16. Apr, 2014

    Another great post, your point about learning to lead ourselves first before we can lead others hits the nail on its head.

    Change that begins from within has a ripple effect on the outside. Taking greater responsibility for self may seem challenging however, is a crucial step in making the inner change happen and once adopted is extremely empowering.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Lolly

    22. Apr, 2014

    This is the thing I struggle with the most. I want to inspire others to create change for themselves and I want to make the world a better place… and I know I have to start with myself, but I can’t seem to get it started.

    This post was very inspiring… hope to get to where I need to be soon! xo

    Reply to this comment
  10. Matt Chase

    19. Aug, 2015

    Amazing article and very enlightening! It spells out precisely the internal process we all have at any given age, in reaching forward, higher.
    Thank you Lollie!

    Reply to this comment
  11. Matt Dyer

    14. Nov, 2015

    I went on a leadership course the other day and a lot of what you have discussed resonates in this article, a big take away from the course was about listening, and not just listening to others you need to listen to yourself as well.

    thanks for your post

    Reply to this comment
  12. David mbina

    13. Feb, 2017

    Lolly I tell you the truth, that since I started following you I am full of knowledge I drop my position as a leader because I was not doing well, but I am going back to take that position and I will lead from within. Thank you lolly

    Reply to this comment
  13. Dr. Jerome Davis

    11. May, 2022

    Reflecting on the inside is really what makes us good people. Leadership change, especially in education, requires those who are leading the change to really take a deep look within themselves to see and understand the value of change to make things better for those they serve.

    Reply to this comment

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